Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus appeared on CNN’s “Out Front” on Monday evening and spoke to Erin Burnett about the controversial statements made by Rep. Todd Akin, Missouri Republican, regarding rape. He called for Mr. Akin, who is running for Senate against Democrat Claire McCaskill, to “step aside and let someone else run for that office.” Chairman Priebus also said that he “prefer that Todd Akin do the right thing for our party and our candidates” and “not come” to the upcoming RNC Convention in Tampa. Here is the first part of the transcript:
REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, certainly, you know first of all, if it was me and — I wouldn’t say anything that dumb as he has. But if it was me and I had an opportunity to let someone else run to actually give ourselves a better chance of winning, I would step aside. And so, listen, what he said, Erin, was biologically stupid. It’s something that nobody on either side of the aisle agrees with. It’s a bizarre statement and it’s something that I think he needs to seriously think about. And like I said, if it was me, I would step aside and let someone else run for that office.
ERIN BURNETT: All right, so I mean you’re making that pretty clear. The answer is, yes.
PRIEBUS: That’s pretty clear, Erin.
BURNETT: Yes, I think all right —
PRIEBUS: Pretty clear.
BURNETT: I just want to make it loud and clear. It’s my job, make it painfully obvious. But let me ask you this then — so what can you do? I mean you’ve heard him say — you know he’s saying now he doesn’t plan to get out. Obviously he’s got 24 hours. He can still do it. But what are you going to do to get him to make the right choice? Who’s going to make those calls to him?
PRIEBUS: Well I mean ultimately he has to make these calls, I mean right? I mean we all understand that. I mean and so we’re hopeful that he hears these things that people are saying on both sides of the aisle and that this is not mainstream talk that he’s referring to in his descriptions of whatever an illegitimate rape is — you know that’s not even something that we could conceive of.
In the final part of the interview, Chairman Priebus talks about why he would prefer that Rep. Akin not attend the RNC Convention:
PRIEBUS: Well first of all that’s not true. But the point that I’m making is that what you’re referring to and what these reporters are referring to in this bill is the question of whether or not you should be able to use taxpayer money to fund abortions. That’s a totally separate issue. And on that issue, that’s an 80 percent winner for us. And so you know you can pick and choose all these numbers all day long.
The fact of the matter is most women are pro life. This election is not coming down to this particular Todd Akin issue. We’re very proud to be a pro life party and we are and I’m pro life. And I think it’s a winning issue. But the problem with Todd Akin is that he’s taken it to a level that no one in the mainstream is in agreement with. And you’re seeing both parties say that.
BURNETT: And so the bottom line is you say that — I understand your point on Todd Akin, that you think that he is not — is not something that anyone would support in the mainstream and I would imagine he’s not welcome at the Republican Convention where you are right now either.
PRIEBUS: Well listen, if it was up to me, Erin, I will tell you, I would prefer that Todd Akin do the right thing for our party and our candidates and I would prefer him not come.
BURNETT: All right. Well thank you very much, Chairman Priebus. I appreciate taking the time. Hopefully next time we’ll be able to talk about the economy which I know is what you wanted to talk about.