|Reince Priebus on GOP Rift: " Debate Not a Bad Thing"|
|Elizabeth Hartfield||Aug 18, 2013, 1:30 PM|
The rifts within the Republican party that have generated headlines in recent weeks don't concern the party's chairman.
"A healthy family debate is not a bad thing at all. And I really believe that," RNC Chair Reince Priebus, told George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week."
"I don't think at a time when we just came off of a presidential election that having a party that is just dull and boring is something that is good for not just our party, but for this country. So I think that these debates are good," Priebus said.
Priebus, who led his party through the 2012 election and will serve as chairman of the RNC through the upcoming midterm cycle, defended the resolution passed unanimously by Republicans last week at their summer meeting in Boston which barred NBC and CNN from pairing with the GOP in presidential primary debates if the networks do not pull their planned projects Hillary Clinton.
"I'm trying to get a hold of a primary process and a debate debacle that, as you know, I've called a traveling circus," Priebus said. "The fact of the matter is I've got to protect this party and our nominees. We don't want a whole lot of 23 debate rounds like we've had before. And I would just say that entities like NBC and CNN that are moving forward with four-part miniseries about Hillary Clinton are not going to take part in our debates."
The future of NBC's program a miniseries titled "Hillary" is currently uncertain. Earlier this week, Fox TV studios, a sister company of Fox News announced that they had decided not to help produce the miniseries as previously planned.
CNN responded to Friday's vote with a statement asking the RNC not to rush to judgment, explaining that it is a "non-fiction" look at the former secretary of state.
"The project is in the very early stages of development, months from completion with most of the reporting and the interviewing still to be done," the statement said Friday. "Therefore, speculation about the final program is just that. We encouraged all interested parties to wait until the program premieres before judgments are made about it. Unfortunately, the RNC was not willing to do that."
Priebus also took a swipe at one of Mitt Romney's top 2012 advisers, Eric Ferhnstrom, in response to criticism fired by Ferhnstrom on Twitter about the GOP's debate resolution.
On Friday, Fehrnstrom tweeted "it's bad optics for the RNC to block CNN and NBC from sponsoring presidential debates. Attacking the media is a loser's game."
"Well, I don't know if his Etch a Sketch is on tilt, George," Priebus said in response- a reference to a gaffe Ferhnstrom made during the 2012 campaign cycle. "I'm not really taking advice from Eric Fehrnstrom right now. "
ABC News' Shushannah Walshe contributed to this report.