On Thursday night's edition of "The Rachel Maddow Show," host Rachel Maddow welcomed former senior adviser to President Barack Obama David Axelrod, who joined her in a discussion of election 2012 and how some Republicans are now trying to blame the loss on Maddow's network MSNBC.
She began by discussing how the week's two big Republican stories have been President Barack Obama's dinner with some newer and lower-ranking members of the House and Senate earlier this week and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)'s 13-hour filibuster of the nomination of incoming CIA chief John Brennan. Both stories involved people going around the Republican leadership rather than respecting the party's chain of command.
"But in the middle of all that today," said Maddow, "we learned that the autopsy that the Republican Party commissioned to figure out why they did so badly and what is wrong with them as a party, that autopsy is done."
RNC Chairperson Reince Priebus told right-wing talk radio host Hugh Hewitt on Thursday that party heads will be releasing their findings March 18 at the National Press Club. Priebus gave a preview, however, of what the report will say.
The party, said Priebus, needs to work on "controlling the debate process, getting involved in moderators and networks and all of these other issues so that we don't have chaos. I mean, we just can't have MSNBC hosting a debate at the Reagan Library only to have their network make the commentary afterwards for three hours about the debate of the Republican Party. I mean, it's ridiculous."
"We were the reason you guys lost?" Maddow asked incredulously. "We're what needs to be fixed in the Republican Party, seriously? I find this to be excellent news."
She then welcomed Axelrod to the show, who opined that former Gov. Jon Huntsman (R-UT) had it right when he said "it was a failure of strategy and vision, not tactics."
"The problem wasn't the format. It wasn't the venue. It wasn't the commentary after the debates," said Axelrod. "It's what the candidates said in the debates, and that they were responding to the most strident voices in the party who are in control of that party."
The GOP's refusal to budge on social issues, on immigration, Planned Parenthood and same sex marriage, he said, drove many average Americans away from the party.
"That is what their problem is," he concluded. "Their problem is more fundamental than the commentary after the debates."
Watch the video, embedded via MSNBC, below: