Priebus to Newsmax: Conservatives Coming Around to Romney

Wednesday, 25 Apr 2012 03:24 PM

By Jim Meyers and David A. Patten

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Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tells Newsmax that Mitt Romney’s sweep of five primary elections Tuesday night signifies that conservatives are finally coming around to support Romney’s White House bid.

And he says Romney’s former rival for the nomination, “team player” Newt Gingrich, is sure to be helpful to the GOP in the campaign.

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Priebus served as chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party before being elected as RNC chairman in January 2011, succeeding Michael Steele.

Romney won easily in New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. He also won by a huge 56 to 27 percent margin in Delaware, where Gingrich had campaigned extensively, indicating that Romney garnered significant support from more conservative voters who may have previously backed Gingrich or Rick Santorum.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Priebus was asked if those primary victories Tuesday confirm that conservatives are now backing the presumptive GOP nominee.

“I think so. I think that Republicans, conservatives, tea party, everything in between, we’re ready to go, and Mitt Romney is the presumptive nominee of our party. And we’re excited about it,” Priebus said.

“I think Mitt Romney is the perfect antidote to President Obama, who quite frankly hasn’t fulfilled any of the promises that he made to the American people, hasn’t performed well in regard to the promises he made, in regard to jobs and the debt and the deficit.

“The economy is the major issue in this country and who better than Mitt Romney to talk about what we need to do to get our economy back on track?”
Ed Rollins said Tuesday night’s victory address by Romney, in which he evoked Ronald Reagan, was his best speech ever.

Priebus comments: “I think Mitt Romney did a great job last night in communicating a vision for this country in simple but inspiring terms. Just like Ronald Reagan: Are you better off today than you were three or four years ago?

“That’s question number one: Has this president fulfilled the promises he made to the American people? The answer is no. And I think Mitt Romney has done a fantastic job of communicating that message to the people.

“He’s gotten to the place of being very inspirational and memorable and I think he’s hitting the nail on the head in this country, and that is that this election is going to be about the big things facing America, about liberty, freedom, the pursuit of happiness, the Constitution.

“President Obama doesn’t want to talk about the big things. He doesn’t want to talk about where are you with jobs, Mister President. Where are you with the deficit? Where are you with making sure that our entitlement safety net program isn’t going to go bankrupt? He doesn’t answer those questions. So I think Mitt Romney has been really good at focusing in on what matters most to Americans in this election.”

As to whether former House Speaker Gingrich will play a role at the GOP convention and in the general election, Priebus asserts: “I think we can look at the history of Newt Gingrich for some answers. I think number one, he’s a team player. He’s always been supportive of the Republican Party and the conservative movement, and so I would imagine he’s going to be helpful in any way possible.

“Certainly as being a team player in our party and to the Republican National Committee, I think Speaker Gingrich will be there.”

Responding to reports that Romney trails Obama significantly among Hispanic voters, Priebus tells Newsmax: “I don’t think we need to change our position on immigration reform. It’s clear we don’t believe in amnesty. But you’re seeing debate and discussion about what to do in regard to an overhaul of our immigration laws within our party, which is a good sign.

“What you’re seeing in the RNC is a focus on the ground game, on what we’re going to do to get Hispanic voters to the polls. And instead of talking about these things I think it’s time for us to be doing them, and that’s why we have Hispanic Victory Directors across America that we’ve now put in place.

“We’re in much better shape this year than we were four years ago, and our messengers are better, like Marco Rubio.”

Other highlights from Newsmax’s interview with Priebus:
  • On Ron Paul’s continuing candidacy for the GOP nomination, Priebus says: “Certainly many of the things that Congressman Paul has been espousing we’ve sort of adopted within our party. I think that’s made Congressman Paul pretty pleased over the years. So I don’t look at it as an adversarial relationship.”
  • Republicans are launching a “groundbreaking” new Social Victory Center on Facebook, accessible within the GOP site on Facebook, offering exclusive content that visitors can share with Facebook “friends.” Said Priebus: “The DNC (Democratic National Committee) and Obama have nothing like it.”
  • The most important consideration for Republicans in choosing a vice presidential candidate this year is “to make sure that you have somebody that can lead this country in case of tragedy, someone who can step into the White House and lead America,” Priebus says. “Ultimately it’s a decision that Governor Romney is going to have to make."
  • Priebus agrees with House Speaker John’s Boehner’s observation this week that there is a 1-in-3 chance Democrats will win back the House, but he adds: “I will tell you that his comment basically as I read it is that the chances of our losing the House are pretty slim. So I feel pretty good about that. I think Republicans will keep the majority in the House, and you’re going to have a President Romney in the White House pretty soon."
  • As for Republicans’ chances in the Senate, Priebus observes: “Obviously I think we’re going to do well in Montana, North Dakota, and Nebraska. We’re got real opportunities in Hawaii. Then you look at our targeted states in Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida. The great thing about the Senate race is that we have so many Democrats that are vulnerable and so many good challengers, and the math just works in our favor. I feel great about the Senate.”
  • Priebus also discussed the RNC’s fund-raising efforts: “I think having more money in the bank than the DNC is pretty phenomenal. Basically it’s people around America that believe we’re spending the resources wisely. In the end it comes down to trust and credibility, as in any organization, and I think in ending a European nightmare in the White House.
“Europe doesn’t work in Europe. Europe isn’t going to work here. So I think this election is not about the future of the Republican Party, it’s about the future of America.”


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