RNC chief Priebus responds to Dole, says GOP ‘open for repairs’

The chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) proclaimed the party “open for repairs,” days after one of its elder statesmen said the GOP should be “closed for repairs” as it figures out how to win national elections.

“I would say that we’re not closed for repairs, but we’re open for repairs,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said on “Fox News Sunday.” “And that’s the Republican Party that needs to grow, that needs to win presidential elections and needs to be a year-round common operation, which is what we’re building.”

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Priebus was responding to comments made by former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.), who on the same program a week earlier criticized the GOP for moving too far to the right and said that neither he nor Ronald Reagan or Richard Nixon could win a presidential nomination in the modern Republican Party. 

Dole, 89 and a former Senate majority leader, was the GOP’s presidential nominee in 1996.

Priebus responded delicately to Dole, calling him a “hero in this country.” But he cited the nominations of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) in the last two elections as “a pretty good counter-position to what Sen. Dole had to say.”

Priebus defended the party’s effort to regroup after its 2012 defeat, and he acknowledged that while Republicans performed well in off-year elections, they had fallen short for decades in White House campaigns.

“If we’re being honest about it, we haven’t decisively won a presidential race in 24 years,” he said.

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