Priebus: 'Era of permanent politics'

Updated Jan. 25, 2013 at 3:11 PM
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CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Reince Priebus, re-elected Friday as Republican National Committee chairman, told Republicans in Charlotte, N.C., "we live in an era of permanent politics."

Priebus was elected to a second two-year term at the RNC Winter Meeting where he told fellow party members the RNC will no longer focus on whether a state is "red," indicating Republican," or "blue," indicating Democratic.

"We must compete in every state and every region, building relationships with communities we haven't before," Priebus said.

He said the RNC must "develop the best technology with the help of the best minds -- and train activists, volunteers and candidates with the modern tools of a modern party."

"As a party, we must recognize that we live in an era of permanent politics," Priebus said. "We must stop living nominee-to-nominee, campaign to campaign. As we saw this election, our opponent benefited from a multiyear head start. Now is the time to begin to develop a permanent, national field infrastructure."

Priebus said the RNC was "broken" when he succeeded Michael Steele as chairman in 2011 but has paid off its debts and "saved" its reputation.

RNC Treasurer Tony Parker told the gathering the RNC has paid off all debt remaining from the 2012 election and has $4.7 million cash on hand, Politico reported.

"We're in excellent financial shape," he said.

Priebus said a lesson from the defeat of presidential nominee Mitt Romney is that Republicans should not "keep talking about our principles in the same way we always have" but he said the GOP should not compromise its principles in the search for electoral victory.

"We can stand by our timeless principles -- and articulate them in ways that are modern ... relevant to our time and relatable to the majority of voters," he said. "And that, I believe, is how we'll achieve a Republican renewal."

Priebus' address came one day after Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal -- widely considered a possible 2016 GOP presidential hopeful -- told delegates to the RNC meeting Republicans must "stop being the stupid party."

"It's time for a new Republican Party that talks like adults," Jindal said.

"It's no secret we had a number of Republicans who damaged the brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments," he said.

But the party can come back by returning to its conservative principles, which he said "are timeless."

Jindal called on conservatives to shift their focus from Capitol Hill number crunching to "the place where conservatism thrives -- in the real world beyond the Washington Beltway," referring to the interstate highway that surrounds Washington and the inner suburbs.

Instead of being the "party of austerity," Republicans must "boldly show what the future can look like with the free-market policies that we believe in," he said.

"We must compete for every single vote -- the 47 percent and the 53 percent and any other combination of numbers that adds up to 100 percent," he said.

His "47 percent" comment invoked a remark Romney made at a closed-door fundraiser about a bloc of voters he said Republicans should forget about because they would vote for President Barack Obama "no matter what." The remark became a prominent feature of the campaign after video of it was played extensively online and on television.

The GOP "must reject the notion that demography is destiny, the pathetic and simplistic notion that skin pigmentation dictates voter behavior," Jindal said. "We must treat all people as individuals rather than as members of special interest groups."

"At present we have one party that wants to be in charge of the federal government so they can expand it, and one party that wants to be in charge of the federal government so they can get it under control," CNN quoted him as saying, referring first to Democrats and then Republicans.

"It's a terrible debate," he said. "It's a debate fought entirely on our opponents' terms."

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