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GOP crafts new image as it hustles Mitt Romney out the door

All the Republican Party needs to recover from its presidential defeat is a new message, a new image, and some fresh faces. And usher Mitt Romney offstage. That's it. Piece of cake.

By Staff writer / November 18, 2012

Patty Cownie of Des Moines, Iowa, talks with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., during Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad's annual birthday fundraiser Saturday in Altoona, Iowa.

Charlie Neibergall/AP

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All the Republican Party needs to recover from its defeat in the presidential election is a new message, a new image, and some fresh faces. That’s it. Piece of cake.

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Staff writer and editor

Brad Knickerbocker is a staff writer and editor based in Ashland, Oregon.

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But first, it must usher out the remembrance of party leaders past. That would be Mitt Romney – who, in fact, has been making it easier for the GOP to do just that.

Echoing his infamous “47 percent” off-the-record comment to big donors during the campaign, he upped that to 51 percent in his post-election remarks (again, to donors) about how Barack Obama had won by purchasing his vote majority with “gifts” to liberal interest groups.

Grapes never seemed so sour, and Republicans were quick to rebuke such blame-gamesmanship.

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“I absolutely reject what he said,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (the new chairman of the Republican Governors Association) said on Fox News Sunday. "We as a Republican Party have to campaign for every single vote. If we want people to like us we have to like them first. And you don't start to like people by saying their votes were bought.”

"We also don't need to be saying stupid things," Gov. Jindal said, referring to controversial comments on abortion by failed GOP Senate candidates Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock (neither of whom did Romney roundly reject). "Look, we had candidates in Indiana and Missouri that said offensive things that not only hurt themselves and lost us two Senate seats but also hurt the Republican Party across the board."

Carlos Gutierrez, who advised the Romney campaign on Hispanic issues and voters, says he was “shocked” by Romney’s most recent comments.

“Frankly, I don’t think that’s why Republicans lost the election," he said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." “I think we lost the election because the far right of this party has taken the party to a place that it doesn’t belong.”

The Associated Press interviewed a bunch of Republican notables, and their message was essentially the same.

Veteran Republican strategist Ron Kaufman, who advised Romney's campaign: "The bottom line is we were perceived to be intolerant on some issues. And tone-deaf on others."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who ran against Romney in the GOP primaries and caucuses: “We were clearly wrong on a whole range of fronts…. There are whole sections of the American public that we didn't even engage with.”

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