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. nick

    Mr Steele, were not these two "christan men" supported by the "christan rightwing" of your party? I don´t believe it was that long ago... So now they are old news and old school... You ,Mr. Steele are out of line and off base. I believe it was just a few weeks ago, that you referred to Gov. Sanford, as a "rising star" in your party. Now you throw him under the bus, and identify other "rising stars". When will this parade of losers end? How much of this "moral values" crap will we have to endure, before you see the writing on the wall? You Mr. Steele are also, "old news and old school"

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

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

    Right ... because your generation of candidates that YOU are trying to groom are the ones that are NOT caught cheating and lying and stealing ..... those are the ones you want to be the future of the GOP.

    July 9, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  3. guesswhats4dinner

    Oh if only the Republicans can promise that Mr. Steele, Palin, Sanford, Ensign, Boeher, and Jindal will be their talking heads for the next several years. Please yes, please keep these guys on the front page and in the head lines, this will only guarantee that Democrats will get to roll out the agenda that we want rolled out. And its not bad on the humor aspect either

    July 9, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  4. Craig H

    Odd that Steele should discount these very recent extra-marital affairs of Republicans as old news when practically the only reason that anyone is still a Republican these days is because they are still outraged over Bill Clinton's indiscretions of 13 years ago. Heck, you can even still buy T-shirts on Republican leaning websites that refer to Clinton's affair, but these very recent affairs by Republicans are "old news" Steele says. Get real, bro.

    July 9, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  5. mark

    You make grooming sound like cloning. You can't guarantee what will happen with human nature.

    July 9, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. Kat

    The Republicans were quick to try and get Bill Clinton impeached for infidelity - now they're trying their darnedest to keep their own adulterous politicians in office and downplay it! Hypocrisy at its best - forget the "party of No," these guys are the "party of do as I say, not as I do." Ridiculous!

    July 9, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  7. RAG

    Yeah. They are Republicans, so its not wrong. Now Bill Clinton is a different case completely....

    July 9, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. Anna, Mo

    Ah yes, the Republican party has so moved on from the sex scandals. In other words, the party of "family values" has swept it under the rug hoping that no one saw what a bunch of hypocrits they all are. Opps, someone lifted the rug!

    July 9, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  9. MaryC

    The Republicans need to find candidates more interested in rolling up their sleeves then dropping their pants.

    July 9, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  10. Rosa Birmingham, AL

    Just wait until news of his affair comes out. Now that will be funny.

    July 9, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  11. videodrome

    What, Mr. Steele is trying to groom the "old white guys"?
    And where does Jindal fit into all this? Another token minority?
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    ROFL
    This dude cracks me up.

    July 9, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  12. LuAnn & Wayne Houle

    This guy should be on SNL. He's actually way more funny than Al Franken.

    July 9, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  13. Blueskys

    Nothing new here they just want to sweep these liars ,cheater crooks under the rug but if they were Obama supporters they would remin d us day after day and want them thrown under the bus thats where these two belong .
    Their so called spouses sure lack a back bone as you cannot call their wife a soul mate with these crooks that belongs to those low life woman that were cheating as well

    July 9, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  14. Pat Dunedin Fl

    Mr Steele Bends. He should not be in his position. He is ineffectual.
    I will never vote for a Republican as long he is in charge. South
    Carolina and Nevada not to mention Vitter before his time has
    tainted the Moral Republican Party. The Party of Lies and Deception!!!!!
    PS Don't forget Larry and Mr Foley with true sexual problems.
    We had a Republican in Florida making dates with men, who also
    was Mr Morals. Voters remember these hippocrites!!!!!!!

    July 9, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  15. Bridgette

    Maybe now they can get off their high horses and realize they are just humans like everyone else. The reality of it is they just don't have morals. And God will always bring hypocrites down. That right wing so called conservative christian should be out here denouncing these guys just like they do everyone else. Still pray for them but denounce them. But because they seem to be hypocrites as well they won't do it. It is funny and sad at the same time seeing these Republicans trying to defend this mess.

    July 9, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  16. Brandon

    Michael Steele is the last person I would want grooming a candidate. I know I could never support Sarah Palin. That's for sure.

    July 9, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  17. Dont blame me

    Steele, it is time for you to stop acting like a democRAT and start thinking like a Conservative.

    First off, STOP appoligizing for everyone else.
    Second, get it in your head that the democRATs are very good at CHEATING and playing DIRTY politics.

    As much as I hate to say it, it is time for the Republicans to drop down to the level of the democRATs and then beat them at their own game.

    Anybody that is for partial birth abortions in my mind is a BARBARIAN.

    July 9, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. videodrome

    Say, homeboy Steele, it is the HYPOCRISY of your party that is the problem.
    "Do as I say, not as I do" – does that sound familiar, Mr. Bojangles?
    IF the Republican party had stuck to it's roots (no pun intented here) of limited government and personal freedom, the party would still be viable. But as long as this party caters to the whims or religious zealots, then the party will be "old news, extinct school".
    And religious nutcases, this U.S. country is NOT founded just to preach Jesus. Go preach Jesus on your own time and your own dime, zealots.

    July 9, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  19. Dennis

    Of course he wants to move on, think about it. However, after years and years and years of a "holier than thou" attitude, name calling, looking down their nose, spouting "family values" (while at the same time enacting policy to hurt families)................guess what? We will not move on.....we are going to insist on the same morals and values that for years you tried to convince people you had a monopoly on. Well you don't and you will be judged by the same measure you wanted to judge everyone else. Live with it.

    July 9, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  20. Erik in Real Pennsylvania

    OK then, Mike. Who ARE you grooming? Who will be the electable 2012 frontrunners from the Republican Party? Cricket...cricket....

    July 9, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  21. ch

    Typical GOP hypocrisy – affairs only matter when committed by Bill Clinton.

    July 9, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  22. jim - chicago, illinois

    How odd... It certainly "old news" and "old school" when Bill Clinton had an affair. Republicans couldn't let it go and squeezed every last mile out of it. I guess they don't like it when the shoe fits so well on the other foot...

    July 9, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  23. carlos

    repugnant reptiles and CONServatives......their family values are exactly what they are....REPTILES

    July 9, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  24. Boytjie

    Does that mean the GOP will be dropping their 'family values' campaigning?

    July 9, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. I can see Canada from my house!

    No, Mike, you cannot overestimate Palin's desire to be at the table. There has never been a more unqualified candidate for national office. As for one of the many other problems the GOP has, namely their elected officials being unable to keep their marriage vows, an utter lack of original ideas and a total absence of a sense of reality, you, Mr. Steele, are contributing to it with every utterence.

    July 9, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
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