January 31st, 2009
03:12 PM ET
11 months ago

Bipartisanship is overrated, says new RNC chair

Michael Steele, the RNC's first African-American chairman, spoke to Republican House members Saturday.
Michael Steele, the RNC's first African-American chairman, spoke to Republican House members Saturday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The new chairman of the Republican National Committee praised House Republicans Saturday for their universal opposition to President Obama's stimulus bill and used his family's own life experiences to justify voting against it.

Click here to listen to Steele remarks Saturday.

"I know we're living in the era of bipartisanship," Steele joked to the House GOP congressmen who gathered this weekend to discuss policy and politics. "I thought it was very important to send a signal, and you sent it loudly, very clearly, that this party, the leadership of this caucus, would stand first and foremost with the American people. You made it very clear that in order to grow through this recession that you not redistribute the wealth of the people of this nation."

The former Maryland lieutenant governor specifically spoke about his mother as he slammed the Obama plan.

"My mom was a sharecropper's daughter with a fifth-grade education," Steele said. "And my mother knew how to balance the budget without taking money out of my pocket."

Steele drew cheers from the crowd when he pledged the GOP would re-take the majority in Congress, beginning with the fight over New York's 20th congressional district - recently vacated by the state's newly-named senator, Kirsten Gillibrand. She defeated GOP Rep. John Sweeney in 2006.

"I'm in the business of winning elections," said Steele. But he also noted that he was unsuccessful in his 2006 bid for the Senate.

"As a black Roman Catholic conservative from Washington, D.C., and Maryland, I also know how to lose elections," he said.


Filed under: Michael Steele • RNC
soundoff (361 Responses)
  1. justin

    You can name a black guy as the head of your party it is still the party of old white men. you can put lipstick on a pig it is still a pig.

    January 31, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  2. Donna Stewart, Kingston Jamaica

    He is NO Obama. Republican chair's hot air......priceless.

    January 31, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  3. scott

    yeah, bipartisanship is overrated just like your ego. im sorry but many of the wealthy have gained their money at the expense of the rest of us. i know this isnt the case all the time, but come on. stand behind the country Mr. Steele. what a fing idiot.

    January 31, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  4. JT

    I can't think of a better selection to carry on the current GOP trend of becoming a marginalized, regional party. The Washington Post described Steele basically as a person without any quantifiable ability to do anything. They did miss his single ability to appear on Bill Maher's show and make a complete arse out of himself.

    January 31, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. Jim

    As a Dem there are still a lot of things I'm unhappy with in the stimulus bill. But how bout offering some alternatives and focusing on the current financial crisis rather than making grandstanding speeches about winning future elections. That's hardly "standing with the American people." While there is a lot wrong with the bill there is also a lot of good. All I've heard from Republicans is complaints rather than alternatives(which I reallt thnk the country could use) Over 100,000 more jobs were lost this week those people won't have to worry about money being taken out of their pocket. They won't have any. Tell me what your mom would do about that Mr. Steele.

    January 31, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. BJ

    Loving this guy already!

    January 31, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  7. lost in moderation limbo!

    Here we go again with the typical "redistribution of wealth" talking points! So what do you call the Wall Street bailout? I for one am sick of these Republican idiots trying to make it seem that they have the solutions when in fact they don't have jack squat! Because if they did actually have a clue they would realize that they HAD CONTROL OF CONGRESS FOR 12 YEARS and spent that time allowing all of their wealthy corperate friends to stuff their pockets with money while telling the American people that the "fundementals of our economy are strong". Look where we are now!! This is proof positive that the Republican party thinks we are all mindless idiots wandering aimlessly around the countryside bumping into things all day I swear!!!!!!

    January 31, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  8. Ernest from MD

    That Mr. Steele is a big loser...

    January 31, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. Nevada dude

    Oh boy, I take it back. I actually thought this guy would help get the GOP out of the wilderness, but it sounds like hes just as out of touch with reality as the rest of the party.

    January 31, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. Flo

    Drawing a line in the sand? Will see how many more of his party agree with him, The people out of jobs should also draw their line and send a loud message to the Republican party in 2010.

    January 31, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  11. Enough Already

    "I thought it was very important to send a signal, and you sent it loudly, very clearly, that this party, the leadership of this caucus, would stand first and foremost with the American people"

    Mr. Steele, we the American people already voted, we do not want you and the Repubs in office! Hello?

    January 31, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  12. Kim

    What a looser.

    January 31, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  13. Ray

    Michael Steele's snarky comment about republicans "not redistributing wealth" to fix the broken economy is almost amusing. The republicans on Wall Street already redistributed the nation's wealth, to themselves when they paid themselves huge bonuses for making bad loans, which broke the economy. The rest of us are just trying to get some of OUR money back!

    January 31, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. Eric

    So no change and keep everything the way it's been for the last eight years? There aren't going to be any Republicans left in 2010.

    January 31, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  15. Patty from Pennsylvania

    I'm not sure I understand Mr Steele's remarks. But it seems to me that he is digging in his heels on the issue of the Economic Stimulus package. It seems to me that we have MILLIONS of people in our country who are now out of work and the government lending them a hand and spending money to create jobs is "redistributing the wealth". I have 3 family members who are now unemployed, I am totally offended by his position.

    January 31, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. Jenna

    New York's 20th district is a Republican district. Prediction: they will win it and then blitz the media talking about a "Republican turnaround." They did the same thing with the Georgia senate run-off. They were already the projected winners in the heavily red state, won, and then over-hyped their victory. To them, perception is everything and remaining in power is all that matters. Effective leadership on the other hand, not so much.

    January 31, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  17. Jay for Obama & Ron Paul

    How can you be against cooperation between the two major ideologies of this nation? I'm glad you certainly know how to lose elections because I don't want your type of Repulicans in the White House ever. I support true Republican values like those of Ron Paul. An Obama, Ron Paul hybrid would be the perfect candidate.

    January 31, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  18. BKrause

    Of course bipartisanship is overrated. That's why the GOP got in trouble in the first place; The leaders of the past several decades didn't think it was a worthy goal...a model amplified over the past 8 years. If we want to remain distant second then we need to heed Steele's remraks very carefully so that we can remain stuck where we are, having now lost the confidence of America and most of the electorate. The devil you know...

    January 31, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. cate

    Wow, this man is really endearing himself to us Independents!! Yes, according to his biography, his mother didn't take government welfare, she just married someone who could take care of her kids (hmm, now what kind of welfare is that called??)...and his sister married Mike Tyson and was abused (hmmm, what kind of family life was she exposed to at home that led her to marry a man who abuses??)...it's a shame because this man will do nothing to help the party recover any seats in the areas he has mentioned...he is also known in government circles as the most disorganized person in Washington, DC (just look at his Senate run where most of his campaign staff left!)...I was hoping that the RNC would choose a strong, honest, organized and understanding leader, however, they chose to go with more of the same...I thought they might get back into power around 2016, however, not now, it will be alot longer...I pray for them all...

    January 31, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  20. Sandra Dee

    Oh, Mr. Steele. Even your GOP Governors like President Obama's plan! So, I think your congressional bipartisianship is showing.

    January 31, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  21. adgo

    Michael Steele:
    He does not recognized who salled and draged him. His empty rehtoric is a slave mind. They did not save him rather put him to eat pig leges. And now he tries to talk about opposing Obama help for the poor. He will be thrown out straight by Rednecks. Believe me !!!

    January 31, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  22. Jake

    Barack Obama is in the business of saving America, Michael Steele is in the business of winning elections.

    January 31, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  23. Terry Woods

    "Bipartisanship is overrated". Be careful what you ask for, you may just get your wish. Based on Steeles logic I should not hear one more republican crying about being left out of the process by Democrats.Steele either is an idiot or has memory loss. The American people saw first hand what republicans do when they are in charge. THEY DIDN'T like it. The republicans are a southern regional party. They continue to believe they can win national elections with a southern strategy. Putting a black man at the head of their party changes NOTHING. They are a 20th century party who feel if they quote Ronald Regans name often enough they can convince people to vote for them. Ideas move people and the republican party is bankrupt of ideas. Saying no is not a strategy. But that is what you do when you are out of ideas out of time and out of the process. I wonder how many republicans know that Steele in his last race for Senate distributed bumper stickers indicating he was a Democrat NOT a republican. He LOST of course because again his ideas where old, tired and outdated.

    January 31, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  24. stacey love

    you finally have your oreo...what a joke

    January 31, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  25. Monroe W. DeVos

    They still don't get it!

    Michael Steele's comment "I thought it was very important to send a signal, and you sent it loudly, very clearly, that this party, the leadership of this caucus, would stand first and foremost with the American people" discounts what the American people are actually saying. The Republican Party's lack of action over the last eight years got us into this mess and now continues with the same retoric.

    The lack of bipartisanship is just a continuance of their policy of exclusion and not listening to we the people.

    January 31, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15