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People for the American Way Calls on RNC to Cancel Trip to Israel Funded by Anti-gay Hate Group AFA

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Today, advocacy group People for the American Way sent a letter to the Republican National Committee urging RNC Chairman Reince Priebus to cancel the upcoming GOP trip to Israel funded by the extreme right-wing hate group American Family Association.

Those who follow Towleroad regularly know PFAW's Right Wing Watch blog has been the key player in exposing AFA and its (now-former) spokeshater Bryan Fischer's bigotry. They've also kept tabs on David Lane, an anti-gay, Christian extremist who is helping organize the RNC trip to Israel.

Wrote PFAW President Michael Keegan in part:

“Although we have no objection to RNC members travelling to Israel, we urge you not to collaborate with those who are funding and coordinating this trip. The American Family Association and Mr. Lane have made clear that they view the Republican Party as a vehicle for imposing a U.S. government that is operated by and for conservative Christians, at the expense of those of other faiths and no faith, and those Christians who do not share their particular beliefs.” [...]

The American Family Association also holds troubling views about the role of religion in American government and regularly promotes false smears against LGBT people. Although the AFA recently sought to distance itself from its own inflammatory spokesman, Bryan Fischer, it continues to offer him a prominent platform on its radio network, American Family Radio. And AFA still employs as its governmental affairs director Sandy Rios, who along with other radical statements, has warned that "powerful Jewish forces" are using groups like the American Civil Liberties Union to destroy America and just this week mocked the notion that "God is fond of atheist Jews who occupy the land in Israel."

And if you missed Rachel Maddow's spotlight last night on the AFA's desperate attempt to distance itself from Fischer in the lead-up to tomorrow's trip, be sure and check that out HERE

 


Rachel Maddow Dissects the AFA's Desperate Attempt to Distance Itself From Bryan Fischer: VIDEO

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Last night, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow continued to shine a spotlight on the American Family Association's efforts to distance itself from radio host Bryan Fischer in the lead up to a Republican National Convention trip to Israel backed by the AFA. Maddow, who broke the story of Fischer's firing Wednesday, pointed out some choice quotes by Fischer and questioned why the RNC would continue with the trip in light of the fact that Fischer was being kept on as AFA radio host.

The RNC, for its part, issued the following statement to MSNBC last night after days of refusing to comment:

"We don't agree with Bryan Fischer's comments and are glad AFA has severed ties with him."

Maddow, of course, wasn't buying it and devoted the latter portion of her segment to doing what she does best - taking a magnifying glass to the GOP's longstanding policy of cozying up next to extremist organizations and figures. 

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Reince Priebus Reiterates RNC's Opposition To Same-Sex Marriage After SCOTUS Decision: VIDEO

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Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus today reiterated the GOP's opposition to marriage equality and blasted the Supreme Court for its decision yesterday to let stand lower court rulings that found bans on same-sex marriage in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana and Wisconsin to be unconstitutional. Think Progress reports:

Appearing on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown on Tuesday, Reince Priebus reiterated the GOP’s support for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, before arguing that social conservatives like David Lane and Tony Perkins are “right to be concerned about what’s happened here in this country over the last couple of years.” Preibus also seemed to support Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) push to introduce a constitutional amendment prohibiting the federal government from changing state marriage laws.

“I don’t think [marriage equality] is a top here issue for the midterms,” he said. “I think long term it’s an issue in regard to what we need to do in the country to have a strong economy, a strong defense and a strong society.”

Suggesting that the nation is hurt by same-sex families and quoting men who claim that if gays are permitted to marry “America will ultimately collapse,” is at odds with the GOP’s promise to be more tolerant toward gay people.

Though many top Republicans were notably silent yesterday following SCOTUS' decision, Republican Senator Ted Cruz commented,

The Supreme Court’s decision to let rulings by lower court judges stand that redefine marriage is both tragic and indefensible. By refusing to rule if the States can define marriage, the Supreme Court is abdicating its duty to uphold the Constitution. The fact that the Supreme Court Justices, without providing any explanation whatsoever, have permitted lower courts to strike down so many state marriage laws is astonishing. This is judicial activism at its worst.

Watch Priebus' interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

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RNC Chair Reince Priebus Calls on Anti-Gay Michigan RNC Committeeman Dave Agema to Resign

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Calls for the resignation of Michigan RNC Committeman Dave Agema are now coming from the top of his party.

Agema, the notoriously anti-gay RNC committeeman who, in the past has said that gays falsely claim people with AIDS as their lovers in order to cheat the system and get free medical benefits, and last week said Russia's anti-gay law is "common sense", is being called on to step down by RNC Chair Reince Priebus, the Washington Blade reports:

PriebusSean Spicer, an RNC spokesperson, tweeted on the second day of the RNC winter meeting in D.C. that Preibus as well as Michigan Republican Chair Bobby Schostak asked for the resignation of RNC committee member Dave Agema.

RNC Chair @reince and @MIGOP Chair @BobbySchostak have called for the resignation of Dave Agema

— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) January 24, 2014

Kirsten Kukowski, another RNC spokesperson, confirmed the tweet for the Washington Blade, saying “For the good of the party we believe Dave Agema should resign.”

According to the Detroit Free Press, Priebus and Schostak called for Agema to step down shortly after Priebus spoke to the RNC on Friday at the winter meeting about the need to expand the party’s base of voters.

We'll keep you updated.


GOP Hires First National Youth Director in Effort to Reach Out to Millennial Voters

Elliott EcholsThe Republican Party took its first step in a new effort to reach out to more young voters last Thursday by naming Elliott Echols (pictured right) as the party's first national youth director, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports:

"Today's announcement is groundbreaking," said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus (pictured below). "Bringing Elliot on board in an off-year will help us build relationships with young voters and mobilize students and young professionals to take our message to their peers."

Yet Echols' work will resonate beyond the 2014 elections, Priebus said, noting that "young Americans are independent-minded people who are concerned about getting our nation's economy back on track." Echols, 23 of Rome, Ga, told the Tribune-Review he has goals for his new role.

Priebus"The biggest is to bring young, energized people to the GOP," he said. "There are a lot of young people who are eager to make a change, but they can't change anything if they're not a part of the process."

The RNC's new efforts have also extended to attracting minority voters. In recent weeks, the RNC has hired new heads for black media communications and rolled out an aggressive Hispanic outreach program in Pennsylvania, California, Florida, New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas, and Virginia.

Presumably, these efforts are in response to the party's report released back in March that analyzed data from its 2012 presidential election loss. The report, entitled "Growth and Opportunity Project," proposed ways that conservatives could attract young, gay, women, and minority voters, all blocs that sat firmly on Obama's side during election night last year.

The Daily Kos, however, remains skeptical of these so-called "groundbreaking" developments on the GOP's part:

Basically, Echols's job will be to convince young voters that Republicans aren't anti-gay, anti-immigrant, or anti-21st century, and then, once he accomplishes that, his job will be to convince those same voters that it's just a coincidence that GOP policies are perfectly consistent with a party that is anti-gay, anti-immigrant, and anti-21st century. Then, and only then, will his achievement be groundbreaking, because he'll have achieved the impossible. 

(picture via Twitter)


MSNBC's Thomas Roberts Grills RNC Chair Reince Priebus About Shutdown, Obamacare: VIDEO

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Thomas Roberts got into it today with RNC Chair Reince Priebus over the shutdown and House GOP demands on Obamacare.

“Have you been watching the news?” he said, referencing glitches consumers have experienced in trying to access online exchanges. “At the very least, at this very moment, Obamacare’s not ready for prime time.”

When asked by host Thomas Roberts to explain House Republicans’ unwillingness to pass a clean continuing resolution bill without ties to delays in Obamacare, Priebus blamed the president for refusing to negotiate, before turning the crosshairs on his interviewer.

“It sounds like I’m debating the chair of the DNC,” Priebus said to Roberts. Priebus also advised Roberts to watch Schoolhouse Rock for lessons on how a bill becomes law.

“So we have to capitulate to whatever the president wants?” asked Priebus.

“No, you have to govern,” said Roberts.

Asks Roberts, later: "Is this really what the Tea Party conservatives have wanted all along is to demonstrate the power that they have on being able to 'choke out' the American people?"

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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