July 31st, 2009
04:12 PM ET
5 years ago

Steele: 'I am not afraid to go into battle'

RNC Chairman Michael Steele told RNC members Friday that he is 'not afraid to go into battle.'
RNC Chairman Michael Steele told RNC members Friday that he is 'not afraid to go into battle.'

SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) – Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele called on state GOP leaders Friday to roll up their sleeves and help rebuild the party voter-by-voter, warning them that the Obama White House is already looking ahead to the 2012 presidential election.

"Do you really think Rahm Emanuel is sitting back saying, 'Yeah, you know we got this,'" said Steele, a reference to the White House chief of staff who is known for his bare-knuckle approach to politics.

To compete politically, Steele said that GOP leaders need to embrace new media to spread the Republican message in their states, while engaging in weekend voter registration drives to help grow the party. In return, Steele promised to devote RNC resources to help build the state parties' infrastructure.

"We need to be prepared to move quickly to respond" to the Obama White House, Steele said to the RNC members meeting this week in San Diego.

Elected chairman in January, Steele's first few months as head of the RNC were dogged by controversy. He came under fire for not staffing up quickly enough, and was a lightning rod for critics who questioned some of his headline-grabbing public comments. But in the past few months, Steele seems to have quieted the critics.

The chairman was not scheduled to deliver a formal address at Friday's meeting, but he used the gathering as an opportunity to highlight the work the RNC is doing on everything from fundraising to responding rapidly to President Obama and congressional Democrats. And he pledged to continue challenging the president.

"I am not afraid to go into battle, and not afraid to take the shots that come my way," Steele said.

At the meeting, the RNC also passed several resolutions, including several that condemn Obama's approach to health care reform, cap and trade and use of "czars" to oversee critical issues. Republicans take issue with the use of policy czars because many of them have been appointed without congressional confirmation hearings, though Congress retains oversight authority over their decisions.


Filed under: Michael Steele
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. Debra from Georgia

    Dear Mr. Steel

    I suggest you get rid of Rush, Newt, and Cheney (liz) and you might have a chance against the Obama White House. Then again, NAW, you need to get rid of the entire Right Wing Nuts _Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck and Other. Oh and yourself.

    July 31, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    Steele and the repug party should be more worried about the continuing stories about the quitter from Alaska then President Obama. As long as they keep that woman in the forefront we will be eternally reminded what a dimwit she is and how 40% of repugs think she is president material. (see, yet again from CNN, another article that mentions that no longer public servant).

    July 31, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  3. Grant

    I agree Mr. Steele isn't afraid, he's downright terrified.

    July 31, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  4. virginia for obama

    How about instead of rolling up your sleeves to rebuild the party (which is all the GOP seems to care about ). How about helping to rebuild the country and STOP WORRYING ABOUT GETTING BACK INTO POWER. Sense you claim to be CHRISTIANS then stop acting like the DEVIL and start showing some COMPASSION for a change.

    July 31, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. Independent

    That is all the repubs think about....winning election, they don't give a D......about the country

    July 31, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. Donna from Colorado Springs

    The GOP doesn't have a prayer to get back into power as long as their right-wing fringe lunatics and their "Birther conspiracy" continue to make the entire Republican party look like the fools that they are. With nut jobs like Lou Dobbs, Rush Limbaugh and the "new nut on the block" Glenn Beck chiming in their ridiculous statements, the GOP will continue to fail. Michael Steele will need a very large muzzle to shut those nuts up!

    July 31, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. anderson thompson

    i wish this news company quite reporting on ms.palin this is a complete phoney. everything she is phoney. thank you

    July 31, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. Working Class American

    The first thing the Republicans should do is replace Michael Steele with someone who has a brain! I know that's asking a lot and it might be hard to find a Republican with a brain. . . but maybe if they look really hard . . .

    July 31, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  9. Scary

    I must say that I'm deathly afraid of you, Limbaugh, Palin and the rest of your sorry gang.

    July 31, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "I am not afraid to go into battle, and not afraid to take the shots that come my way,"

    Much like lemmings are not afraid to run off cliffs. Keep them lips a-movin' Mushmouth, you're hilarious.

    July 31, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  11. Mississippi Mike

    Steele has a tough hill to climb, hope he's up for it.

    July 31, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. ~~ July ~~

    Eric Cantor Rips Chris Matthews, MSNBC, HuffPo, Liberal Bloggers For Inflating Birther Story ................ and yet will bent backwards and forward for Rush and Hannidy .... he will cry you a river on Fox News about how mean every other media is but actually take blame for the fall out of this COUNTRY~~~~

    Eric Cantor is a hypocritical, disingenuous craphead — either a shameless, bald-faced liar, or completely and willfully divorced from reality. Actually, I just neatly summed up the entire American Taliban — er, I mean, GOP.

    July 31, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  13. Expat American

    A good 'battle' strategy would be to drop the one-liners like 'off da hook' and references to people's 'mama'. This isn't some 70s sitcom. Another battle strategy would be to actually act like a chairman and grow a spine instead of letting the hot foul air emissions of Rush Limbaugh's ranting blow out of control.

    Doesn't Steele realize that he's not part of Palin's 'Real America'? Poor fool.

    July 31, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  14. paul

    Steele needs to sit down somewhere

    July 31, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  15. A B C

    Attention Mr Steele : After our Great Country was in the hands of the Bush Administration, you and everyone like you are like poison to our Democratic society. I pray that our Country rebounds under the Obama Administration and we put the FAILED POLICIES of the GOP to bed forever.

    July 31, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  16. You be da Idiot!!!

    RNC Chairman Michael Steele told RNC members Friday that he is 'not afraid to go into battle.'
    ***Yea Right ........Take your A$$ to Iraq or Afghanistan

    July 31, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  17. jeff

    He's definitely won't be fighting for the common working man.

    July 31, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  18. gl, Pittsburgh

    The Repubicans party have a very up hill to even think about winning in 2010 or 1212. Republicans to go after young voters, black voters, women voters, and latin voters and with the Birthers, Rush, Glenn Beck, Michael Steele the head of the Repubican party I really don't see any of them running to the Republicans party by 2012 I don't care how bad President Obama do. The problem is President Obama is not doing such a bad job becasue the 53 percent that elected the President still approval job rated with them. Young people are be the Repubicans real hardest job of them all becasue young people are smarter then the old votes that vote out of fear. Republicans fear tactics does not work well with the young so the Republicans better come up with a new play book other then their fear and scare tactics.

    July 31, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  19. Hugo

    Love it CNN, bare knuckle approach, you mean more like a brass knuckle approach from behind...
    Gotta love that little rascel Rahm! How was it he made those millions in 6 years again? Investment banking was it?

    July 31, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. gl, Pittsburgh

    Republicans take issue with the use of policy czars because many of them have been appointed without congressional confirmation hearings, though Congress retains oversight authority over their decisions.

    If this is want it take to get people jobs in the white house I say use Czars because the Republicans with their stall and delay play book tactics will never get people a job in the Whtie House.

    July 31, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  21. Kelby In Houston, TX...to Lauren

    Every now and then, i think Michael Steele is a double agent sent by the DNC to infiltrate the GOP and destroy them from the inside out. :)
    The thought makes me smile but then, I realize we need the GOP.
    For how would you know the light, if not for the darkness.

    July 31, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  22. A B C

    I would love to see a debate between President Obama and ANY ONE of these CLOWNS. I can close my eyes and imagine a great SNL skit staring President Obama making fools out of the GOP Reps.

    July 31, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  23. Fla.

    Party First...

    The RNC still has not learned. It's not the "new media"–it's their message of hypocrisy, lies, C Street cults, corporate greed, No, "birther/deather" fringes, etc.

    The only thing these Republicans have been doing is responding (following) the Obama White House with GOP criticisms & negativity, instead of ideas.

    Sorry, but Steele is a bad joke.

    July 31, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  24. charlie in Maine

    He is the perfect spokesman for the Party of no. No ideas, no confidence, no sense.

    July 31, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  25. gl, Pittsburgh

    Republicans fear tactics does not work well with the young so the Republicans better come up with a new play book other then their fear and scare tactics if they want to attach any of the young 18 -30.

    July 31, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
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