Priebus calls on GOP to improve tone, choice of words

Jan. 24, 2014 at 3:53 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, addressing an RNC meeting in Washington Friday, called on Republicans to improve their "choice of words."

Priebus made his comments one day after former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's comments about contraception and women's libidos. Huckabee suggested Democrats have convinced women the United States stands ready with "a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or reproductive system without the help of government."

A "rising stars" meeting following Huackabee's appearance featured five Republican women as part of a GOP outreach effort to gain support among women. Reporters ignored the event, rushing instead to file stories about Huckabee's comments, Politico reported Friday.

While not mentioning Huckabee by name, Priebus said Friday "the policies and principles of our party are sound. However ... we must all be very conscious of the tone and choice of words we use to communicate those policies effectively. We should set the standard for future RNCs, and also set an example for other Republicans."

The audience at the RNC meeting greeted his comments with cheers.

Huckabee's drew Democratic outrage Thursday.

"Mike Huckabee has no idea what he's talking about. If this is the GOP rebrand a year later then all they've gotten is a year older," Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said.

The DNC quickly put together a 25-second video of Huckabee's remarks made to look like an old black-and-white newsreel -- with the tagline "The GOP: Leading the way ... to the 1950s."

"It sounds offensive to me, and to women," White House spokesman Jay Carney said during the White House press briefing after a reporter read Huckabee's remarks and asked if they accurately reflected the Obama administration's position.

Priebus added Friday the RNC would control the 2016 debate process, calling it "a way to put a check on the liberal media." He noted television documentaries about Hillary Clinton, planned by NBC and CNN, were cancelled after the RNC voted to exclude the networks from presenting the debates if the projects went ahead.

"The RNC isn't going to put up with the same old ways. We're going to set a new standard," he added.

Huckabee, responding to the criticism, sent an email to supporters asking for donations and accusing his critics of being "hand-wringing, card carrying liberals," the liberal website Talking Points Memo reported.

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