RNC Condemns NSA Surveillance While Vowing to be the Real Party of Fairness

WASHINGTON -- The Republican National Committee highlighted projects to draw in more women voters at its winter meeting in Washington and passed a new package of policy statements including a call for the cessation of National Security Agency surveillance programs.

The 168-member committee also approved a rule aimed at penalizing states that try to "leapfrog" one another by conducting presidential primaries before March 1, a move that RNC chairman Reince Priebus called "reforms to put Republican voters, not the liberal media, in the driver’s seat."

He later called it a "historic moment" in "taking control of the primary process."

Without naming names, Priebus even took a dig at the type of comments that have made negative headlines from Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock on abortion during campaign 2012 to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at the RNC podium Thursday talking about the Dems' communication to women.

"Our example matters," Priebus said. "I’ve said many times before that the policies and principles of our party are sound. However, as we look to grow the ranks of our party, we must all be very conscious of the tone and choice of words we use to communicate those policies effectively."

One person in the ballroom clapped loudly in response to this statement, and a handful joined in.

"We should set the standard for future RNCs – and also set an example for other Republicans," Priebus continued. "We all know the GOP has to get out of our comfort zones and go to places we haven’t been for a while and engage and welcome new voters."

The chairman said engagement efforts mean "getting to know communities where we hadn’t been for a long time, and we’re talking to people who hadn’t heard from us for too long."

"That’s how you grow a party," he said.

Priebus singled out Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), as well as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), as members of Congress who have been thinking outside of the box on policy and outreach.

"I’m glad to see friends like Rand Paul going to Detroit to support the party’s efforts there. Likewise, I’m glad to hear Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, Rand and others taking up difficult issues, sharing Republican ideas on how to fight poverty in this country—a problem that has gotten worse under Democrat leadership and this administration," Priebus said.

"They each have their own approaches. But at the end of the day, expanding opportunity is always the focus. And that’s what we stand for as Republicans. The issue of income inequality is best addressed by ensuring equal opportunity for all."

The chairman said the GOP needs to seize on the fairness doctrine message pushed by President Obama, expected to be his main theme at next week's State of the Union address.

"When we make sure people have equal opportunities – in education, in the job market, in health care – we can all end up better off. That’s the right approach. And that’s what’s fair," Priebus said. "I think that’s what Americans expect from their leaders. Fairness. We’re about that as a party, too. It’s not fair to voters when leaders they trusted lie to pass their agenda."