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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

In pep talk to troops, GOP chairman Reince Preibus rips predecessor



During a 20-minute speech before the Republican National Committee at the Marriott Waterside this morning, party Chairman Reince Priebus hit all the usual notes.
"We’re going to fire Barack Obama, hire Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, and save America," Priebus said. "This is the final stretch, only 75 days left. We know our mission. We have to save this country from the destruction that's been caused by Barack Obama."
But Priebus also spent the beginning of the speech extolling his stewardship of the party since taking over in January 2011. To do so, he put himself in stark contrast to his predecessor, Michael Steele. Without naming Steele, Priebus said plenty that criticized him.
"When I addressed you 20 months ago, we were in debt, we had no money to pay staff, our donors had fled, few respected us, and we soon realized it was worse than we thought," Priebus said. "But together, we changed that."
The party has opened 250 offices throughout the country, made 10 million volunteer phone calls, knocked on more than 1 million doors -- 20 times what they had done at this point in 2008, grown Facebook fans by 20 percent, quadrupled Twitter followers and raised viewership of RNC Web videos to 4.5 million. Oh yeah, the RNC has also outraised the Democrats.

Michael Van Sickler, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Thursday, August 23, 2012 10:56am]


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