March 4th, 2010
02:59 PM ET
8 years ago

Steele: Leaked RNC presentation 'unfortunate'

Congressional GOP aides expressed their frustration over their perception that Michael Steele is using his book tour to undermine the party's political message.

Congressional GOP aides expressed their frustration over their perception that Michael Steele is using his book tour to undermine the party's political message.

Washington (CNN) - Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele on Thursday condemned a now-public internal party document that mocks GOP donors, but he would not say if disciplinary action is being taken against the official who created the presentation.

The powerpoint presentation, leaked to Politico on Wednesday, described high-level Republican donors as "ego-driven" and claimed they could be enticed with "tchochkes." The document included a slide - titled "The Evil Empire" - with cartoonish images depicting President Obama as the Joker, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as Cruella DeVille and Harry Reid as Scooby Doo. Steele called the pictures "unfortunate."

"Those are images that were pulled off the internet, they've been out in the public domain for a while, and you know, a staffer was putting together a presentation for a small group of about nine or ten folks and thought that they would intersperse the presentation with humorous shots," Steele explained in an appearance on Fox News. "They are inappropriate shots."

Steele would not say who was responsible for the document, saying only that he has asked RNC Finance Director Rob Bickhart "to get to the bottom of it." Bickhart is reportedly the staffer who made the fundraising presentation to GOP donors in Boca Grande, Florida last month.

Pressed on whether someone at the committee would be disciplined or fired over the matter, Steele said he is letting "the appropriate personnel process and procedures take place within the organization."

"Clearly it's not something that I would tolerate and certainly would not want presented to me, and we're dealing with it administratively," he said.

Doug Heye, the RNC communications director, told CNN there are no plans for either Bickhart or RNC Finance Chairman Peter Terpeluk to leave the committee as a result of the controversy.

"It is absolutely not true," Heye said in an interview with CNN. Heye added that "the chairman has addressed this internally and has ensured moving forward this will not happen again."

As for what actions are being taken by the chairman, Heye would not say. "We do not discuss anything that happens internally at the Republican National Committee as a matter of policy," he said.

Steele was asked in the Fox interview about the presentation's negative portrayal of Republican donors, to which he responded cryptically: "I was told that that is typical what people think about our donors, or think about donors generally." But, he added, "That is not the case for our donors. Our donors are compassionate, concerned, activists out there who support a party that they believe in."

Filed under: 2010 • Michael Steele • Popular Posts • RNC
soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. Gilliard

    Republicans are the lowest of the low. Gross.

    March 4, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  2. Cynthia

    The republician party is about the slimmest, racist, uneducated bunch of idiots in politics today, they are right up there with the tea baggers. If the Democrats had done something like this, that stupid looking steele would have jump on this so quick to began his bashing. These people is what's wrong with the this country. this party should sucede from the US.

    March 4, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  3. CR

    Only embarrassed because they were caught. Contempt for their donors and disrespect for their adversaries. No surprise.

    March 4, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  4. anotherGDlefty

    Oh they're sorry all right.

    Sorry they got caught..................

    March 4, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  5. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I guess some people never grew out of name calling. It is a sad fact that it has come down to this. I would have hoped that people in elected office and those running the politcal parties would be a bit more mature. I guess that the GOP is following some of their leaders like Rush Limbaugh, Ann "I'm really a self hating liberal" Coulter and Sean Hannity in their maturity level.

    March 4, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  6. felicia

    Well this is not funny, my President don't look anything like those pictures. President Obama is a healthy, smart, handsome man who is the best at what he does.

    The repigs are nothing more that a bunch of haters incuding michael steele.

    March 4, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  7. kmp

    I find his response very lacking in sincerity. He is just upset that it got out, he is not upset with the content and it is here that there is a problem. Like this administration or not to mock them in such a way is not funny and plays further into the hands of these right wing nuts.

    March 4, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  8. Brian Coss

    Right Steele....we are supposed to believe this is the action of one deranged mad man republican fundraiser? More likely, as a spot check, this represents the republican strategy and attitude more broadly. Way to go guys, show us your cards some more

    March 4, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  9. Dean

    Steele and the rest of them probley sat around laughing at it. Now that the rest of the world knows about it he is saying it's inappropriate.

    March 4, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  10. Greg

    I am confused. Is Mr. Steele saying that the powerpoint presentation was unfortunate or that the fact that it was LEAKED unfortunate?

    I can see the Republicans' winning strategy here.

    1)Alienate the African American community by depicting the President in white face as the Joker.

    2) Admit to the independents that the only arrow in the Republican quiver is fear.

    3) Insult the very people that donate money to the party by calling them egotistical.

    Yep, brilliant.

    Oak Park, IL

    March 4, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  11. hayden zeke

    It doesn't matter what the presentation was, it just shows the typical mindset of the average Republican.

    March 4, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  12. Sandra, Atlanta

    The only thing the Republicans are upset about it they got caught and now their donors know what they think of them. I'm not sure if it matters to them, but it should.
    That's not even mentioning the pure meaness in their representation of President Obama. They are way over the line. I didn't think it was right to do anything like this to George W. Bush and quite honestly never saw the level of hatred directed toward President Obama and it is certainly not right now. Even if some of these people say 'well they did the same thing to Bush', when do two evil wrongs make a right?
    With the Republicans, it's all about power at any cost. Heaven help them because I think God is the only one who can.

    March 4, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  13. boo

    The GOP even hates itself.

    March 4, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  14. markiejoe

    Does anyone else get the impression that since Michael Steele took over his position it's been one PR disaster after another for the GOP?

    Good grief, even Republicans should be able to see that he is not doing a good job at the top.

    March 4, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  15. rita

    I guess they had to "dumb it down" to appeal to people who have their heads in the sand, don't know much about politics or policy to begin with and would actually vote for a Republican.

    March 4, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  16. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    You mean it was unfortunate you got caught, right Mike? Disgusting.

    March 4, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  17. FactCheck

    What Steele meant to say is that "It's unfortunate that we got caught but Obama is a socialist and he wants to kill grandma... and also, 9/11".

    March 4, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  18. LacrosseMom(the real one)


    Yet another example of the Republican's strategy: Hate, Lies, Fear & Division..... nothing new. Same old vitriolic politics.

    The GOP did not learn from the beating it got in 2008! They continue to spew the vile.

    No new ideas....... No new solutions....... No cooperation for the good of the Country...... Nothing but obstruction!

    March 4, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  19. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    What A Bunch of Retards!!!

    March 4, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  20. living in America

    Wow if this was turning into "a socialist country" as they are saying all of their butts would be in jail for this.

    March 4, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  21. benintn

    See? The RNC thinks the real problem is that they got caught. They don't really apologize for anything in the presentation itself. They don't apologize for smearing our nation's first African-American president. They don't apologize for smearing our nation's first female House Speaker. They don't apologize for appealing to fear-based guerrilla terror tactics in order to win elections. They don't apologize for disrespecting donors. They just want to make sure "it doesn't happen again" – that next time they hold a fundraiser at Blackwater/Xe headquarters, no one knows about it.

    March 4, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  22. bettie

    I think Steele must be a secret operative of the Dems planted in the RNC to destroy them at every opportunity.

    March 4, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  23. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Where are the Republican apologetics?

    March 4, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  24. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    again sorry for getting caught, not for the action.


    March 4, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  25. Howard Lerner

    Maybe Uncle Mike can donate the proceeds of his autobiography,
    "Uncle Mike's Cabin" to the GOP. He's a mockery of himself. There is nothing new here about Republicans, the privileged, and the fat cats.
    As Jesus said, "Forgive them, they know no better." May they burn in hell for eternity.

    March 4, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
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