Blog Posts by Chris Moody

  • Republicans get into the permanent campaign business

    Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus (Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES—Since the early days of President Barack Obama's first term, Republicans have disparaged him for engaging in a "permanent campaign," saying he is placing his own personal interests ahead of the nation's. But after Obama won re-election with more than 300 electoral college votes, GOP leaders are starting to think that he might actually be on to something.

    Republican National Committee members huddled for a strategy session here last week, where they broke ground on their own rebranding effort, one that will continue whether it's an election year or not.

    Earlier this year, the RNC released a detailed report called The Growth & Opportunity Project that outlined the party's failures in last year's national election and offered 219 recommendations to reform the way the party operates. In March, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus unveiled a plan based on the report that includes overhauling the Republican Party's digital operations and spending $10 million in 2013 alone—an incredible

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  • D.C. GOP Committeeman Robert KabelLOS ANGELES—When the National Republican Party took a voice vote to approve a resolution reasserting the party's opposition to same sex marriage, Robert Kabel, a gay committeeman from the District of Columbia who supports allowing same sex nuptials, didn't speak up. At least not loud enough for anyone to hear him.

    Immediately after the vote at RNC's quarterly meeting here Friday, Chairman Reince Priebus declared that all 157 members present had supported the measure.

    But despite the tally, which officially recorded the vote as unanimous, Kabel insists he dissented.

    "I voted against the resolution. I did, it just wasn't very vocal," Kabel said after the meeting. "It's hard to hear in here."

    Kabel, a lawyer and former leader of the Log Cabin Republicans, became the first gay local chairman within the Republican Party when he was elected to chair the D.C. GOP in 2004. Nearly a decade later, he is working quietly within the party to remove the traditional marriage clause from the official

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  • Republicans approve resolution reaffirming opposition to gay marriage

    (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES—With no debate, Republicans at the party's spring meeting here on Friday unanimously approved a number of resolutions, including one that reaffirmed the party's opposition to same-sex marriage.

    "The Republican National Committee affirms its support for marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and as the optimum environment in which to raise healthy children for the future of America," the resolution read. The 157 RNC members present approved it in a voice vote.

    The vote on same-sex nuptials was part of an effort to dispel criticism from social conservatives worried that the party may veer from its official position on the issue.

    Before the meeting, some outraged social conservative leaders accused the party of taking steps to abandon its opposition to same-sex marriage, after the so-called Growth and Opportunity Project report outlining steps for the party to broaden its reach called for being more inclusive to gay and lesbian voters. Thirteen prominent heads of

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  • Republican leaders say social conservatives should not feel threatened

    Republican National Committee Co-chair Sharon Day speaks during the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay in August 2012. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES—Social conservatives who were outraged over a March report from the Republican National Committee calling for the party to be more inclusive to gay and lesbian voters have no reason to be alarmed, GOP leaders say.

    "I don't think their goals have been any lessened," RNC Co-chair Sharon Day told Yahoo News in an interview at the party's quarterly meeting here Thursday. "I think what they bring to the table is still very important. Their success and our success—all entities that share our values, that share our passions, that share the things that we stand on—if every single one of us is strong, we're all strong."

    Last month the RNC released its wide-ranging "Growth and Opportunity" report, an autopsy of the party's role in the 2012 election that listed more than 200 recommendations for how to rebuild after Mitt Romney's loss to President Barack Obama. Noticeably scant in the document was a description of the long-term role of social conservatives, a vital Republican voting

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  • RNC Chairman Reince Priebus (right) speaks at the National Press Club in March. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES—If you're curious about areas where Republicans believe they still need improvement, look no further than the schedule for this week's Republican National Committee spring meeting, where party activists will spend an entire afternoon learning how to engage minority and female voters.

    The party's top activists planned to spend much of Thursday in strategy meetings aimed at best practices for packaging and presenting their conservative ideas to young people, women, and black, Hispanic, and Asian constituencies. The training is part of the party's new outreach effort to types of voters who overwhelmingly have supported Democrats in recent elections.

    The names of the workshops include:

    - "Republican Messaging: How to say what we mean and show that we care"

    - "Growing the Party: Working with Minority," led by Micah Grant, an "African American media specialist;" Susie Wong, an "ethnic minority media specialist;" and "Chiqui Cartagena, vice president of corporate marketing for

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  • Republicans head to Hollywood for spring strategy session

    RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

    Six months after Republicans took a drubbing in the 2012 elections, the party now has a clear picture of what must change to win future contests. With a long postelection era of lost-in-the-wilderness philosophizing behind them, party leaders say they are ready to set their new plan for action into motion.

    Activists from around the country will gather at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles beginning on Thursday for the Republican National Committee's three-day spring meeting. There, amid continued intraparty tension over issues like immigration reform and gay marriage, they plan to plunge headfirst into the gritty details of the business of winning elections.

    The agenda calls for a series of private internal meetings about the party budget and rules, along with strategy sessions and workshops on voter outreach and party coordination.

    On Friday, the group will break for a motivational trip to the Ronald Reagan Library in nearby Simi Valley—think of it as spa day meets religious

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  • Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    At a private meeting on Wednesday afternoon, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will brief his fellow Republican senators on the details of a comprehensive immigration reform plan set to be released sometime over the next week, and he is expected to assure them that the legislation will contain the "the toughest immigration enforcement laws in U.S. history."

    The pitch, however, may be a tough sell for some Republican lawmakers still smarting from past failed attempts to overhaul the nation's immigration system.

    Among his colleagues in the Senate Republican caucus, Rubio and the other members of the so-called "Gang of Eight"—the bipartisan group of senators tasked with writing the first draft of a new immigration bill—face many tough critics, particularly Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions and Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, senior Republicans on the Judiciary Committee.

    Through press releases, media appearances and official letters sent over the past several weeks, Sessions and Grassley have warned that the

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  • In new role, Jim DeMint seeks to craft a fresh message for conservative movement

    Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    Jim DeMint has played many roles over the years: U.S. senator. Kingmaker. Advocate. Lawmaker. Mentor. Rabble-rouser. In his newest iteration as president of the Heritage Foundation, the conservative movement's pre-eminent think tank, he wants to transform the way conservatives craft and package their message. Chiefly, he sees a need to dispel a criticism he hears constantly: that Republicans simply don't care about some Americans.

    He thinks he can accomplish this more effectively as an activist at Heritage than he ever could as a Republican in the Senate.

    DeMint, who gave up his Senate seat last year, started his new, higher-paying gig at Heritage this week. As a former ad man for private marketing firms before he entered politics, DeMint acknowledges the power of a strong presentation.

    "We know that lawmakers are not going to push, promote and pass conservative ideas unless people understand and support them," DeMint told Yahoo News in an interview on his second day at Heritage. "So

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  • Two more Democratic senators announce support for same-sex marriage

    Democratic Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana said on Friday that they have reversed their positions and now support legalizing same-sex marriage, leaving just four members of the Democratic caucus who still oppose the union.

    Both senators, who released their statements about the same time Friday morning, won't face re-election until 2018.

    Heitkamp:

    In speaking with North Dakotans from every corner of our great state, and much personal reflection, I have concluded the federal government should no longer discriminate against people who want to make lifelong, loving commitments to each other or interfere in personal, private, and intimate relationships. I view the ability of anyone to marry as a logical extension of this belief. The makeup of families is changing, but the importance of family is enduring.

    Donnelly:

    In recent years, our country has been involved in an important discussion on the issue of marriage equality. While serving in the House of

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  • A conservative advocacy group founded by former aides to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is launching a targeted media campaign ahead of President Barack Obama's budget proposal rollout on April 10, according to a media action plan provided to Yahoo News.

    The YG Network has produced several versions of a commercial meant to appear at first glance like a teaser for the A&E show "Intervention." They will air in Washington, D.C., media markets on Sunday during network and cable news shows as part of a six-figure campaign that combines television and online advocacy.

    The ads, which begin with a warning disclaimer, "This program contains subject matter and language that may be disturbing to some viewers," shows a small group of men and women sitting in a circle staging an intervention for a struggling friend.

    "How much longer can we do this?" a facilitator leading the meeting asks. "A day? A week? A year? I mean … if we don’t help him now … I fear that he’s never gonna get the help."

    The

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