Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist and former campaign adviser to Sen. John McCain, tore into GOP leadership in the wake of President Barack Obama's victory on Tuesday, urging them to speak out more aggressively against the most extreme voices in the party.
"Now, people calling for revolution and these extreme statements -- when I talk about a civil war in the Republican Party, what I mean is, it's time for Republican elected leaders to stand up and to repudiate this nonsense, and to repudiate it directly," he said. "There has been a culture of fear and intimidation, that you are not a real conservative if you won't, you know, if you won't, you know, stand -- if you stand up to these extreme statements, whether it's Rush Limbaugh calling that young lady a slut or a hundred other examples over the last four years."
Controversial statements by Republican candidates became devastating campaign issues in a number of races this year. Senate elections in Missouri and Indiana in particular were rocked when the GOP nominees made eyebrow-raising remarks about rape. Missouri Rep. Todd Akin and Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock lost, but not before forcing party officials to make tough decisions about continuing support of their candidacies.
Schmidt has been happy to run against the Republican grain as Election Day approached. Earlier this week, he claimed that popular GOP arguments about alleged widespread voter fraud were simply part of the party's "mythology."