NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Some among the GOP base may decry an "establishment" takeover of the party's nomination process, but Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus says his political machine is a crucial part of a path to Republican victory in 2016.
"We cannot be a candidate-crazy party," Priebus told reporters in a meeting Thursday. "We also need the mechanics."
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Speaking to reporters during the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference, Priebus touted himself and the RNC as handling the "boring stuff" that's key to getting a campaign off the ground — and helping a Republican candidate actually be successful.
From controlling the forums in which Republican hopefuls will debate one another in the primaries — keeping the "nefarious" Chris Matthews from putting candidates on the spot — to finding and promoting party advocates "who don't look like me," the RNC's work is critical to the 2016 race, Priebus said.
Responding to charges that the RNC is about "establishment control" over the nomination process, Priebus said, "It is about control — do you want the liberal media to control the process, or do you want the party whose nominee it's going to be to control it?"
Priebus touted the growth of the RNC staff from 80 in 2011 to some 3,200 last year.
Priebus also affirmed the GOP's opposition to gay marriage and Obamacare, as well as calling for increased youth outreach going into 2016.
Asked by TheBlaze about the possible impact of Common Core on the Republican primary field, Priebus said, "I think it's going to be a hot topic, but we should keep our powder dry and let the candidates speak for themselves."
While Priebus affirmed the RNC's opposition to Common Core, he declined to address the potential impact of the issue on presidential hopefuls such as Jeb Bush, who has been resolute in his support of the standards.
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