BOSTON (Reuters) - Former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich told a meeting of the Republican National Committee that his party needs to move beyond its image of steadfast opposition to President Barack Obama and convince voters its goal is to improve the country.
"We have to get beyond being anti-Obama and we have to convince people you can have hope in America," Gingrich said on Wednesday. "What we have to do, in a sense, is be a party of optimism and a party of hope and show actual cases of how it can work."
Speaking at a Boston hotel adjacent to where Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney delivered his 2012 concession speech after failing to unseat Obama, Gingrich said the party needed to be more alert to ways Americans were changing, particularly in their use of technology.
"What happened last year? Why were so many of us wrong?" Gingrich asked the group.
Following Romney's loss, in which Republicans lagged far behind in support among women and minority voters, some party leaders have engaged in soul-searching, looking at whether some Republican positions have become too conservative to appeal broadly to voters.
Still, Republican control of House of Representatives has given the party a firm position to oppose initiatives backed by Obama's Democrats, and some Republican state governments have pursued more conservative drives, including efforts to restrict access to abortion sharply at the state level.
The gathering - the RNC's regular summer meeting - was originally scheduled to be held in Chicago, but Republican leaders decided to move the venue to Boston in the wake of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three people and injured about 264.
Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Cynthia Osterman