GOP pollster: There is a party "schism that didn't exist before"
(CBS News) Days after a "fiscal cliff" deal was reached and as the 113th Congress convenes, Republican pollster Frank Luntz called it a "tough week after a very tough two years for the GOP."
Luntz blames a misguided focus within the party throughout the "fiscal cliff" talks for widespread frustration within and towards Congress and Republicans.
"The focus has been on tax increases rather than spending cuts ... 80 percent of Americans want to see Washington stop some of its spending. This so-called 'fiscal cliff' did not do anything when it comes to spending," Luntz said before urging Republican lawmakers to "change the focus over the next eight weeks from taxes to spending."
"There are schisms within the GOP that did not exist before," he admitted, before positing a solution, "if the focus turns from tax policy to spending, I think that you'll find that the Republicans will unite."
"When they're talking about spending, they're on the side of the majority of the American people," Luntz continued.
He also addressed claims that Speaker Boehner's refusal to pass a bill to aid victims of Superstorm Sandy further divided the GOP in the wake of the combative "fiscal cliff" negotiations. Luntz defended the House leader and refuted the barbed criticism from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who attacked Boehner for temporarily abandoning work on the Sandy aid bill and for not taking his phone call.
"Speaker Boehner was trying to deal with these issues of national importance and getting a phone call from a governor ... you gotta get stuff done first," Luntz said.
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