December 22nd, 2009
05:36 PM ET
10 months ago

Gibbs jumps on Steele report

Gibbs quipped over a report Steele is making thousands of dollars off paid speeches.
Gibbs quipped over a report Steele is making thousands of dollars off paid speeches.

(CNN) - White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs couldn't help but pounce on a Washington Times report Tuesday that Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has received thousands of dollars in paid speeches since becoming chairman of the GOP.

While not delivering a formal response to the report, Gibbs sarcastically asked the White House press corps Tuesday how much Steele was paid to conduct the recent conference call in which Steele declared Democrats were "flipping the bird" at the American people with their health care bill.

Gibbs later returned to the subject when a reporter's cell phone interrupted the briefing, leading Gibbs to declare that if Steele was on the line it would cost $30,000 to answer the call.

Gibbs' comments come hours after the Washington Times reported Steele continues to garner between $10,000 to $15,000 in paid speeches across the country at "colleges, trade associations, and other groups."

Though the practice is not illegal according to the RNC's own polices, several former Republican Party chairmen are quoted in the article criticizing Steele, saying the chairmanship is a full time job in itself.

Gail Gitcho, an RNC spokeswoman, told CNN in a statement that the whole controversy is "silly."

"Many Democrat and Republican national chairmen have regularly received outside income," Gitcho said. "Michael Steele has been giving inspirational speeches based on his personal story long before he was elected RNC Chairman and will long after."

"Chairman Steele of course does not receive compensation for any speeches conducted in his duties as Chairman," she continued. "He is more than a full time Chairman, is in complete compliance with all RNC rules and regulations, and is wholly focused on growing the Republican Party."


Filed under: Michael Steele • Robert Gibbs
soundoff (199 Responses)
  1. Justin

    Really? There's nothing more important for the White House Press Secretary to talk about or do than take shots at his political opponent?

    December 22, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  2. YJ

    Yeahhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!! RRRRighttttttt!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 22, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    These republicans just love lining up their pockets with big bucks, while they don't offer any suggestions on how to fix America's problems. Thank you Mr. Gibbs for taking a swipe at that hypocrite Steele.

    December 22, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. charlie in Maine

    Somebody paying for Steele's words.

    I guess PT Barnum was right. There is a sucker born every minute.

    December 22, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  5. Reggie

    Gibbs, it's not about Steele. It's about Obama and his pathetic job performance, Stop trying to shift topics.

    December 22, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  6. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    yeah, right. Steele is a little on the cuckoo side. good luck, Repukes.

    December 22, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  7. Eric in Denver

    Gibbs should shut his mouth. This administration is bankrupting this country and he wants to complain about somebody making money for speaking engagements. The hypocrisy is ludicrous. This admininstration and the jokers that work for it are clearly against capitalism. Let's punish these frauds in 2010 and 2012.

    December 22, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  8. Traj

    Steele is still silly.... I love Robert Gibbs....

    December 22, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. SlowGun

    His speeches are inspirational?

    Really?

    He walks up to the mike, and say;
    "everyone say it with me...No, No, No" and he get paid for that?

    December 22, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  10. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    Looks like both democrats and republicans are both joined together at flipping off the American people forcing ideas and bills down the American peoples throats that cost us money that's not there to be given we need change from both party's I hope to god there's a worth while independent to vote for next time .

    December 22, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  11. dick delson

    can you spell CREEP.

    December 22, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    Steele is what the republican party is all about. The republican culture of corruption is alive and well.

    December 22, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. this black liberal hates Obama

    Who gives a crap what this four eye jerk says, he's a total LOOOOSEER!

    December 22, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. HD

    Steele is just a complete idiot out to grab headlines with endless stupid comments. His silly flip the bird comment is just the latest rant. Has anyone ever heard him even attempt to offer an alternative plan or solution? How about putting someone in charge that will put the country first and not just a political party.

    December 22, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  15. george from alaska

    typical republican shenanigans...the real scoop...i can't believe that nobody is writing up a review about the obvious...abc movie santa baby 2's evil elf is palin!

    December 22, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  16. this black liberal hates Obama

    I meant Gibbs!

    December 22, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. Jay

    Steele and the rest of the Republican Party are a joke. This moran would have to pay me a lot of money to listen to him.

    It's so transparent why this clown is the new chairman of their party. So sad that this is how low Republicans have fallen.

    Hey Steele, in all your complaining about the Democrats, how about commenting on the disastrous results of your Republican Party being in control of all three branches from 2000 – 2006? Was there a deficit when Bush came into office? What was the deficit when he left?

    You Republicans are a sad joke. Hopefully there are still intelligent people still left that see through all your rhetoric and antiprogressive tricks.

    You're a loser Steele.

    December 22, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  18. Jim in Idaho

    Big surprise.....hey if Palin becomes President (yeah, right) I'm sure she'll find time in her busy schedule to do paid speeches as well, and claim that it is all in the spirit of capitalism, entrepenuerialism..... and all those GOP "values" that make America(n politicians) great(ly enriched)

    December 22, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  19. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    Steele is such a slime ball. His teaming up the shrinking republican party with the John Birch Society tells us what a true republican of today is all about.

    December 22, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    several former Republican Party chairmen are quoted in the article criticizing Steele, saying the chairmanship is a full time job in itself.
    -------------------------------

    That would only be correct if he was actually doing ANY WORK, which he isn't.

    Good for you Gibbs for jumping knee-deep in this clown's bs. He's going around talking stuff as if he was squeaky clean and actually accomplishing anything of substance. You should've not only pounced on him, you should've stomped on him as well.

    December 22, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. SA

    There are some things I like about Gibbs, but this is not one of them. He shows himself here as a mean-spirited opportunist trying to create a public misconception about someone he must consider a political adversary. I wish he would just stick to his more noble insticts that are manifest from time to time. But I guess no one's perfect.

    December 22, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. U.S. Common Sense

    Such a non issue.

    December 22, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    hahaha...poor Mushmouth can't win

    nice picture of him btw...looks like he just got told the world is round..."say WHA???"

    December 22, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. jacq

    Steele is only head of the RNC so it looks like their not racist,plain and simple,he has no control over how money is spent they took it away from him he is just a mouth piece.

    December 22, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  25. Caesar the Great

    Same stupid petty personal attacks from both sides. They both suck equally and need to just get over themselves.

    December 22, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
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