From NBC's Wendy Jones
The incoming general chair of the Republican National Committee, Sen. Mel Martinez (R) of Florida, spoke with White House reporters after meeting with the President this afternoon. Martinez stressed that he would continue to serve the people of Florida as their Senator, and noted that Mike Duncan would run the RNC as day-to-day chair. He further noted, "It's a time in history when the party ought to return to big ideas." He said he "made clear" that he "was not going to be an attack dog and... wasn't asked to be one."
Martinez on the new Congress, in which he will serve in the minority: "We need to show that we can be a respectful minority... My job is to make sure our message is heard." Asked about immigration, he defended the White House/Senate proposals: "The Senate bill is not a bill that [supports] amnesty... A bill that had requirements for people to return home or pay penalties and fines and go to the back of the line is far from amnesty."
Martinez will officially be elected general chair at the RNC's winter meeting in January.