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. jdaniels

    It's nice to see that the RNC paid attention to the last election, the American people were behind them 100 percent, so on the republicans send everyone a message with their vote for the next one. What a bunch of IDIOTS. nice going, you showed us...

    January 31, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. Sharon

    I think it's very important to send this message,I don't care if you are black or white ,if you keep obstructing this bail out because you are trying to prove a point,more than helping the Amreican people which you don't care about anywayyou are going to be changing ninety more chairmans.Stop Being Stuck On Stuiped.

    January 31, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. No Hillary = No Obama

    overrated? I think it's manipulated to enhance one's image – Obama style.

    January 31, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  4. mozartt

    I'm happy to hear that he is familiar with loosing, because loosing will be what will happen to him if he comes up against the President. The RNC make me laugh. First they thought that women were interchangeable, hence Palin for Clinton – good luck with that idea. We all know that Palin has the IQ of a house plant and Hillary Clinton is brilliant. Now they think that one black person for another – is okay!! Well, good luck with that one! President Obama did not get elected because of the colour of his skin, he got elected because he is brilliant – see a pattern here.

    January 31, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  5. A New Day?

    He thinks hes the new movie star from the old "Shaft" movie,what a joke.

    January 31, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  6. tess

    this is the man i wanted from the start and the dems should be afraid because he will teach the country (and the backsliding republicans) what a true conservative is and how if we get back to basics of the republican party we will be the winners in 2010! go chairman steele!!!

    January 31, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  7. Renae

    These Republicans just don't have a clue. They don't realize that the American people voted based on IDEOLOGY...not based on RACE or GENDER. First, Sarah Palin gets picked for VP candidate in a feeble attempt to cash in on Hillary votes. THEN, America speaks and picks Barack Obama and now the RNC thinks they need an African American chairman. Again, it's lipstick on a pig again. No matter what the 'face' of the Republican Party is, it is their IDEOLOGY that is lacking and has been proven unsuccessful time & again. By the way, isn't this the SAME party who had some members distribute "Barack the Magic Negro" CDs???? I thought so.

    January 31, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  8. Abused Voter

    Conservatism is like an abusive husband to Americans. When he is in control, he is arrogant, abusive, and he is contemptuous to other points of view. Conservatives ran the government like an ATM machine for their wealthy constituents and global corporations. They drug us into a pointless, goal-free war in which money was spent and lives were lost, but no real advantage was gained for us. They overspent and most of the money went to a very small percentage of Americans. We are way too far in debt now because of them. They told us that deregulating their corporate buddies would make the economy more efficient and more profitable, but they wrecked the economy instead. They are like the teenager who took the family car on a joy ride and drove it through the neighbors fence and into the neighbor's swimming pool, where it sits now underwater.

    After that astounding string of failures, we threw Conservatism out of the house. Now Conservative leaders are telling us that they have reformed. They lost their way, but now they have come to their senses. They want us to let them back in the house and back in charge of our lives.

    Conservatism has given me too many black eyes for me to forgive him now.

    January 31, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. ladybug

    Mr. Steele, you are off on the wrong foot. Bashing President Obama will cause a backlash you have never thought possible. You just made it easier for Democrats in 210 and 2012. We thank you. One day, you republicans will learn how to "listen". We voters are not ignorant and detest having our intelligence insulted by republicans, who are for the rich and well connected only. You wouldn't know a "kitchen table" issue if it introduced itself to you. You are a looser before you start.

    January 31, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  10. d. guardino

    Sounds like the Republicans are doing the same thing with Steele that they did with Palin. They thought that Palin being a woman would sway voters. t won't work. A Republican is a Republican!

    January 31, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  11. jason, tx

    what a jerk. let the obstruction begin

    January 31, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  12. Zion

    Steele, I need to specifically know why you oppose the bill, and what you would do differently. I need to understand how investing in health, education, and energy is a redistribution of the wealth. I also need to understand how giving the real hard workers of America a tax break, a sign of redistributing wealth. You do know how to lose elections, and from this message, this is what the GOP will continue to do.

    January 31, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    What a jerk.

    January 31, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  14. Philly Gal

    I hate to break it to you, Mr. Steele, but as a small business owner, I've been paying huge taxes over the last 8 years and I haven't seen any budget balancing going on in Washington. We've the largest deficits in the history of this country on the GOP's watch. It's too late to play the "fiscal responsibility" card. And while you're at it, 86 the sharecropper's daughter/son card too.

    January 31, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  15. Mavericky

    GOP just don't have good ideas do they? They counter Hilary with Palin, and Barack with Steele. SERIOUSLY! They really think people can't see though that.

    January 31, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  16. Duke

    This guy is an idiot. Hopefully, the republicans will nominate Sarah Palin as their presidential nominee in 2012, and this clown will be her vice president.

    January 31, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  17. Wes

    I've said it over and over again! As long as our currency of this country is owned by the federal reserve nothing will change. WE CAN'T DO IT!!! The family trusts of the Rothchilds , Rockefellers , Warburgs and the Mellons and dozens of corporations that own our currency are in control we are doomed. It's unfortunate but everyone works for them including the President of the United States and even he can't change it! Just google "current ownership of the federal reserve " and look at the family tree. People from all over the planet own our money which is worthless. These people have been making trillions of dollars off of every WAR since the Revolutionay war right up to Iraq. If you've got the nerve go check it out!
    Wes

    January 31, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  18. Michael

    Glad to see the Republicans continue down the path of partisanship and mockery. Do they really have that hard of a time getting it?

    January 31, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  19. willcnnpostthis?

    Republicans have learned nothing!

    January 31, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  20. Mark

    Do taxes exist at all, for anything? Yes? Then guess what... wealth is being redistributed!

    The bogeyman scare tactics are so 2001.

    January 31, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  21. Barack H. Obama 100%

    I hope the RNC soon realizes they have made a huge mistake by putting a CRAB in a BUCKET in charge of their party which will sooner than later become a regional and marginalized party.

    January 31, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  22. paul

    As long as the political parties continue on the course they are presently following nothing will change.
    What this country needs is some new blood in every position from the state level through every position in Washington.
    Rid government of all the corruption and pandering to special interest groups and go back to the rule of law and order and the will of the citizens as the constitution calls for!

    January 31, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  23. Fritz

    The RNC is all about themselves and really does not care about America or the American people. Rather than trying to help design something that will work, the RNC would prefer to obstruct any progress on the economy and just focus on elections and power.

    January 31, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  24. Green

    Well, here we go again…let’s go for the cheers and cheap shots to become popular among a group of thieves. Mr. Steele if you in the business of winning elections. It would not have taken SIXTH ballots for you to win. Let’s try and get our country rolling again, by providing jobs and growth. We must be honest. It was the policies and lack of leadership from the former President (GWB) that got us into this mess…but jumping into bed with “Regional” politics of the House is not the answer. By the way when your mother was balancing the budget, did you offer to help? The Democrats will still have the majority after the next election and you will become a “good” footnote in history. Oh…Congratulations on your victory.

    January 31, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  25. Valerie Voter

    So is he saying that he would like to see more people in the same situation as his mother? Or that he wouldn't help her if he had some money to spare? Since when is redistribution of wealth only good if the wealthy benefit or when CEO's take tax payer money to give themselves bonuses millions of dollars greater than the average worker salary? He and other republicans are missing the point for the sake of defending policies that didn't work for the wealthy either. I'm sure there are many wealthy people who have been hit hard by this recession/depression as well.

    January 31, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
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