Republican Leaders to Launch Outreach Initiative to Revive Party Image

In an effort to revive the Grand Old Party's image, congressional Republican leaders are launching a series of forums and town hall meetings to engage the American public in policy discussion.

The outreach initiative -- known as the National Council for a New America (NCNA) -- is set to include a blue ribbon panel of well-known Republicans like Arizona Sen. John McCain, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

The first event will be held Saturday at a town hall meeting in Northern Virginia, a suburban region that went for Obama in the presidential election -- helping him become the first Democratic presidential candidate since 1964 to win the state.

Topics will cover the economy, education, energy, health care and national security.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, one of the leading architects of the effort, told FOX News Thursday that the program's objective is to "forge new solutions" and "engage again and empower the people to become part of the process."

"All the ideas shouldn't come from Washington," said Cantor.

Republicans behind the effort told FOX News that the initiative is also meant to counter President Obama's portrayal of the Republicans as "the party of 'No.'" The forum, they say, will look to undo any public perceptions of the party as intolerant to new ideas.

"Our brand has been tarnished," House GOP leader John Boehner said Thursday.

"We need to stand up to the administration when they're moving questionable policies. ... It's important to have a dialogue with the American people," Boehner said.

But Cantor said the effort is "not meant to be exclusive." And a letter penned by Republican congressional leaders on Wednesday says the outreach is "not a Republican-only forum."

"This forum will engage in a conversation with America that seeks to remove ideological filters, addresses the realities we are confronting, and speaks to the challenges our citizens are facing," Republican leaders John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mike Pence, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, John Carter, Pete Sessions, David Dreier, Kevin McCarthy, Roy Blunt, Mitch McConnell, Jon Kyl, Lamar Alexander and John Cornyn wrote in the letter.

"The NCNA will bring together citizens from across the country to begin a dialogue with the American people through a series of forums, town halls, and an online effort that will engage people in a discussion to meet our common challenges and build a stronger country through common-sense ideas. The NCNA will be a dynamic, forward-looking organization that will amplify the common-sense and wisdom of our fellow citizens through a grassroots dialogue with Republican leaders," the letter said.

FOX News' Carl Cameron contributed to this report.