Sean Duffy: Fellow Republicans Sometimes 'Come Across As Knuckle-Dragging Neanderthals'

12/17/2013 11:36 am ET | Updated Dec 17, 2013

Former Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) on Tuesday joined the chorus of Republicans urging their colleagues to tone down their rhetoric, comparing some of his fellow conservatives to "knuckle-dragging Neanderthals."

Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Duffy said some members of the GOP need to work on getting their message across more effectively.

"From my perspective, and I come from a very 50-60 district in central and northern Wisconsin, you have people on our side of the aisle that have a really abrasive tone," he said. "We can come across as knuckle-dragging Neanderthals on occasion."

Duffy continued, "I'm a fiscal and social conservative, but we have to actually take our message to where people are at. We have moms that can't pay the utility bill, dads who can't pay the mortgage. How does our conservative ideology and philosophy actually help lift them out of the place that they're in today and move them up the economic ladder? We don't do a good job of presenting that message, and we have to change how we're doing it.”

Duffy pointed to former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's infamous remarks on the 47 percent as an example of this tone.

"A lot of those people in the 47 percent, they're our people," Duffy said, referring to the individuals Romney described as "dependent on government" and therefore guaranteed to vote for President Barack Obama. "And I think that left them out and made Mitt Romney unrelatable."

Since the party's losses in the 2012 election, many Republicans have called on the party to adjust its message to voters.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) has been one of the more vocal advocates for such change, telling the GOP to "stop being the stupid party."

“It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments -- enough of that,” Jindal said in 2012. “It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party. We’ve also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.”

The Republican National Committee also put out on a report on the state of the party following the election, urging Republicans to be more inclusive.

"I think our policies are sound, but I think in many ways the way we communicate can be a real problem," RNC chair Reince Priebus said.

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