Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 28, 2015

RNC ’12 Autopsy Due March 18, Will Address Debates

RNC 12 Autopsy Due March 18, Will Address Debates

Priebus said a postmortem on the 2012 election cycle will be released later this month. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus revealed in a radio interview that the RNC’s internal review of the 2012 elections will be released on March 18.

In a discussion with radio show host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday, Priebus also signaled that the Growth and Opportunity Project would recommend changes to the presidential debate process ahead of the quadrennial GOP primary. Specifically, he said the report will address whether the party will take control of the debates, including which network televises them and which journalists serve as moderators.

“So now we have the right to set the number of the debates, to pick the moderators of the debates, to set the ground rules for what groups and what networks and what stations, what radio networks, whatever it might be,” Priebus said, according to a transcript of the interview posted on Hewitt’s website. “I mean, we just can’t have MSNBC hosting a debate at the Reagan Library only to have their network make the commentary afterwards for three hours about the debate of the Republican Party. I mean, it’s ridiculous.”

Priebus will address reporters at breakfast the National Press Club on the March 18 release date. But he also suggested that such changes would have to be enacted through a vote of committee members at party meeting scheduled for later this year or early 2014.

Priebus has said in previous interviews that one of his priorities for 2016 is to overhaul the structure for GOP presidential primary debates, arguing that the volume and how they were run in 2011 and 2012 was detrimental to the party and its goal of winning the White House.

The Growth and Opportunity Project, as the autopsy report is known, has been described as focusing just as much on how to modernize and reform GOP operations going forward and determining what went wrong in 2012, when President Barack Obama won re-election and Democrats gained congressional seats despite an unemployment rate that was just below 8 percent.

Priebus tapped five GOP insiders to assembly the report, including Ari Fleischer, a former spokesman for President George W. Bush; Sally Bradshaw, a longtime adviser to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; South Carolina RNC Committeeman Glenn McCall; lobbyist Henry Barbour, who is the nephew of former RNC chairman and ex-Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour; and Puerto Rico RNC Committeewoman Zori Fonalledas.


    Conclusion #1: the GOP needs to focus more on changing election laws in order to suppressing the votes of minority and young voters.
    Conclusion #2: the GOP needs to change electoral vote allocation in the states where that would benefit, and stymie any attempts to do so in states where it would not.


    It may be a conclusion at the state level however one thing certain controlling the debate setting is at odd with the network’s desire to host the debate in order to get ratings trump against the competition.

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