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RNC admits need for makeover from 'stuffy old men' rep

The GOP has conducted an autopsy on its 2012 losses—and the results aren't pretty.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. (Photo: REUTERS/John Gress)
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

The GOP has conducted an autopsy on its 2012 losses—and the results aren't pretty.

The study, conducted by the Republican National Committee, and released Monday, concludes with a truth that most politicos already acknowledge: The party has a major messaging problem, and many view the GOP as a group of "stuffy old men," an entity at which "young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes," and minorities "wrongly think Republicans do not like them."

Indeed, the right fared poorly in last year's elections, especially among minority and Hispanic voters. Last year, Obama won more than 70% of Hispanic votes and more than 90% among blacks. He also defeated Mitt Romney by about 11 points among female voters.

On Sunday, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus announced his party would spend $10 million this year alone in an outreach effort to send hundreds of party workers into minority communities.

Their goals include "talking about our party, talking about our brand, talking about what we believe in, going to community events, going to swearing-in ceremonies, being a part of the community on an ongoing make the case for our party and our candidates," Priebus said on CBS' Face The Nation. That, he said, is as opposed to just parachuting in during the height of campaign season.

Priebus called the loss in November a "wake-up call" for the party during a rollout of the report at the National Press Club Monday.

"There's no one reason we lost," Priebus added. "Our message was weak; our ground game was insufficient; we weren't inclusive; we were behind in both data and digital; our primary and debate process needed improvement."

The RNC reached out to more than 52,000 Americans for the report, which offers few specifics, especially in terms of policy changes (immigration, abortion, gay rights, taxes). Besides minority outreach, here are some of the main takeaways from the postmortem, titled the "Growth and Opportunity Project":

On gay rights:

The report makes clear the generational gap on the issue of gay rights. It goes as far as to call it a "gateway" issue, especially among young voters deciding whether or not the party is for them. It says the party needs to campaign among the group and demonstrate "we care about them too." There's no recommendation for policy changes toward LGBTers.

On immigration:

The party needs to "embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform" or else face the continuing "shrink to its core constituencies." It does not offer a specific policy prescription.

On super PACs:

The report calls Super PAC money a "wild card that weakens our eventual nominee" due to the influx of negative ads. This may not go over well with many in the party who count on big-time super PAC money to finance their campaigns.

On the Republican nominating process:

The report calls for big changes to the GOP primary system. It suggests banning primary debates before September 1, 2015, and capping the total number of debates to 10 or 12. It also suggests a "regionally primary system" in which groups of states in a similar region would all cast their ballots on the same date. It calls the current system "long, winding, often random road that makes too little sense," as it drags out too long, forces candidates to run out of money, and makes voters in late states feel like they don't count.

On the Republican National Convention:

The report recommends the convention be held earlier in the summer by moving it up to June or July to allow the nominee more time to start the general election phase.

On celeb power:

The GOP wants a Beyonce of its own, and urges the creation of a "Celebrity Task Force" to host events for the RNC to attract younger voters. It also suggests GOP leaders participate in interview on programs like "The Daily Show," The "Colbert Report" "MTV" and magazines like "People" and "Us Weekly."

On polling:

The report calls for a quarterly summit of leading GOP pollsters to "generate more accurate and consistent data across multiple committees and campaigns." Last year, several prominent GOP pollsters--we're looking at you, Dick Morris—botched their calls of the election.

For more on the GOP's rebooting effort, turn into Hardball at 5 and 7 p.m. ET. msnbc political analysts Joy Reid of and former DNC Chair Ed Rendell will weigh in.