RNC Chairman Reince Priebus On Benghazi And The GOP Refusing To Take Part In Obamacare’s IPAB Formation
GB: And with me on the line now is the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus. Hey, Reince, great to talk to you.
RP: Hey, thanks for having me on, Guy.
GB: Our pleasure. I wanted to start with Benghazi. We’ve been focusing on that topic for the majority of the show for obvious reasons. As you watched the events unfold in that hearing room yesterday, what was your reaction? How did you feel? And what do you think are the biggest takeaways in your mind?
RP: Well, I mean, I thought it was incredibly sad, number one. I thought it was pathetic. I thought it was sort of the Keystone Cops in the State Department, and led by Hillary Clinton. I’m, obviously, like everybody, extraordinarily concerned and curious as to what in fact the President knew, or the people closest to him knew or didn’t know, and why decisions were made by Ambassador Rice, Hillary Clinton and others to seemingly, either intentionally or so grossly negligent it amounts to intentional conduct, to ignore what had already been established as fact, which was that it was a terrorist attack. And they scrubbed, apparently, that information as well. And then they went out through Susan Rice to the entire world and told a different story. Now I mean, there has got to be some answers to these questions, and I’m feeling good in the sense that we’re going to get to those answers. And I believe that Darrell and Trey Gowdy and Jason Chaffetz are all over this. And I think they’re probably knowledgeable of a lot more than any of us are. So I think there’s more to come.
GB: I’ll agree with you that the Republican members were extraordinarily well-prepared yesterday, and did an excellent job getting to the facts, and resisting the political temptation to speechify. And they asked very pointed questions and got a lot of eye-opening answers. Reince, my question is, and Hugh has been talking about this on this show, at what point does another step need to be taken? I saw today Speaker Boehner is now urging the White House to release a whole tranche of emails that they have so far refused to release. Do you believe it is now time for a special committee to be convened, a select committee to investigate this, like Watergate?
RP: Well, I mean, I know obviously there is some talk of that, and I don’t know to what extent it is in an official capacity. But I certainly don’t think that that is out of the realm of possibility. I mean, I think it should be, and it ought to be in the realm of possibility. I think right now, Darrell Issa and Jason Chaffetz and Trey Gowdy are in a sense pursuing it, and in a way that I think you’re referring to. But you know, listen, I think that there is plenty of smoke and fire here now, and there is plenty of questions that are unanswered. And I know that this isn’t just, this is going to be the beginning, not the end, and I think it ought to happen. I think that people deserve to have these answers.
GB: We’re talking to RNC chairman Reince Priebus on the Hugh Hewitt Show. Reince, I just during the break watched a clip on ABC News’ website. They have obtained a political ad put together by the RNC for the cycle last year, the Romney-Obama campaign, focusing on Benghazi. We would play it on the air, but it’s, there’s no real voiceover. It’s…
RP: Yeah, it’s all words.
GB: Right, it’s all visual. It is extremely powerful. It goes back to that ’08 ad that Hillary ran against Barack Obama in their primary, saying this guy’s not ready for a 3am phone call.
GB: Then you have the audio of a phone ringing overlaid with video of Benghazi burning, and it rings and it rings and it rings, and then there’s a dial tone, or one of those no answer tones. And it says Americans deserve answers, four Americans are dead. It was an extremely powerful ad spotlighting this issue. And the report is that Governor Romney, for whatever reason, spiked the ad. He didn’t want to run it. do you have any sense of why that decision was made?
RP: No, you know, I don’t, I think the focus in the end was the economy. I know we were, and others were, too, of course, pushing this story, and that we obviously thought there was a lot of fire here, and I thought it was an important story. And I’m sure the Governor thought it was important, too, and I don’t know what decisions they made as to why not to include the web ad or not. But look, the RNC, my view is we’ve produced some of the best ads in the entire political cycle.
GB: Oh, I agree.
RP: And I think people forgot, I mean, we were producing an ad every single day. And so…but you know, to put money behind it, you obviously have to have the candidates buy in, because we’ve hit our coordinated limit.
RP: It’s something people don’t realize, is that once a political party hits its coordinated limit with what we can do expressed advocacy for the candidate, unless you don’t want to put any money behind it, you’ve got to have the candidate saying yeah, we’ll put money behind it.
GB: And by the way, if I could just offer…
RP: So I mean, that’s not a decision they made.
GB: Reince, my theory, not your theory, but this is me speaking, and you know I’m a huge admirer of Governor Romney, I think he was spooked by the false fact check from Candy Crowley in the debate over Benghazi, where he thought this was a dangerous place for me to be now because of that, and I think he thought he was winning. That’s pretty well established in terms of their flawed internal polling, and maybe he thought this wasn’t necessary. But I would encourage Hugh Hewitt Show listeners to go back and watch the ad. I wish it had been run, because it’s very potent. Reince, I want to switch gears to Obamacare. I’m holding in my hand here a letter sent to the President signed by Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell. Here’s the first sentence. We write to respond to your March 29th letter requesting that we submit the names of individuals to serve on the Individual Payment Advisory Board, IPAB, which was created in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. They go on. Because the law will give IPAB’s 15 unelected, unaccountable individuals the ability to deny seniors access to innovative care, we respectfully decline to recommend appointments. So pretty much, we are going to have nothing to do with IPAB. We waive our right here to have input in terms of who these 15 people are. I think this is the right move. Is the goal here, once again, to force the Democrats to wear it, to wear this thing?
RP: Well, I think that’s the first, that’s part of it. But the second part is that this is going to be, I mean, we are never going to let go of this Obamacare issue. And funding Obamacare, and putting the appropriations in place, is going to be the next fight. I think people in leadership, and people like Paul Ryan, are going to take the lead in making sure that the American people know how bad this product is. And the difference between 2012 and 2014 is going to be, unfortunately, and I don’t take joy in this, but people are going to feel what Obamacare is all about.
RP: And they’re going to see the cost rise. They’re going to see that doctors that they want to see aren’t the ones that are on the list for them to see. And they’re going to see what happens when major companies end up dropping their own insurance, because it’s going to be cheaper to just get on Obamacare.
GB: Well, the bottom line, Mr. Chairman, the bottom line is the pain is coming. The pain is coming…
GB: Yeah, and this will, and it passed without a single Republican vote, and they jammed it through, and the American people are sadly going to suffer the consequences. Chairman Priebus, as always, a pleasure. Thanks so much.
End of interview.