WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich opened up another front Thursday in the Republican Party's battle for self-definition and control - and, in process, expressed sympathy for embattled national party chairman Michael Steele.
Reacting to recent reports that some members of the RNC are trying to limit Steele's ability to spend the committee's money without authorization from other party leaders, Gingrich said RNC members "all think they're precious, and they all think they should be taken care of, and they all think the job of the chairman, first of all, is to make the RNC members happy."
Those expectations were part of the reason Gingrich "would not have dreamed" of running for RNC chairman. And Gingrich speculated that Steele "probably has not yet learned the art of massaging the egos of RNC members."
But Gingrich suggested that Steele could still repair his relationship with some members of the national committee. "I hope Steele continues to evolve and grow and learn," the prominent Republican said. "He's had a challenging opening couple of months."
Gingrich's comments come a day after reports that several prominent Republicans including former GOP presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain have formed of a new group designed to revive the GOP's tarnished brand and to counter the Democratic talking point that Republicans have become "the party of no" since President Obama's swearing-in. In a series of town-hall-style events, the group, The New Council for a New America, plans to use the lens of core Republican principles to engage the public in a discussion about many of the challenges the country is facing. The first event is planned for Saturday in Northern Virginia.