RNC Winter Meeting
January 12-16, 2016
Belmond Charleston Place
205 Meeting St.
Charleston, SC 29401
Schedule Of Open Press Events (All Times EST):
Wednesday, January 13:
9:00 a.m. Press Check-in Opens
Thursday, January 14:
12:15 p.m. Luncheon at the Charleston Place Hotel with Governor Nathan Deal
2:00 p.m. Standing Committee on Rules Meeting
Friday, January 15:
10:30 a.m. General Session
12:30 p.m. Luncheon at the Charleston Place Hotel with U.S. Senator Tim Scott
Friday, January 15:
10:30 a.m. General Session
12:30 p.m. Luncheon at the Charleston Place Hotel with U.S. Senator Tim Scott
PREPARED FOR DELIVERY
WINTER MEETING ADDRESS
“It is great to be back in South Carolina. The state party, led by Matt Moore, Cindy Costa, and Glenn McCall, is doing a great job keeping our South Carolina party thriving at every level of state and federal government. And as you know, South Carolina is one of the most important states in the country for shaping the course of our presidential primary.
“I want to start out by showing you one of the spots we’ve produced to promote our Republican Leadership Initiative. RLI is the program we started to train operatives who will be incorporated into an RNC field organization that will number in the thousands by Election Day 2016. This is Mario, one of our fellows who embodies the American dream and wants to share what our party stands for. Stories like his are inspiring individuals of all backgrounds to get involved with RLI. Take a look.
“I hope this gets you excited for what we’re doing on the ground and with the RLI initiative. RLI is the key pipeline for recruiting new volunteers, staff, and team leaders who are forming the backbone of our ground game in battleground states. And we couldn’t be happier with how it is coming together. We’ve already trained over 1000 RLI fellows who are motivated to spread the Republican message in their neighborhoods and have received over 5000 new applications just in 2016.
“To all of you here today, I am grateful for your efforts in what we as a party have accomplished and what we are going to accomplish in 2016.
“I know we have a lot of other business to get to today, so I will keep these remarks short, about 12 minutes. Or in other words, the amount of time until Martin O’Malley drops out.
“There are three things I am going to emphasize today.
“First, I want to highlight the many successes our party had in 2015 and how we hold the high ground over the Democrats in 2016.
“Secondly, the RNC is keeping our foot on the gas to continually build on our powerful data, digital, and ground game operation that is going to make a big difference for our presidential nominee.
“And finally, I want everyone to understand that our party has its sights set firmly on defeating Hillary Clinton (and I guess now we better start thinking of Bernie Sanders too) so that we can put a Republican president back in the White House.
SUCCESSES OF REPUBLICANS VS. FAILURES OF DEMOCRATS
“In 2015, our party built on the historic victories of 2014.
“If you compare the two parties head to head, there’s really no contest. We keep breaking new ground, while Democrats are running Russ Feingold, Joe Sestak, Ted Strickland, and Hillary Clinton. I’m half-expecting Walter Mondale to enter the race at this point.
“There’s a national appetite for Republican leadership that is only gaining steam. America is tired of the Obama administration’s weak economic recovery, failed foreign policy, and a coercive approach to governing.
“America is ready for fresh leadership in the White House that promises economic opportunity for everyone and a foreign policy that doesn’t lead from behind.
“Just look at what we’re accomplishing at the state level. After the 2015 off-year elections, we as a party controlled thirty-two governor’s offices and seventy percent of state legislative chambers. We have the largest majority we’ve had in the House of Representatives at any point since 1928. Democrats are struggling just to recruit candidates to run at the state level.
“We continued implementing the changes recommended in the Growth and Opportunity Project. Democrats released their 2014 autopsy report five months late, and it basically said, “We don’t need to change that much.”
“In 2015, the RNC enjoyed one of the best off-year fundraising years in our history and outraised the DNC by tens of millions of dollars. The DNC is in debt and struggling to retain their staff.
“We’ve got staff on the ground recruiting volunteers and building relationships in all communities. We’re the only organization running a general election field program in all presidential battleground states.
“And there’s no competition between us and the Democrats in how much voter interest is focused on our candidates. We have a diverse field of well-qualified candidates, competing with each other on the basis of ideas. The DNC is working behind the scenes to coronate Hillary Clinton. And they’re tipping the scales to make sure it happens.
“We attracted 10 million more viewers in our December debate alone than the Democrats did in theirs. After all, that’s what happens when you schedule a debate on a Saturday night just days before Christmas. What’s really going on is Democrats want to hide Hillary Clinton’s career of dishonesty from the public.
“Now Democrats are hopeful that Barack Obama’s State of the Union address will ratchet up some enthusiasm. But lame duck policies like more Obamacare and more solar panels aren’t going to cut it.
“You know, for all the talk about the decline of political partys, Republicans are poised to win at every level this year.
“We’ve gotten more people involved than ever before.
“We’ve raised more money than we have in years.
“We’re bigger, more agile, and better equipped.
“We’re ready for the challenge and we are hungry to win in 2016.
WHAT THE RNC IS DOING TO WIN
“Now as I’ve just mentioned, we’ve accomplished so much these last few years. But we can’t slow down. That’s why we at the RNC have built a revamped data, digital, and ground game operation that will be fully functional for our nominee on day one.
“Today, it’s been over 6 months since we announced our first wave of new state-based hires. And they join people who have been on the ground since before the midterms. At this point in 2012, we didn’t have staff on the ground in the states at all.
“We are the ones registering voters in Colorado, building black engagement initiatives in Ohio, hiring Hispanic staffers in Florida, and so much more. No one else is doing what we’re doing.
“Today, we have an in-house data operation that is fully integrated with our political and digital team, guiding our decision making and empowering our volunteers. At this time in 2012, our data operation was not nearly as powerful as it is today.
“In the spring of 2012, when we had a nominee, the RNC had five digital staffers. Today, with a nominee still to come, the RNC has over 25 full-time staffers in its digital and engineering teams and will continue to grow in 2016.
“Today, we have a full team engaging in minority communities across this country, building relationships and sharing our ideas. In 2012, we had no such team.
“So why are things different? Because in the winter of 2012, we were rebuilding from scratch and getting out of debt. Today, we are building on success, fueled by record fundraising.
“Ladies and gentleman, this is a new Republican Party, an RNC better prepared for a general election than any in recent memory. Ready to compete. And ready to win.
“No matter who wins the nomination, they will plug into the infrastructure and operation we’ve built. Only we can do that. The law says that only the RNC can raise resources and coordinate with Republican campaigns. No other groups, no other PACs, no other organization can do what we do.
“We’re doing all of this so our nominee can hit the ground running with our infrastructure and continue the path to victory in 2016 we started laying out in 2012.
ELECTING A REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT AND BEATING HILLARY CLINTON
“This brings me to my last point. If we don’t win in 2016, we could be finished as a country distinguished by freedom and prosperity.
“That might sound dramatic. But it’s true.
“If we don’t win, we’re facing another four years of feeble job growth, a weakened national defense, and aggressive government by executive order becoming permanent fixtures of American life.
“If we don’t win, what happens to our party? Could we function as a national party in the same way?
“It’s difficult to keep up with the opposition when you don’t have the presidency; I can promise you that. What’s a party chairman going to say in 2017 to our donors and our grassroots if we’re looking at 12 or 16 years out of the White House?
“We have to win. And we’re going to win.
“And we are going to win by stopping Hillary Clinton and presenting Republican ideas and principles.
“The fact is, a growing majority of Americans see Hillary Clinton as dishonest and unlikeable.
“They don’t trust her saying one thing in Nevada and another in New Hampshire on border security.
“They don’t trust her when she dances around the difference between a Democrat and a socialist.
“They don’t trust her when she invokes the 9/11 attacks as a rationale for taking campaign cash from Wall Street.
“And how can she be trusted in the White House if she still refuses to come clean to the American people about her secret email server? You could build the Hoover Dam with all the stonewalling she’s doing.
“Americans know Hillary Clinton is the architect of the Obama administration’s failed foreign policy, which has left parts of the Middle East at the mercy of ISIS.
“She has refused to call radical Islamic terror by its real name.
“And just weeks after the Paris and San Bernardino attacks, she said that we as a country are “where we need to be” on fighting ISIS.
“Concerns about terrorism are on the rise. America is looking for new leadership in dangerous times. We won’t get it from Barack Obama’s hand-picked Secretary of State.
“To conclude, I want to remind everyone about why we are here today. Winning in 2016 is not ultimately about you, about this Committee, or about our party. It is about the America our children and their children will inherit.
“Today is the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He had a vision for the kind of America his children might know. Dr. King spent his life working to make it come true.
“On Wednesday I had a chance to visit the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church here in Charleston. While I’m saddened by the tragedy that took place there last summer, I’m comforted by Dr. King’s message, which inspires us to believe that we – as a nation and individuals – are bound for better things.
“Abraham Lincoln called America ‘the last best hope of earth.’ He knew the American achievement stands high.
“He knew we enjoy a unique legacy of Constitutional government, individual liberty, and economic freedom. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is not just a tagline for a movie or a bumper sticker or a coffee mug. It is our national creed. And we must prove faithful guardians of it.
“One of the greatest but most unheralded Americans of the 20th century was William Knudsen. A Danish immigrant, he started out working in a Bronx shipyard in 1900, living in a boardinghouse. He had humble origins, but Knudsen knew that if he put enough sweat equity into his job, America promised limitless opportunity. Knudsen developed his talents for industrial engineering. By 1937, he had become the President of General Motors.
“In 1940, the government asked Knudsen to lead the conversion of America’s industrial sector into a wartime operation. In exchange for serving five years in this massive, stressful, and time-consuming job, Knudsen was paid $1 per year.
“Knudsen wasn’t in that job for the money. It was the duty of keeping America free from tyranny that motivated him. Knudsen set aside the job of leading one of the largest companies in the world. But he did it to help save the world.
“At the end of the war, Undersecretary of Defense Robert Patterson, a man with a reputation as a tough guy, wrote to Knudsen, saying, “To me, you are the great American. You have never done anything for yourself, only for your country. You have never spared yourself.”
“Free enterprise. Belief in the American opportunity. Sacrificially putting country first.
“Those values are under assault from Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama and the rest of the Democrat party.
“It is up to our party to protect our freedoms, keep America safe, and grow opportunity for every man, woman, and child.
“Let’s join together to keep our party strong in the states, preserve our majorities in the House and the Senate, and put a Republican president back in the Oval Office.
“I’m looking forward to the year ahead with you.
“Let’s not spare ourselves.
“Thank you, and God bless.”