January 31st, 2009
03:12 PM ET
7 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. Rob

    Smells like the GOP "Grand old-ways Party" is back up to its "old tricks again". I am sorry Mr. Steele your mother seems like a nice lady but balancing your personal Budget and a Governmental budge is two different things go back to college and try again. Also don't try confuse the American citizen just as they as starting to wake up and become aware of what has happened in the past 20yrs.

    January 31, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  2. BaRock Says

    yes mr. steele, what is obama thinking, cooperation, BAH! who needs it! anyone got any oreo's?

    January 31, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  3. Carl Lewis

    Why don't the all the no-voters refuse to accept any stimulus money for their states and districts, if they so oppose this plan???

    January 31, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  4. Thomas Jefferson

    Check and see,he may be related to me,the great Thomas himself.That would make him American royalty.

    January 31, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  5. elsie

    If Republicans get ahold of this country again the ecomony will crash, they will start another war and more jobs will be lost while the rich get richer.

    January 31, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  6. Gene

    So giving the sharecropper a tax break would stimulate the economy?
    Maybe Steele thinks we need to get sharecropper jobs back again. He would be a perfect employee

    January 31, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  7. BB

    Seems to me the republicans have always been partisan. That's what put this nation in the mess it's in while all branches were controlled by them.

    January 31, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  8. Willy Brown

    Congratulations Michael Steele. It is too bad that you will be chastised by the party on the left for not staying on the “plantation” like they did to you when you ran for governor. I look forward to the great work you will be doing.

    January 31, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  9. steely824

    who is the braintrust for the gop?i am not trying to say the guy is unqualified,but this is just another spin on the "palin" thing.when faced with a woman,'hey let's geta woman too!' now it's let's get a black guy-then when we don't back the president [who is cleaning up bush's mess,by the way] the public will see another 'black face' challenging him.talk about roland burris-HEY GUY, YOU OUGHT TO HAVE TURNED IT DOWN! now you will go down in history as the black guy used as a gop foil during the most trying time in U.S. history, that is unless you do what is good for the country .bipartisanship is not overrated.

    January 31, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  10. terri sel

    What is Steele talking about – Republicans have already redistributed the wealth in this country over the last eight years - to the wealthiest!
    With his thumbing his nose at bipartisanship – he's the perfect spokesperson for a party that's completely out of touch with Americans. You almost have to feel sorry for them.

    January 31, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  11. shawn olson

    Well now we know the republicans are really going to win-Not! This man is one of the uncle tom's along with Clarence Thomas and Kenneth Blackwell, it sounds like some self-loathing to me. How pathetic republicans are. This is like McCain picking Palin because she is a woman, and we saw how that turned out.

    January 31, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  12. And...

    Actually it's Steele that is overrated. He is going down the same losing path of the Republican party. They still have not learned a lesson. What losers.

    January 31, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  13. Ann Marie, Charleston, SC

    This guy would rather stall and obstruct than get things done?!

    January 31, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  14. julio

    This type of rhetoric is why the republicans lost last year in such numbers. People are tired of the GOP's, Grand Outdated Party, values and behaviors; they don't match. Keep talking and for the next forty years you will still be in the minority!!

    January 31, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  15. Sally

    Aaaah the partisanship and divisiveness begin anew. Same old Republican bitterness and obstructionism dressed up in shiny clothes.

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

    Welll, I hope he gets a lot more practice during his tenure as RNC chair.

    January 31, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  16. JayCo

    This party i(GOP) is not standing with the American people. The American people spoke loud and clear, and obviously you weren't listening. Keep up the attitude and the people will be speaking louder and clearer in 2010!

    January 31, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  17. jaye

    LOL!
    If it's overated then why are all the republicans crying and whining and moaning and groaning about the Democrats and their
    "lack of" bipartisanship?
    You can't have it both ways.

    January 31, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  18. Stirling McLaughlin

    This is the game folks. It doesn't matter how big the dem majority is. The republicans will always act like they have the mandate and the democrats will always act like their hands are tied. I think the best thing we could do would be to give Steele and his friends a quick math lesson and then lock them out of DC for a few decades. Maybe we could send Reid with them?

    January 31, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  19. osmond

    lol uh oh

    January 31, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  20. Sunny Day

    Dear Mr. Steele,

    I'm glad you feel like bipartisanship is overrated. The American people have repudiated your party and rejected your candidates and what you represent. You should be thankful President Obama is giving the GOP a seat at the table. He has earned the right to cram his agenda right down your throat. You wanto to make policy? Win a majority next election.

    January 31, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  21. Bob from Novato, CA

    This all comes back to if the GOP knew how to effectively manage the economy for the long term, they would have done it.

    January 31, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  22. tf

    It doesn't matter what race or religion the Republicans elect, it's the same old tired rhetoric. Do they implant these guys with tape players that all have the same recording? Keep it up...the base loves it, the rest of us think you guys are irrelevant and just don't get it.

    January 31, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  23. Patrick

    Michael Steele seems very competent.

    January 31, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  24. BuleriaChk

    I agree that bipartisanship is overrated, and I am a firm Democrat. Hey, Steele, your party lost and the American people won (finally).....

    May you and your party wander in the wilderness forever......

    January 31, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  25. What's all the fuss about

    I don't use these words very loosely, but in this case I have to say 'Uncle Tom'. Congrats Republicans, you've elected someone who buys in to some antiquated idealogy, the only difference is he's black.

    January 31, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15