LAS VEGAS - A week's worth of soul-searching among Republicans has yielded no shortage of explanations for the party's failure to win the White House.
What they won't say is that President Barack Obama won a mandate for his vision, or that the GOP has veered too far right in its outlook.
"The president won the election. But I think it wasn't on the issues," Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said Thursday at the Republican Governors Association's annual conference.
Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, the incoming chairman, pointedly criticized Romney for continuing to advance the idea, most recently in a Wednesday conference call with donors, that Obama owed his victory to "gifts" his administration had doled out to key demographic groups.
"We have got to stop dividing the American voters. We need to go after 100 percent of the votes, not 53 percent," Jindal said, a reference to Romney's videotaped comments from earlier in the year that the 47 percent of Americans who don't pay federal income taxes see themselves as victims. "I think that's absolutely wrong. I don't think that represents where we are as a party and where we are going as a party."