The chair, perhaps the most famous chair in political history, stands in the office of a large, nondescript cement building just a stone's throw away from the U.S. Capitol.
That's right, the chair Clint Eastwood used as a prop in his rambling and at times incoherent critique of President Barack Obama at the Republican National Convention is now one of the many pieces of political memorabilia in Reince Priebus' spacious office on First Street in Washington.
The chairman of the Republican National Committee gets the joke; the chair is the first thing he points out to a reporter before sitting down behind his desk to discuss how his party must dramatically rethink its strategy and message in hopes of recovering from the national drubbing of 2012.
The second collector's item he shows off is a yellow foam cheesehead autographed by Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
It reads: "To Reince, from one QB to another, Best Wishes! Aaron Rodgers."
Rodgers might be on to something.
As RNC chairman, Priebus isn't calling the plays: That's up to House Republican leadership and the ambitious GOP governors roaming state capitols around the country. But he is reading the other team and making crucial adjustments to the game plan.
Priebus is also the general manager, responsible for helping build the team and manage the expectations of ownership.
And he has many owners to answer to: 168 Republicans who make up the national committee, deep-pocketed donors who write the checks, grass-roots activists who provide conservative energy, and the lawmakers who have an immediate personal stake in the party's success.
A two-tiered goal to restructure, rebrand GOP
That's why Priebus is developing a political plan he hopes, in the near term, will re-energize his party in time for the 2014 midterm elections, while also developing a long-term strategy to compete among key demographic voting blocs -- Hispanic, Asian, African-American -- that broke so heavily Democratic in November.
To hear Priebus tell it, the goal is two-tiered: restructure the party on a tactical level to match the sophisticated and data-driven efforts of the Obama campaign, and create a communications plan to sell the GOP's message to voters it failed to connect with in 2012.
It's an overwhelming task and it's going to cost money, lots of money.
"I've been meeting with donors since the election in November," Priebus said. "I would say I am pleasantly surprised how quickly the donors who have given so much are ready to build a party that is a year-round operation."
As he reflected on the presidential race, it quickly became clear that one of the most bothersome aspects of the presidential race was the marathon debate schedule.
The primary debates were a point of frustration for some Republicans, who felt the process was controlled by the news media, not the party, in the past election.
"I believe that No. 1, we have to control the debates," Priebus said. "I think that having over 20 debates is too many, and I think we ought to regulate the debates, pick the moderators and get involved in setting the calendar."
Priebus cautioned his comments are not set in stone and he described his ideas in "hypothetical" terms.
One idea he mentioned was instituting a penalty system in which candidates for the nomination would lose a percentage of delegates if they participated in a debate not sanctioned by the RNC.
Dark horse candidates hungry for media attention would likely oppose such a move, but it's unclear if they would have the power to prevent a change in the rules.
The idea of handpicking moderators would also face stiff opposition from the media organizations who foot the bill to stage and broadcast the debates.
Primary calendar needs to be condensed
As for the primary calendar, Priebus said he would like to see it condensed to allow the eventual GOP nominee more time to prepare for the general election.
In an ideal world, he said, the intra-party fight would start later and finish sooner, with the Republican National Convention possibly being held as early as June.
But he doesn't talk about changing the order of the four leadoff primary and caucus states -- Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina -- that have traditionally kicked off the nomination process.