Reince Priebus Thinks Hillary Clinton's Gaffes Make Her A Bad Politician — But He's Had Some Gaffes Himself

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 24: Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus speaks at the annual RNC winter meeting January 24, 2014 in Washington, DC. Significant changes in the Republican party's nominating process and national convention schedule are being discussed at this year's meeting. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Source: Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images

It's that time of year again, when pumpkin spice lattes are everywhere and so, too, is Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. With just a week to go until the midterm elections, the GOP representative has been appearing on news stations left and right — it's hard to miss him. (If only we missed him!) In this election season, the RNC chairman isn't so much plugging his party's accomplishments as he is taking down the Democrats, using the GOP bingo phrases "Obamacare," "un-American," "Ebola" and "scare tactics." But in a Monday interview, Priebus criticized Hillary Clinton for being "a caricature" — add that word to the bingo sheet — of a politician, too out of touch to know what she's doing anymore. 

The phone interview with Newsmax TV, posted on Monday, focused on Clinton's recent speech at a campaign stop for Massachusetts gubernatorial Democratic candidate Martha Coakley. Clinton made an unfortunate gaffe, saying: "Don't let anyone tell you it's corporations and businesses that create jobs." She went on to criticize trickle-down economics, claiming it has "failed spectacularly."

These accusations didn't sit well with the Republican Party, which tends to build its platforms around corporations and purported job creation. So, Priebus had something to say about. He told conservative commentator Steve Malzberg:

First of all, I think [Clinton's] trying too hard and she's not really good at this stuff. ... I gotta tell you, I think she's bordering on becoming sort of a caricature of someone who's on the outside looking in.

Priebus believes Clinton is doing some play acting lately, trying to emulate progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). "It's pretty obvious, and she's trying really hard," Priebus said.

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The RNC chairman admits that he doesn't know if Clinton was serious during her Coakley campaign speech, but if she was, then Clinton "doesn't understand capitalism and democracy in a way that business and jobs operate." 

Later in the interview, Priebus again asserts that Clinton "isn't really good at politics," "not careful politically," and "not ready for prime-time." Her book tour was also a "disaster." (Did we get GOP bingo yet?)

To be sure, there is much room for debate about Hillary Clinton's possible presidential candidacy, and the comparison to a poor man's Elizabeth Warren are not entirely off-base. Although Warren has stated again — and again and again — that she's not running for president in 2016, pundits have propped Warren up as the most viable challenger to Clinton, most likely because of her visibility. And though she's considerably wealthy now, Warren has a more "bootstraps" sort of tale, having come from a working class Oklahoma family and working herself through law school as a young mother. 

But the comments from Priebus are also rich, considering they're coming from the chairman of a party who, at this point, has no viable candidate for the 2016 election — and certainly, no contender as strong as Clinton. Of course, the accusations about Clinton being "not really good" as a politician are also coming someone who's "not really good" at being a spokesperson for a party that desperately needs to win votes from women.

Just a day before he was interviewed on Newsmax TV, Priebus stepped in it with Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on CNN. In a cross-conversation with anchor Candy Crowley, Priebus tried to side-step Schultz's accusations of GOP "extremism," with Colorado House candidate Cory Gardner used as an example. "[Gardner sponsored a bill] that would prevent women from being able to get access to make their own reproductive choices even in the case of rape of incest," Schultz said.

Priebus avoided the GOP's platform of repealing reproductive rights by comparing Schultz's criticism of Gardner to... Charlie Crist and strip clubs. Or something:

What about the fact that Charlie Crist, it was discovered the other day, has been taking thousands of dollars from strip club owners he asked? Is Debbie going to call out Charlie Crist on that?
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When Crowley later posed that maybe the Republicans aren't the only ones leading the "War on Women," Priebus said: "No, women are worse off today then ever been under this president." Oy. That's why women overwhelmingly voted for President Obama in 2012, creating the biggest gender voting gap in history, right?

But Priebus' biggest gaffe of late came earlier this month, when he was questioned about Texas' stringent anti-abortion laws on "Meet The Press." Host Chuck Todd asked the chairman why Republicans "don't like a lot of regulations on businesses, except if the business is an abortion clinic." His response had nothing to do with clinic regulations, or the closure of 80 percent of Texas' abortion clinics:
The fact of the matter is that we believe that any woman that's faced with an unplanned pregnancy deserves compassion, respect, counseling, whatever it is that we can offer. The issue for us is only one thing, and that's whether you ought to use taxpayer money to fund abortion. That's the one issue that separates the conversation that we're having.

Except it's not the issue of the clinic closures in Texas, or any other state — but "no taxpayer money to fund abortion" definitely wins GOP bingo.

Images: Getty Images

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