January 31st, 2009
03:12 PM ET
4 years 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. krisdoyle

    Michael Steele doesn't have sense enough to know that he is being used by the Rep. party ( the old farts), to belittle the progress that we have made to date in this country. When they could not win with that densey Sarah Palin, they now choose a Black man as RNC chairman (the very first I might add) to help them combat the African-American president that the country would like to give a chance to work with both parties and help us out of the mess that the Rep. devils from hell got us into. Steele should be ashamed to show his face in the black community again. I have no respect for the man who advances himself by doing the work of the task masters and whip the backs of his own people.

    January 31, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  2. Fitz

    Michael, isn't that what your Party mate Bush did? redistribute the wealth to the top 1 or is it 2% of the wealthy. They got richer didn't they? somebody correct me if I am wrong. During Bush's term, the rich got richer and the poor well kinda went from the 1st floor to the basement. Michael, your party is a bunch of sore losers. The only GOP game plan right now is to oppose Obama no matter what and hope that his stimulus plan fails. Good luck with that.

    January 31, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  3. One vote

    Well, that a good start Mr. Chairman... I am being entirely sarcastic: How incredibly disappointing. Does it matter to you Mr. Chairman what your voters the American people want?

    January 31, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. Jon

    Way to help cure the wounds of the nation RNC!

    If you are completely obstructionist you won't get anywhere in 2 years.

    January 31, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  5. Eileen from Maine

    His mother knew how to balance the budget?
    What if her first husband had stolen everything she had in her savings ? And then she had millions of people to have to worry about getting back to work? Because that in a nutshell is what President Obama is dealing with. Republicans are long on chiche's but extremely short on common sense and logic............................
    Perhaps he believes that the economy is fundamentally strong too and all of the people who are out of work now, should figure out for themselves how to feed their children or pay for their medical needs.

    I am waiting to hear about a Republican who cares about anything other than money and power.

    January 31, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  6. Anna

    Was that the republican party I just saw falling off the cliff? Yep, that's them. I guess they didn't hear the "american public" yelling at them to turn around during the last election.


    January 31, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. Emily

    Yawn. Republicans are all the same–money first, people last. I am always amazed though how Black Republicans or Jewish Republicans or any other kind of minority Republican find it so easy to ignore their party's history of racism, discrimination, and bigotry. Whenever I see a Black Republican or a Jewish Republican I always think that secretly inside they must hate themselves and wish they could be an old rich WASP.

    January 31, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  8. Elizabeth

    Okay then. Hear that Obama? Screw bipartisanship. They don't value it anyway! BYE BYE GOP, we won't miss ya!

    January 31, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  9. TomD

    The only thing that was made clear in this election is the American people OUTSTED the republicans. I can't see how they continue to spin it any other way?? Someone help me understand how 72% of the population backing a Democratic President means that the republican party has momentum??

    January 31, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  10. Get real

    Electing a black man as their chairman is no less a charade than making a woman their VP candidate in 2008. This type of veneer may have had modest success 15 or 20 years ago, but not today.

    January 31, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  11. Enough!`

    What, they didn't get the message from our last vote? I have never voted a straight ticket. I vote for who does the best job and can get things done. WE are tired of all the fighting. YOU WORK FOR US!

    January 31, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  12. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    You see.... that is what its suppose to be like. How one would budget for his own family. The Obamas's shop at J Crew and unknown clothing stores. First Lady's inaugral gown was very simple. Several yards of white material with cotton thrown around her body like an african sarong and...viola! you have a gown. This man sure has his head together and feet firmly on the ground. And I can see why we have a lot in common. Oh yeah babe! Go get em'

    January 31, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  13. datDEMOCRATdus

    Wow i love how the bipartisan efforts are already being shot down by, guess who, the overly-patriotic, it's us against them, we have to fight anyone who opposes our view, Republicans.

    January 31, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  14. Wale

    The Republican Party puts on blackface. How dumb do these punks think we are? First Palin and now this clown... talk about tokenism.

    January 31, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  15. Zardozinhell

    This from a man who has forgotten the fundementals of his roots.

    Dream on brother...

    January 31, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  16. independentvoter

    Heads up GOP, this move ISN'T going to work either. I thought you would learn after Palin, but i guess not. You guys really have start thinking these things though.

    January 31, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  17. Violet

    Anyone think it is interesting that the RNC chose Michael Steele, a black man, as their chairman? He will make a rather nice marionette for the Republican party.

    January 31, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  18. HopeWon2008

    I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree. I don't believe in giving everything to the haves at the expense of the have nots is the way to go. There's a reason why the economy is in such a mess and it's not because the haves have stopped spending money, it's those in the middle and below that have been losing jobs and not spending money. Let's put them back to work and get this country back on the right track. I'm behind my President 100%.

    January 31, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  19. SANDRA


    January 31, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  20. bsmith171

    bi-partisan is when repubs agree with dems.

    it's very simple.

    January 31, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  21. Jennet, Florida

    My dear friend Steele: there is a difference to balance the budget and to own a lot money while you are out of job. If your mom would have a debt to pay next Monday, she would run to your pocket or your uncle's like anybody else, no matter if you're poor, rich, black, white, with degree or without. Please... we are tired of seeing pro-american Palin, simple soccer mom, sitting with her kids around the kitchen table, cooking stew or whatever....
    Obama didn't run as a Black President, he run a smart guy who gave us REAL PLAN...
    Give us YOUR REAL PLAN!!! Stop critizising people....

    January 31, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  22. pb

    Bipartisanship is overrated. We can do fine with Pres Obama and a majority democrat Congress. To heck with those squalling, whining, self serving Republicans.

    January 31, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  23. Ruth

    It is just like the Republican's to pick a black man to fight another black man. They can't do their own dirty work. This fool of course has fallen for it. I hope Obama will school him real good !
    VA Beach

    January 31, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  24. Keith E, Hollingshed

    It is a shame that the RNC has nominated a clueless individual that will continue to lead the GOP to dwindling numbers. They have yet to figure out that this country is at its best when Bipartisan leadership exists. It is called balance, you should never have to much of one thing. It is obvious that the Republican party has nothing left in its political tank.

    January 31, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  25. MyAudacity

    What does that mean?
    1. My mother was a sharecropper's daughter? So what!

    2.She had a 5th grade education and knew how to do a budget? Really? Go figure!

    3. She could balance a budget without taking money out of your pockets.....you Fool, she shouldn't have to rob her son to make ends meet. And neither should the American government have rob it's tax paying citizens to benefit corporations and rich folk, while everyone else suffers.

    You are a golden token boy......

    January 31, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
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