Republican leaders seek to simplify presidential nominating process

Republican leaders are ready to change the way the party chooses a presidential candidate. After last year's defeat, they say it's time to fix an out-of-control nominating process.

It took more than a year for the Republican Party to nominate Mitt Romney, and that long, drawn-out process was chaotic and often overwhelming for both candidates and voters, CBS News' Jan Crawford reported. But now, she said on "CBS This Morning," the party says it's determined to get more control over the nominating process, giving its next presidential nominee a stronger position heading into the general election.

For Mitt Romney, it was a long, hard slog to his party's nomination in late August. Early Republican primaries, starting right after the New Year, and what seemed like endless debates -- 23 in all -- boosted obscure candidates, and took a toll on Romney before he ever got to the general election.

Now, the Republican National Committee is looking to bring some order to that chaos, so some of the same problems don't play out in 2016.

Chairman Reince Priebus said, "We're going to be more involved in both the debate process and the primary calendar process…but the reason we're doing it is to protect our party and our eventual nominee."

The committee is considering several key changes, such as a shorter primary season -- three months long instead of six, an earlier convention, sometime before mid-July, and far fewer debates -- less than 10.

Priebus said, "I don't think it's a good use of nominees' time and money to spend six months killing each other."

The proposed changes might sound technical, but they could have a big impact. Romney, for example, couldn't touch his general election campaign contributions until he became the party's official nominee at the end of August -- exposing him to months of attack ads without the means to fight back.

He said, "Your nominee becomes basically a duck on the pond until you get to the convention and we just can't have that for the sake of our party or our nominee."

Crawford reported on "CTM," Priebus said the party, of course, has to also nominate a relatable, likeable nominee, but he says people inside the party -- from the grass roots to the Establishment - agree change is necessary so Republicans can, they hope, have the strongest possible contender to take on the Democrat in 2016.