From NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, Mark Murray, and Abby Livingston
On a conference call with reporters and bloggers, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor and Sen. John McCain announced the formation of a new effort to help the Republican Party take its message on the road and come up with new ideas for the future.
The effort, called the National Council for a New America, will hold its first town hall in Arlington, VA on Saturday, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Other key movers and shakers are Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. McCain also said that his former running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, was contacted to participate.
On the conference call, Cantor and McCain stressed that the council isn't a re-branding effort for the GOP. "This is not a Contract with America," the senator from Arizona said. "This is a conversation with America."
Cantor, the driving force behind the council, said its other purpose is to have this conversation outside of Washington (although the first town hall is just a few miles away) and to have Republicans, independents, and Democrats all participate.