Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said that while the GOP is winning on the "math" of the party's policies on jobs and the economy, it's losing the "emotional, cultural vote."
"Look, we're not losing the issues on the math. We're not losing the issues on spending and debt and jobs and the economy. Those are total winners for us," he said Wednesday on MSNBC.
His comments followed the Monday release of an election post-mortem report in which the RNC outlined a path forward to improve the GOP's electoral prospects.
The report states that "it is not just the tone that counts, policy always matters," and while it suggests that the GOP should move on immigration reform and be more open to differing opinions on social issues, it offers few policy specifics.
Priebus said that the report's focus on organization and outreach, rather than policy, was intentional, because the party can manage those things.
"We have to focus in on the areas that the RNC has most control over, and where we have most control over are things like the ground game, mechanics, our data and digital technology, our primary system," he said.
Earlier Wednesday, Steele charged that efforts to expand voter identification laws in certain states would clash with the RNC's focus on outreach.
"How does Reince Priebus reconcile his approach and his agreement with voter registration policies that many in the black community view as anti-black, racist, whatever the term happens to be," Steele said on MSNBC.
Priebus declined to respond directly to Steele's claim, but he did subtly knock the former chairman, who left the RNC $23 million in debt.
"I'm not going to engage in an argument with Michael, but the fact of the matter is you have to have the resources to be able to have an effective ground operation in minority communities," he said.