Speaking at Western Conservative Summit in Denver, Colo., on Saturday night, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Republicans lost the 2012 election because of their failure to communicate their message to the American voters. U.S. Sen.
"I hear from people all the time that Republicans lost in 2012 because Americans rejected our message, I think that's completely wrong," The Denver Post quoted Huckabee as telling the crowd at the three-day summit organized by Centennial Institute and Colorado Christian University.
"I believe that Republicans lost because Americans didn't know what our message was," added Huckabee in response to a discussion that began following Mitt Romney's defeat in 2012 about whether the GOP needed to amend its message.
About 2,000 conservatives from across the country are attending the three-day summit at the downtown Hyatt Regency, aimed at evaluating the state of the Republican Party. The conference, which ends Sunday, includes workshops and talks to help participants convey conservative positions in a better way.
Meanwhile, Cruz, R-Texas, who was the keynote speaker for the summit on Saturday and is a potential 2016 presidential candidate, said the Internal Revenue Service needs to be abolished and the federal health care law should be repealed. He also highlighted the need for the promotion of the party's message by its supporters.
"The reason we need your help is because, right now, we don't have the votes. We're not even close," said Cruz.
Cruz later told reporters one of his focuses was to help win the GOP argument nationally. "What Republicans did such a weepingly terrible job of in 2012 is, we didn't win the argument that free-market policies are the greatest avenue for expanding opportunities, for helping those who are struggling to achieve the American dream," he was quoted as saying.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker spoke at the summit on Friday night, highlighting the need for the party to be more optimistic and relevant. "The more they hear our message, the more it becomes their message," he said.
Mayor Mia Love of Saratoga Springs, Utah, also spoke on Friday: "I've often said, 'It's us, the people on the ground level, that are going to raise this nation - not Washington,'" she said. "We need to have the courage to tell people our stories, all of its downfalls and all of its successes. Because I can tell you right now, the liberals are out there and they're telling their message."
About the summit, Centennial Institute Director John Andrews has said, "The idea is we want people to be inspired, informed, motivated and give them some tools for practical action on what is they've learned or resolved during the weekend."