GOP Chair calls for earlier conventions, expanded minority outreach

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by Arlette Saenz

ABC News

Posted on March 17, 2013 at 4:13 PM

WASHINGTON — As the Republican Party tries to bounce back from its loss in November’s presidential election, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus Sunday outlined some of the tactical changes he feels the party must make, including expanding outreach to minority voters and holding the Party’s convention earlier in the summer.

“I’m calling for a convention in June or July,” Priebus said during an appearance on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” arguing that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was a “sitting duck” in the months leading up to the Republican National Convention in August.

“We’re going to set up a commission that’s going to make that decision,” he said. “I’m going to be a part of that, I’m going to chair that commission, but no more August conventions.”

While Democrats benefited from well invested and expansive political operations in states across the country in 2012, Priebus acknowledged the Republicans faced a deficit in that area and said the GOP would combat shortfall by launching a $10 million initiative dedicated to outreach in minority communities.

“The Obama campaign lived in these communities for years. Their relationships were deep. They were authentic,” Priebus said. 

“We’re going to be announcing a $10 million initiative just this year which will include hundreds of people, paid, across the country, from coast to coast, in Hispanic, African American, Asian communities, talking about our party, talking about our brand, talking about what we believe in, going to community events, going to swearing-in ceremonies being a part of the community on an ongoing basis paid for by the Republican National Committee, to make the case for our party and our candidates.”

Priebus also said he hopes to reduce the number of primary debates to a more reasonable number like “seven or eight” per election cycle. Priebus plans to outline his modernization plan for the Republican Party, called the Growth and Opportunity Project, in a news conference Monday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. 

Last week, the RNC announced it would restructure its digital strategy to compete with the savvy and successful technology campaign waged by Democrats in recent years. But as the Republican Party looks to heal the wounds caused by the 2012 election, two notable Republicans hammered each other for their respective roles in the Republican Party over the weekend.

On Saturday, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin made a thinly veiled jab at Republican strategist Karl Rove, who many on the right are vilifying his poor track record in the 2012 election and for establishing the Conservative Victory Project, which aims to take sides in Republican primary contests to weed out potential “problem” candidates.

“If these experts who keep losing elections and keep getting rehired and getting millions — if they feel that strong about who gets to run in this party, then they should buck-up or stay in the truck,” Palin said at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday, a reference to Rove. “Buck up or run. The Architect can head on back to the great Lone Star State and put their name on some ballot — though for their sakes, I hope they give themselves a discount on their consulting services.”

But Rove fired back Sunday, defending himself and dinging Palin for her decision not to complete her term as governor of Alaska.

“I’m a volunteer. I don’t take a dime from my work with American Crossroads. I even pay my own travel expenses, out of my own pocket. I thought Sarah Palin was about encouraging volunteer, grassroots activity, I’m a volunteer,” Rove said on “Fox News Sunday.” 

“I appreciate her encouragement that I ought to go home to Texas and run for office. I would be enthused if I ran for office to have her support. I will say this, though, I don’t think I’m a particularly good candidate. Sort of a balding, fat guy. And second of all, I’d say if I did run for office and win, I would serve out my term. I wouldn’t leave office midterm.”

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