RNC chairman asked about CPAC's failed racism panel

The RNC launched a new initiative for minority outreach, shortly after CPAC's ill-fated panel on race

Published March 18, 2013 5:01PM (EDT)

In announcing the Republican National Committee's plans for minority outreach, Chairman Reince Priebus was asked about CPAC's panel on race that went terribly awry, and how Republicans plan to address members of the base who still hold those kinds of views of minorities.

"Question about CPAC last week, where a panel on African-American voters dissolved into a shouting match with at least one activist saying that -- talking about voters being systematically disenfranchised. How, given that sort of backdrop in the party, do you plan to overcome those challenges in your role at the RNC?" said National Press Club president Angela Greiling Keane, reading from a written question, during a press conference with Priebus at the National Press Club.

"For one thing, you have to show up, right?" he replied. "I mean, if you're going to get the order, you have to ask for the sale. I mean, that's just sort of basic. Which is why we're launching this unprecedented effort to bring in -- I'm not talking about hiring two or three people down the hallway at the RNC. What we're talking about is hiring hundreds of paid people across the country this year to make the case in minority communities across America."

"We're gong to be doing voter engagement at a granular, community level, starting now," he added.

The CPAC panel in question was meant to teach conservatives how to defend themselves from charges that they are racist, but devolved when the room shouted down a liberal black woman, and then a different member of the audience implied that the slaves should have been grateful to slave owners for food and shelter.

By Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

MORE FROM Jillian Rayfield

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Conservatives Cpac Racism Reince Priebus Rnc