Gingrich: Republicans "clearly have to change"

(CBS News) If the GOP had focused more on ideas in the 2012 presidential election, "maybe we could have won," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggested today on "Face the Nation."

Reacting to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's speech last week to the Republican National Committee in Charlotte, Gingrich recommended "to every Republican" Irving Kristol's 1976 essay, "The Stupid Party." Then "Ronald Reagan came along with Jack Kemp," Gingrich continued, "and they basically moved us back to being an idea-oriented party. I think we clearly have to change.

"I mean, maybe we could have won or not won this year," continued Gingrich, who ultimately lost out in the GOP primaries to former nominee Mitt Romney. "I was certainly wrong - I thought [Romney] would win up until about 5:30 on Election Day."

Jindal was "right on track," Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said during the discussion with Gingrich. "What we need to do is get rid of 'Grand Old Party.' We are the 'great opportunity party.' We're the 'growth and opportunity party.' We are the 'government of the people' party. And that needs to be upon point of view and the perspective we come from and we carry our message forth."

One thing Republicans didn't do well with Romney's campaign, Blackburn argued, "was to penetrate the market place with our message - we didn't have a broad enough basis using social media, using all the different media formats that are there." Gingrich, though, pointed to overly conservative policies as the GOP's 2012 curse.

"When I said as a candidate we're not going to deport a grandmother if she's been here 25 years, we had a nominee who said yes, we would, that she would self-deport," Gingrich said. "I think at that point we lost Asians, we lost Latinos. You can't lose Asians, Latinos, African Americans and young people, and think you're going to be competitive.

"I think we have to come to grips with the reality," he continued. "We have to learn to communicate in the world of young people on their terms but we also have to understand that we need to be a country of immigrants where Republicans are seen as welcoming, hard-working, competent people, not prepared to kick grandmother out."

Appearing later in the program, former Romney adviser Kevin Madden agreed that as the American electorate evolves, "we have to do a better job as Republicans of reaching out.

"It really comes down to this fundamental idea, this principle: Are we going to talk about what we're for or are we going to talk about what we're against? We lulled ourselves into a belief that in the 2010 elections, because we had very good results in the midterms, that we could be a party of 'no' and run against spending, run against deficits. But in order to prosper and become a majority party we have to talk about what we're for.

"Immigration is an example," Madden continued. "What does a modernized immigration system look like and how is it part a larger economic argument, part of the argument of values and families? That is our challenge as part of the rebuilding process going forward."

  • Lindsey Boerma On Twitter»

    Lindsey Boerma is senior video producer for CBSNews.com.

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