February 1st, 2009
04:20 PM ET
6 years ago

New RNC chief weighs in on future of the GOP

Michael Steele was chosen Friday as the first African-American leader of the Republican Party.
Michael Steele was chosen Friday as the first African-American leader of the Republican Party.

(CNN) –Michael Steele, the newly elected chairman of the Republican National Committee, said Sunday that there’s a number of Republicans emerging who will “redefine this party in a way that will be very good for us long term.”

In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Steele was asked to name Republicans under the age of 50 who he sees as the new faces of the party.

Steele listed Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Steele, who on Friday became the first African American to lead the RNC, said people have moved away from the Republican Party because “we behaved badly.”

“It was about the fact that we failed to lead. We grew the size of government. When we're saying we believed in less government, we grew government. When we said we believe in less spending, we spent more,” he said.

Steele said he thinks Republicans now have an opportunity to turn things around.

“That's my job, is to put good candidates in a position to win. Now, we're not going to win all of them, but we're going to start to win again in important races that matter, and we've got three of them coming up this year,” he said, referring to a special election in the 20th Congressional District in New York and gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey.

“We're going to be on the ground and engaged in all of those campaigns that are going to be important opportunities for us to re-establish the brand for the party, number one, but most especially, reacquaint ourselves with the voters and help them appreciate exactly what we stand for and what we believe, putting good candidates in a position to win.”


Filed under: Michael Steele
soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. Griff

    So you Should! You are the New-Presedent of the GOP... Not the Whole Country; but one Hell of a Chunk...

    February 1, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  2. The people of America

    we hope he leads the RNC into disbanding their party and throwing in the towel. Its time this branch of corporate greed came to an end.

    February 1, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  3. Rorschach

    Chairman Steele –

    Contrary to the popular beliefs in your party, spending is only part of the issue. Your party has got to come to grips with the reality that supply-side, trickle-down economics is at the root of the country's financial ills.

    It looks good in theory, but reality? It doesn't trickle. The money stays at the top and gets spent on $35,000 toilets while the rest of us try to find a job that pays enough to support a family.

    Tax cuts sound good on the surface too, but the catch... it's fine to cut taxes on someone else's infrastructure or programs, but don't do it to mine. Like it or not, that also applies to your core audience. Taxes are necessary. We rely on decent roads. We want research to find cures for disease. We need an educated workforce to survive in the modern world and that means.... taxes.

    February 1, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. OBJ Jr from Raleigh

    You got to rebuild but the country has to get on this major damage created by your party member George Bush and people are not going to forget about it anytime soon so you have alot of work to do alot.

    February 1, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. BB

    I agree with Jindal, but the other three are losers. Ditch the loses or continue the slow burn.

    February 1, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  6. we behaved badly?

    We behaved badly?Dont you mean to say,you out and out LIED.We can never get them to admit their lies,why should we ever elect another republican?And that goes for Democrats too. Maybe its time for a new party or two.

    February 1, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  7. G Turner

    This guy is to black people what palin was to women, an insult. This won't work either..Try new ideas, not race or gender.

    February 1, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  8. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    America heard what the Republican said 8 years ago and America saw what the Republicans did with their opportunities.

    Why should we believe them now?

    February 1, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Sarah Palin as a face for and of the new Republican Party? Seems thanatos (the death instinct) is at work here. Duh ... don't these people get it?

    February 1, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  10. Angie

    Steele said he thinks Republicans now have an opportunity to turn things around.

    “That's my job, is to put good candidates in a position to win. Now, we're not going to win all of them, but we're going to start to win again in important races that matter, and we've got three of them coming up this year,” he said, referring to a special election in the 20th Congressional District in New York and gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey.
    _______________________________________________________
    I see he is on drugs like rush. I don't think a repub has been born yet that turn that party around. they just don't get it. they have become a laughing stock of the policital world. a joke a BIG JOKE.

    February 1, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  11. Derek

    If Mark Sanford is going to be one of the emerging leaders of the GOP then I might be able to stop hating them. Cheers to Steele if he follows through on that one.

    February 1, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  12. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Yawn.... could they be any more obvious in the rise from obscurity of Palin and Steele to PROVE to Americans GOP is not a party of old rich white men? What BALONEY....

    February 1, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  13. Mountain Jeep

    OK, so now Mr. Steele is "apologizing" for the actions of others in the past. Well,... OK. I can accept that. Now, let's get ALONG with the others in the house and see some action for the AMERICAN people instead of playing GAMES! Quit beating around the "Bush" [who is now history in which future generations will write what they want about this era] and get on with preserving America and g"r"o"w"ing>>> forward... Americans are growing weary of "inaction". 2010, the newer era of government. Don't get left behind.

    February 1, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  14. New Day

    Good for republicans. Man, it's a pretty sucky time to be a racist, huh?

    February 1, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  15. Tommy

    They really need advise from the younger generation. They just don't get it!

    February 1, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  16. Chris E

    Do he think he can be a better leader for the RNC. I hope he have his mind right because he is dealing with people who only see one thing and that is their way is the right way.

    February 1, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  17. me too RNC chairman says RNC needs me too as well

    well, the one party system is a coming and might be good or bad, but the lost in the wilderness GOP is on the downward path toward it

    February 1, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  18. Griff

    The Expectations are more with you, than Barack Obama...
    One Reason! History knows more about you... "Barack Obama" has too-many Skeletons. What's in a Name???

    February 1, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  19. Don in Albuquerque

    Good luck! After saying bipartisanship was over rated. What a joke this guy is. Bet he cannot make it 30 days without saying something else stupid.

    February 1, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  20. Adrian Veidt

    Yeah, good luck with that. If you think the likes of Palin and Jindal are a bright future... don't expect to win to many elections.

    February 1, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  21. Peter Wolfe

    Steel the leader might be a new face but like Barack Obama has no substance. He is merely a symbol and has already been beaten by Colmes on Fox News for God's sakes. I think there is a biased opinion that african americans and other minourities in America have a debt to be paid by us the tax payers because of past greviances towards thier ethnicities.

    February 1, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  22. Coherent1

    "Steele was asked to name Republicans under the age of 50 who he sees as the new faces of the party.

    Steele listed Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin."

    Wow. You're just not going to get it. You're still telling us that the only thing you care about winning and reestablishing your party. You still lack core understanding. Enough with the "build up the party" movement! Right about now, you should try eliminating your partisan tactics, roll up you sleeves and do what's right by the people. Attracting younger faces or black faces or Hispanic faces or Indian faces IS NOT THE ANSWER. Your core values are good. But you use them or mention them only during election time or to tear down others who don't see eye to eye with you. One thing, however, about your core values that I don't believe can change, is your sincerity in regards to people who don't look like you. That new black face you just placed at the forefront of your party is a political ploy. Just like the ploy McCain used in attracting women voters. Your efforts are yet again, a little too late. Now ,get work on this stimulus plan!

    February 1, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  23. lila

    What Steele seems to not understand and what many in the republican party seem to not understand is that they behaved badly by thinking might makes right and punishing people in their own party and beyond who spoke out with strong arm tactics. Palin walks a rigid line and strong arms. She is bad news for the republican party. The republican party needs to learn how to be decent and respectful and not close minded. Tim Pawlenty is a good start.

    February 1, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  24. Razorback

    Mr. Steele is exactly right. When Democrats can credibly run as the candidates of fiscal restraint and responsiblity, it means that the Republicans in power lost their way. And they paid dearly for that. They need to reestablish their brand as the brand of less government, reduced debt and lower taxes.

    February 1, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  25. J. Sweeney, West Chester, PA

    Until the GOP starts to acknowledge the importance of Ron Paul's position to the success of their philosophical argument they will continue to bleed. Right now they are just a meaner version of big spending democrats. By spending money we don't collect in taxes we are enjoying services on the backs of those least represented, those to young to vote (including the unborn). This taxation without representation is immoral.

    When you rally for tax cuts without reducing entitlements or defense spending you are stealing from future generations. You are stealing their economic strength and their right to self-government.

    The agenda of fiscal and foreign policy conservatism is consistent with the values of freedom and self-determination. We can either point to these ideals or we can continue the nonsense of excluding those with whose moral preferences we wish to differ.

    February 1, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
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