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. Mike in NYC

    Steele's been bringing some flava to his party with his urban dictionary stylings, gotta hand him that.

    December 22, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  2. snood

    Both are full of it. Nice healthcare plan I think we should start calling it what it is a insurance mandate. absolutly no cost control. public option,.Many of the so called smart once on this claim he helps give healthcare to millions that dont have it. Well of course they will have healthcare when they are forced to buy it. I dont have a wii but its not mandated for me to go get one so I do. the only one this helps is the insurance companies that helped pay for Obuma. but yet its a repug thing that are in the bank to the insurance companies. someone tell me how? not one thing they have done so far has saved money, created jobs or stopped wars. what a administration to be proud of. Iam sure predjudice will come in somewhere but they can talk to my multi-cultured wife about that one.

    December 22, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  3. simp

    Typical, last time I checked this moron was a republician, so nothing these scumbags do is surprising as long as they can line there pockets, and they can complain and talk about the other side, they think they are untouchable. steele is such a token until he has to be a complete loser to his family.

    December 22, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. Loser of the year

    This man is the Republican Party's answer to Obama, what a joke.

    December 22, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  5. Vic of New York

    So what's the news?. That the prostitutes at the Repugnican party collect money to tell lies? Hey, if Sarah Palin can pimp herself, why not Michael Steele?

    December 22, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  6. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    In a capitalist society, if Steele isn't doing anything illegal, STFU!
    I have no real respect for the man, but neither does anyone have the right to impugn his integrity because he is making LEGAL money doing LEGAL things...

    NOW, about that flipping off remark.
    Mr. Steele, after eight years of Republicans "flipping off" the working people of this country, it ASTOUNDS me that you would DARE to take issue with behavior that your party engages in at every opportunity.

    I'm still hoping that working Americans come out of this better than we are now (for a change).

    December 22, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  7. victim of the false prophet OBAMA

    the biggest fool in D.C. besides Obama.

    December 22, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  8. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    If republicans are willing to pay Sarah Palin $200,000 for a speaking engagement, why not pay Mikey $10,000?

    December 22, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  9. uncle ellsworthey

    This coming from a guy whose party takes bribes. Consider the source.

    December 22, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  10. Jamie from Riverside

    Michael Steele is a loser. Even i'm embarrassed for him and I'm a Democrat.

    December 22, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  11. Steve, New York City

    Hey, Chairman Steele, I have a hard one for you – what is two plus two?

    December 22, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  12. Jim in San Mateo

    Growing the Republican party into what? A remake of the Boston Tea Party? A "polite" terrorist organization? That so-called "big tent" has gotten so small, that Rush Limbaugh may fill it up all by himself. Better get some sandbags to hold it down.

    December 22, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  13. Tom L

    Of course is going to be critical. Steele is making money and that goes against the OBAMA DOCTRINE.

    December 22, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  14. Carnell From The Motor City!

    For The Benefit Of Democrats, I Hope That Somebody Continues To Pay The Uncle Tom Michael Steele To Say The Silly And Eggregiously Stupid Things He Does.

    December 22, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  15. Task

    What a pathetic attack by a complete hypocrite. Obama is out there making speeches at universities, colleges, conferences, etc. and he's the freaking PRESIDENT. Steele is leader of the RNC, which really isn't much more than a fund raising organization. Obama is the leader of our country. You people attacking Steele over this are pathetic.

    December 22, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  16. William Reading

    Robert Gibbs is, and always has been, the south end of a horse facing north. His comments are always smug and negative about anything and anybody. What a loser!

    December 22, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. Buckel Down

    I agree with everyone here. Gibbs is an immoral and thuggish dolt.

    December 22, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  18. Laura in KS

    All you geniuses out there who apparently know exactly what's best for this country–instead of whining about how there's not a "3rd party" to vote for, how about you run as that precious "3rd party" candidate you so desperately want. I mean, you guys comment day after day about how nobody knows what they're doing, but you have all the answers. So do your country a favor and run then, if you really know what's best...or are you too cowardly (and lazy perhaps), and just prefer to whine from the comfort of your couch?

    December 22, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  19. chubby

    gibbs is just mad because no one would pay a dime to hear him speak. You are better off talking to a wall than gibbs who is about as dumb as a box of rocks.

    December 22, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  20. Tom in Delaware

    Lame...petty...typical of Gibbs.

    December 22, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  21. Buckel Down

    All state media representatives, which includes CNN, sat quietly during Gibbs hysteric rant today. And they didn't ask him one frigging question about the ongoing crimes commited by Reid and Dodd.

    December 22, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. Donald

    Over the many years the Grand Old Party (So truly idenfied) have tried to flip the Americans public crows for turkey while padding their own pockets with lobbyist money. Yes, some Democrats are also guilty of this very action. Any how thank God for president Obama who cares about the ordinary people also not just wealthy. As such he saw from before he was president as an injustice that any American should not have health care coverage. The GOP does not mind because it does not affect most of them. Their are many Americans of all ethnic group that does not have health care coverage and as I listen to the GOP Senator railed against the impending Health Care Reform legislation, I asked myself, "Are these people upset at the bill or are they mad that their rich corporate friends will now be held accountalbe and as such their personal bottom lines will be affected? How can people who say they are living by Godly values be so insensed? Is it because they did not accomplish such a momentus goal in the last eight years? Do they really care about the ordinary American? Did they have any interest in truly working to find a solution? Were they just interested to kill the bill so as to see the president fail?" One GOP senator had stated earlier that if they can kill Health Care Reform it would be president Obama's waterloo. So my final question is, "What is it that the Grand Old Party members truly wanted?" Yes negotiation on legislation is never easy or clean but my goodness, would they rather to see Americans continue to be plundered by the insurance industry and other corporate America entities. Yes, Robert Gibbs is correct in asking, "How much was Michael Steele was paid for the speech?"

    December 22, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  23. southerncousin

    Hey Gibbs, do you want to talk about sleaze, how about Charlie Rangel and the lack of action for over a year by Pelosi on the ethics committee investigation? How about all of the lies Obama told during the campaign? Do you want me to enumerate them? How about the bribery on the health reform ( or liberal wet dream) bill currently in Congress? And you and the rest of the Chicago thugs have the unmitigated gall to degrade and demean someone who is doing something perfectly legal. THUGS, LIARS, CHEAPSHOT ARTISTS, LIBERTARDS.

    December 22, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  24. Frozone

    Maybe Steele can join Mr. Bush and be paid for speeches at real estate conventions opening for Terry Bradshaw.

    December 22, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  25. Beyond Absurd

    What do you expect from someone like this? He is a first rate embarrassment, but once you take a job where your main task is to create propaganda and obfuscate the truth, there is no telling how low you can go. The party without ethics. The party without morals. The self righteous friends of money. Your GOP.

    December 22, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
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