July 9th, 2009
12:30 PM ET
5 years ago

Steele: Sanford, Ensign affairs 'old news, old school'

Michael Steele called the recent extramarital affairs of Mark Sanford and John Ensign 'old news, old school.'
Michael Steele called the recent extramarital affairs of Mark Sanford and John Ensign 'old news, old school.'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele dismissed recent extramarital affairs by two prominent members of his party as "old news, old school" at a GOP dinner in Indianapolis on Wednesday night.

Steele was referring to headline grabbing stories like admissions of infidelity by South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Nevada Sen. John Ensign, and suggested he has moved on.

"That's not the generation of candidates I'm trying to groom," Steele said, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Steele said the Republican Party should get back to its small-government roots and listed Republican governors like Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Mitch Daniels of Indiana of Indiana as "laboratories for the ideas we believe in."

Steele also told a local radio station in Indiana on Wednesday that he wasn't surprised by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's sudden decision to resign her post and said she felt like she was "just a lightning rod for a lot of crazy noise right now." He said this shouldn't affect her potential political ambitions down the road, should she decide to run for president in 2012 - though he said "people overestimate her desire to be at the table."

"I think that's gonna be something for Sarah to decide, not for the pundits and political insiders who think they know more about Sarah Palin and her life than she does," Steele told WIBC.


Filed under: John Ensign • Mark Sanford • Michael Steele
soundoff (144 Responses)
  1. Jim in San Mateo

    Michael Steele grooming? He can barely manage his own affairs let alone anyone else's. Who is he kidding?

    The party of family values has lost those values and doesn't have much to stand on except for vice and corruption which are hardly issues to campaign on. Otherwise the party of no has no new ideas and wants to dig it's head in the sand and hope that this nations problems will just go away of their own accord.

    July 9, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  2. Dee, 1 Vote

    Mr. Steele, As a leader, you must control your party. Are U a MAN or a mice!

    July 9, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  3. Party Crasher

    Did he not just say a few days ago that a 2012 run for Palin was off the table or did he mean off the hook? I guess Rush called him and said that he had not made a decision on Palin yet, so Steele has to try and walk that dog backwards for now.

    July 9, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. John

    Despite the all the virulent and often unintelligible comments that have somehow made it past CNN's moderators (makes you wonder what they're up to, huh?), Mr. Steele is not dismissing these two incidents because he doesn't believe them to be unethical, but rather because his overall goal is to move the focus within the GOP away from the older party members and towards younger, "fresher" candidates.

    One final note: CNN moderators, how on Earth can you allow a comment like that made by "Sarahmadinejad Palinannity" to make it through? At least make an effort to LOOK like you're not a thoroughly biased organization...

    July 9, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  5. Jack in Florida

    They might be old news but they are still immoral......................they both should resign and stop the "do as I say, not as I do" mentality. Republicans are the biggest hypocrites going!!

    July 9, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  6. Micheal, Atlanta GA

    Micheal Steele is giving Chris Rock a run for his money in stand-up comedy!!!

    July 9, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  7. Jason

    None of the guys he listed will be able to beat Obama in 2012. Actually no one in the republican party can beat Obama :)

    July 9, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  8. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Indeed, do not let this person go...priceless!

    "That's not the generation of candidates I'm trying to groom,"

    What is this party trying to do? Create a bunch of pure sheeps.

    July 9, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  9. history repeats

    ahhahahahaha he is funny. anybody notice how jindal dissapeared after his national speech? lol he was horrible.

    July 9, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  10. Frank, FLA

    hes just trying to keep cool ,,,but when your party is nothing but old white and not wise men,,,,,,,,,dude ,,, you are a dope

    July 9, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  11. sms29s

    Oh, yes. That was SO last week. When pray tell does history become ancient history? Five seconds after it happens if it is detrimental to a Republican.

    July 9, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  12. NVa Native

    The Republican Party has de-evolved into lost band of cave dwellers. With the likes of Tom Davis and John Warner leaving there is a big whole in the party. They weren't moderates – they were real people who represented real people's best interests. They stood for a huge group of Republican voters who respected civil liberties and the right to have independent thought. The Buch/Cheney years of Tom Delay and other political bullies waving the self-righteous flag of false patriotism and religious intolerance/arrogance has destroyed the Republican party to the point that all that is left are these empty suits – Palin, Steele, Boner, McConnel, Ensign, Stanford, etc. These clowns can get away with anything because there is no one of any real integrity to replace them. In simplist terms the Republicans are a very shallow gene pool with no inflow with the dry season approaching.

    July 9, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  13. Mike

    Why not file ethics complaints on obama taking his family all overseas at the cost of many millions. After all they went after Governor Palin for a few thousand dollars for the same thing. I guess we should not complain, when obama is overseas he is not spending tax payer money except for his AND HIS FAMILIES travel costs.

    July 9, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  14. happy 101

    You know, these are times I'm ashamed to be a Republican because the actions of these clowns, Sanford, Craig and let's not forget our old pal Peter King is driving the GOP at a downward spiral.

    Michael Steel is more fun than the Jackson's saga....

    July 9, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  15. Felonious Monk

    You can believe, and you can bet on, that if it was a member of the opposite party they would be running all the way to the goal line with this one. But, because it is a member of their party, we should forgive and forget.

    Does anyone know if there is a time limit on forgiving and forgetting? How long after something happens are we supposed to wait before we forgive and forget? What is the longest amount of time we can wait before forgiving and forgetting.
    If Republican, forgive and forget right away.
    If Democrat, never forgive and forget.
    I think that is how the right conservatives want it.
    Preach, preach, preach, preach.

    July 9, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  16. silly rabbit

    So does this mean the GOP will end it's platform of being the party of Famliy Values?

    President Obama taking his wife and kids out, on trips with him and being with his girls as much as he can to me is Family Values, even though some of you right wingers moan about it.

    A GOPer caught in a men's room with his hand under a stall
    A VP candidate with her then unwed pregnant teenage daughter and her self proclaimed redneck father of the baby on stage with her
    A senator with not only his mistress on the payroll but her son as well
    A govenor that leaves the country on Father's Day to go visit his girlfriend

    I guess THESE are the new GOP family values...... but like Steele says that's OLD news.

    July 9, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  17. HJA

    Yep. Old news, old school. Nothing new or suprising here.

    July 9, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  18. Ms. White

    "Laboratories”? .... He is right ...they are all rats locked in a cage...trying to think of "ideas" to continue the "rat" mentality of the repug party.

    July 9, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
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