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. Bruce

    "The constitution was written to support spirited partisan debate (which does NOT imply uncivil!), with voting rules to settle the score."

    You've got to be kidding the Nation, during Reoublican control of the Houses of Congress, 80% of Democratic amendments... DIED in committee's, under this civil republic rule, so read the congressional record, before implying democrats were uncivil.

    When some rubber stamps and stream rolls you, for siv straight years, your going to get sharp and teasty, but now the shoers are different feet and, were trying to do th9is, in a by-partisan manner, but if you want to play gotche, you haven't sseem gotcha yet.

    January 31, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  2. A Really Conservative Realist

    Wow...you are really good at taking the Lord's name in vain. And it is only getting old to lazy folks.

    January 31, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  3. Streamwood Bill

    Oh well, so much for "Country First."

    January 31, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  4. ttofast70@comcast.net

    Stupid is as stupid does. What a bunch of dill holes.

    January 31, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  5. Rae

    Well, here we go. America First.

    In 2004 the bottom 90% of Americans had 23% of the wealth. It is probably less now. We pay a hell of a lot more than 23% of the taxes. But don't touch the money that belongs to those in the top 10%. That would be socialism.

    Just socialise their losses. That is all they ask.

    January 31, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  6. Michael

    "Now that the Dems have won, they insist on having bipartisanship? During the last 8 years the Dems waged the most hateful, mean-spirited and divisive campaign the country has ever seen against President Bush, with an accommodating and enthusiastic media."

    And how many times did Bush and the Republicans reach out during those eight years? Have you already forgotten Hastert's pledge that no bill will come before the House without the support of "a majority of the majority?" You want to be shut out of the process then? FIne, with 60 Dem Senators (soon enough) and 255 Dem Congressmen, you may get your wish soon enough.

    January 31, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  7. Kenneth Rashid

    It is clear that the American people want a bipartisan government. Steele's remarks, just like the Republican Party, is heading in exactly the wrong direction. Is opposition the only thing the Republicans are capable of? I never cared for Mitch McConnell before, but he is beginning recently to look more rational than any of the other party members.

    January 31, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  8. FreeNLovIt

    Same Yugo Engine, just different cover

    January 31, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  9. James

    This guy is scarily stupid.....makes Palin look like a Mensa member.

    January 31, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  10. vanessa the stay-at home mom

    This man actually beleived at one point that Palin would be our vice-President. He is a token for the Republican party. They want to use Steele to throw salt on everything President Obama does so the "race" issue is never a question. THE Republican leaders in this country are sad !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 31, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  11. Kevin

    More of the same from the Republicans. I wish I could say I'm surprised.

    January 31, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  12. V.B.

    Seriously, Earth to Republican party heads.....you are still, even after the defeat of these elections, so utterly clueless....forget about winning back seats, you guys will be lucky to hold on to the ones you have...

    January 31, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  13. Neal

    And the RNC says, see we get, look our leader is black too!

    January 31, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  14. tina

    TOKEN..........PLAIN AND SIMPLE.....................WHAT DOES THE REAL PARTY LEADER LIMBAUGH HAVE TO SAY.................

    January 31, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  15. yoyolite


    January 31, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  16. Taylor B1

    What a sad sack...the GOPs are so desperate and transparent in their pandering to voters whom they have driven away. Does anyone think that they would have selected Steele if Hillary had been elected....or McCain? Hey, GOPs, get a clue...it isn't the color of skin of your spokesperson that matters...it's what you have to say, and Steele has the same old tired stuff and talking points that all the GOPshave been handing the voters for years.

    January 31, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  17. NYFN08

    Mr. Steele, it's a good thing you come in with experience in losing elections. With your current attitude, you and the "new GOP" will gain tremendous experience going forward. Keep it up!

    January 31, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  18. Pgoody

    Jacque Bauer, your post is as fictional as your name.

    January 31, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  19. Bri

    Shame on you Mr. Steele. The millions of people who have lots their jobs and need help aren't the enemy, and they certainly aren't mooches as you seem to be implying. Those are our cousins, mothers, and neighbors you are demeaning. Those are Americans you are choosing to throw to the wayside for the sake of political posturing and winning elections.
    A true leader takes care of his people. You sir, are no leader; just another political hack who sold his soul for a buck.
    I pray that God forgives you sir, but I hope that history does not.

    January 31, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  20. lorenzo starks

    jac bauer bush was the worst president the country has ever seen.

    January 31, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  21. David

    Just the right person to rescue the most divisive, close minded, greedy party in country, Go Steele Go Steele...

    January 31, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  22. robgart

    whiny whiny whiny

    January 31, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  23. B

    It means it's healthy to have arguments and differing points of view and not be a lame duck party. Bipartisanship is an admirable ideal but you don't honestly expect that everyone will just hold hands and sing camp songs do you? Get real and keep your head out of the clouds because when it comes down to the floor it's business as usual. What is best for the country is different in everyone's mind.

    January 31, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  24. el jack

    If the Republican party keeps this up, they will lose the next generation of voters as well.

    January 31, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  25. ...

    I hope the Repubs continue with this new message of "let's bicker with the Democrats for no good reason while the people continue to suffer." This will ensure Democratic rule for the next 20 years.

    January 31, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
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