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Jansing & Co.
updated 3/21/2013 5:16:58 PM ET 2013-03-21T21:16:58

The internal debate within the GOP continues over how the RNC’s blunt autopsy of the 2012 election is marginalizing the party. Former GOP Congressman Steve LaTourette weighs in.

An internal debate is going on right now within the Republican Party following the RNC’s blunt autopsy of the 2012 election that argued the party is marginalizing itself. But the 100-page analysis seems to have only intensified the battle between deeply committed conservatives and more pragmatic members who are fighting one another for control of the party.

“The Tea Party is an important component of the Republican Party but it’s not the Republican Party,” said former Congressman Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio, on Jansing & Co. Thursday. “We have to become a national party.”

To that end, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is advocating a number of course corrections. He says Republicans should stop talking only to themselves and become better acquainted with Americans from all walks of life, build their party around pragmatic governors and get behind immigration reform. Priebus also says the GOP needs to better tailor its message to immigrants, women and minorities.

“If you look at the RNC report I think it’s good that we’ve done this introspection,” LaTourette told msnbc’s Chris Jansing. “But we have to take it beyond that.”

As Republicans look at how to shape their brand for the future, a new Politicoarticle says the two most potent forces in the Republican party today are Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

“I don’t agree with that,” LaTourette said about the Politico piece, but added, “they certainly hold a good deal of sway.”

LaTourette leads the Republican Main Street Partnership and his group is now starting its own Super PAC to promote center-right candidates for the House of Representatives from primary challenges in 2014. The move comes at the same time Karl Rove has taken hits for saying he would like to see more moderate candidates.

“I actually sat down with Karl about a month and a half ago. I said respectfully, ‘Karl, you’re not the face of moderation in the Republican Party,’” LaTourette said. “The fact that somebody is attacking Karl Rove and John Boehner as being squishy moderates, I mean that really tells you how far to the right some of these folks have gone.”

Video: The GOP finds itself at a fork in the road

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    >>> there is an internal debate continuing today within the republican party over that rnc blunt autopsy of the 2012 election that argues the party is marginalizing itself. that 100-page analysis seems to have only intensified the battle between deeply committed conservatives and more pragmatic members of the party who are fighting one another for control of the gop. joining me now on the future of the republican party , former congressman steve laterette. good morning.

    >> good morning to you.

    >> give me your take. how would you describe the current state of the gop? is the tea party the future?

    >> it's not the future. the tea party is an important component, but it's not the republican party . and, you know, we have to become a national party . in order to become a national party , i know you're from fair port harbor, ohio, and we have to compete in places like that if we want to elect the president of the united states .

    >> you know, it is interesting when you look at where your party is now. politico has this new article about the influence of a couple younger guys. marco rubio , rand paul, and how they're taking the reins. it's rubio and paul dominating the show. this wing of the party has its own version of the republican national committee , the heritage foundation . the aggressive, wealthy brothers and the club for growth. together these groups hold the cards when it comes to the most important political issues facing the party. do that i?

    >> no, i don't agree with that. they certainly old a good deal of sway, but our challenge at main street and other people like us in terms of wanting to restore the governing wing of the party recognize, again, they're an important piece of the puzzle, but if they become the puzzle, i mean, i heard you before the break talking about senator mccaskill's book. i'm interested to read it because i think she spent $2 million promoting the candidacy of representative akin because she knew he may have been one of the only two people in missouri that she could have beaten last year.

    >> well, don't you think he beat himself with his comments? i mean, that's --

    >> he did, but that's the problem. the democrat invests in the republican because it's almost like she knew something was coming. you know, if you look at the rnc report, i think it's good that we've done this introspection, but we have to take it beyond that and you have to vet these candidates. it doesn't surprise me that we lose the women's vote when people are saying there's such a thing as legitimate rape.

    >> let me ask you about your super pac. karl rove has been taking a lot of hits for saying he wants to back more moderate candidates, they want to get away from the todd akins of the republican party . is there a difference between your super pac and his?

    >> they're going to focus on the senate. i sat down with karl a month ago. i said, respectively, you're not the face of mod kaeration on the republican party .

    >> how did he respond to that?

    >> he chuckled. because it's true. the fact that somebody is attacking karl rove and john boehner as being squishy moderates, that tells you how far to the right some of these folks have gone. so what we hope to do is play in republican primaries in the house, not attacking anybody, but saying that if you happen to reflect new england or ohio or pennsylvania, there shouldn't be some litmus test based upon a few wealthy people as to whether or not you're a good republican. electability is what it's about.

    >> former congressman, good to see

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