GOP Group Launches Listening Tour
Saturday, May 2, 2009 8:40 PM
Article Font Size
With its party struggling to define itself, a group of prominent Republicans launched a listening tour Saturday in a bid to boost the GOP's sagging image and regroup for future elections.
Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., held a town-hall style meeting at a pizza restaurant in the Democratic suburb of Arlington, Va., to hear about people's concerns on issues from the economy and health care to the rising costs of college tuition.
"You can't beat something with nothing, and the other side has something," Bush told a group of about 100 people at the Pie-Tanza pizza parlor. "I don't like it, but they have it and we have to be respectful and mindful of that.
"I hope across the country people will be excited about the prospect of sharing their ideas to bring about a better America," he said.
It was the first meeting of the GOP group National Council for a New America, which was created to rebrand the party's image. The meeting comes after a bad week in which Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter announced he was switching to the Democratic party and Democrat Scott Murphy won a close U.S. House race in a GOP district in upstate New York.
An Associated Press-GfK poll released in April shows that Democrats outnumber Republicans by 46 percent to 28 percent, including those leaning toward either party.
The national council, which plans listening sessions in other cities, also includes Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Sen. John McCain. Republican aides on Capitol Hill disclosed the group this past Wednesday just before Obama started a news conference to mark his first 100 days in office. The group is partly highlighting their differences with the Republican National Committee's political strategy.
That group and a similar one -- Resurgent Republic, a collection of the party's senior strategists == are meant to be Republican roadshows outside Washington's circus tent.
Still, notably absent from either group's rosters are the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and former Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has his own policy group. Others mentioned as potential 2012 candidates and missing are South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, although the latter is a close McCain ally.
Cantor said he wanted to focus the meeting on "bread and butter" issues such as the rising costs of education and health care, which resonate the most with Americans right now.
"These are discussions that need to occur with the American people of any political stripe," he said. "We need to make sure, the discussions, I believe, should be focused on the principles that have made America great -- the principles of freedom and opportunity."
I know this article was written by an AP writer, and it's not like they know how to tell the truth, but, I am particularly bothered by this sentence-
"The group is partly highlighting their differences with the Republican National Committee's political strategy."
To me, when I see the names of the people involved in this group, I must believe the AP is not making things up. I have noted that some names of those Republicans/Conservatives that I have much respect for Gov. Sarah Palin and Senator Jim DeMint are not a part of this group. I was very dissapointed to see Gov. Jindals name included. This is surely a group of "moderates" who are taking their "disunite the Republican Party" tour on the road. And we wonder why we can't win!!!