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MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 03: Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (L) and his choice for running mate, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Four years ago, as a senior adviser to Sen. John McCain, Steve Schmidt made the fateful decision to push Sarah Palin for VP.
As everyone knows, that didn't go according to plan.
But Schmidt's services as a Republican strategist continue to be in hot demand, as does his opinion on the choice of Paul Ryan to be Mitt Romney's running mate.
On future of the Republican party in California:
"I think the Republican party by any objective measurement in the state of California has collapsed. It's ceased to function as one of the two major political parties. It's teetering on the verge of being super minority status in the legislature where democrats control 2/3 of the vote. There's not a single statewide elected official. The party has become a small ideological clubhouse that congregates twice a year at California state conventions that have as much relevance to what's happening in the state as does activity in the Alabama Republican party."
On what the Republican party needs to appeal to more voters:
"You've not had a modern Republican candidate outside of Arnold Schwarzenegger that has been able to appeal to independent voters in the state. When you do have good candidates like Meg Whitman or Carly Fiorina, the brand is so toxic. For example with women, with Latinos, across the spectrum. There's going to need to be a renaissance and someone who runs as a new type of Republican."
On the future stars of the Republican Party:
"If Mitt Romney is elected President or not, I think it will have very little bearing on what goes on on politically in California. The state that voted for Ronald Reagan or George Bush in 1988 is not even remotely theoretically competitive. All of it's electoral votes are already decided. They will vote overwhelmingly for Barack Obama. The rejuvenation will have to come from within the state, it won't come from without the state."
On California's influence on the GOP:
"California may well be the first state where you see a legitimate third party candidate who is running as an independent who is able to come in and place ahead of the Republican candidate in the open primary system for a gubernatorial race and ultimately face off against Jerry Brown. I think that is much more likely an outcome than you seeing a Republican governor in the next cycle."
On the pro-choice vs. pro-life issue:
"A Republican who is going to compete state-wide in California is going to be someone who is at odds with the national party. The reality is it's very difficult to see how someone who is not pro-life becomes the nominee of the Republican party, and its almost impossible to see somebody who is not pro-choice get to be elected to be Governor of California."
On the future of the GOP in California:
"If you want a long moment of silence you can go to a gathering of Republicans in California and say, who is the candidate on the bench who is an up-and-comer who can reinvigorate the party and you'll be met with stone cold silence. There's no one on the bench and there's no one on the radar screen."
Steve Schmidt, republican strategist