Priebus blasts Romney adviser critical of CNN, NBC primary debate ban

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Sunday he was "not really taking advice" from Eric Fehrnstrom after the top adviser to former GOP nominee Mitt Romney panned the decision to prevent NBC and CNN from hosting 2016 primary debates.

"I don't know if his Etch-a-Sketch is on tilt," Preibus said during an appearance on ABC's "This Week," mocking Fehrnstrom's infamous gaffe from the 2012 campaign.

"I'm not really taking advice from Eric Fehrnstrom right now," he continued. "I'm trying to build a party that's year-round. I'm trying to fix a data and digital operation, I'm trying to get a hold of a primary process and a debate debacle that, as you know, I've called a traveling circus."


On Friday, the RNC voted unanimously to bar CNN and NBC from hosting debates in protest to the network's plans to air programming about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who may run for the Democratic presidential nomination."

After the vote, Fehrnstrom tweeted that the decision created "bad optics."

"Attacking the media is a loser's game," he said.

Priebus also acknowledged that Republicans wanted to limit the number of debates after the bloody 2012 nominating process. Republican candidates participated in more than 20 debates before Romney was selected as the party's nominee, and some have suggested the frequent clashes undermined momentum.

"The fact of the matter is I've got to protect this party and our nominees," Priebus said. "We don't want a whole lot of 23 debate rounds like we've had beforeā€¦ These guys are making it a lot easier for us to pare that down to a reasonable number in front of people and entities that actually give a darn about the future of the Republican Party."