March 7th, 2010
07:06 PM ET
8 years ago

Republicans reject controversial images of Obama, Pelosi


A page from an RNC PowerPoint presentation that surfaced last week contained cartoonish images depicting President Obama as the Joker, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as Cruella DeVille and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as Scooby Doo.. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)

Washington (CNN) - Top Republicans had harsh words Sunday for a leaked Republican National Committee document containing images skewering President Barack Obama and other top Democrats.

"There is no excuse for that type of stuff," Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told NBC's "Meet the Press." He added that he is "ashamed" of it.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, on ABC's "This Week," was asked whether such messaging is helpful. "I can't imagine why anybody would have thought that was helpful," he responded.

The PowerPoint presentation 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 Obama as the Joker, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as Cruella DeVille and Harry Reid as Scooby Doo.

Since the presentation was leaked to Politico, Republicans have been working to distance themselves from it.

Last week, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele described the document as a presentation that "a staffer" put together for "a small group of about nine or ten folks and thought that they would intersperse the presentation with humorous shots.

The Democratic National Committee, meanwhile, is expected to come out with an ad this week highlighting the controversy and the images that many consider offensive. The commercial asks, "Today's Republican Party: Is fear all they have left?" The DNC says the ad should start running on cable television in Washington and a few other markets beginning Monday or Tuesday.

Steele condemned the document, but would not say if disciplinary action would be taken against the official who created it.

McConnell, when asked Sunday by ABC whether someone should be held accountable, responded, "I don't run the RNC. That's up to them. But I don't like it, and I don't know anybody who does."

Hatch, on NBC, said, "I don't want to condemn somebody but the fact of the matter is I'm ashamed of that."

When asked whether Steele should lose his post, Hatch responded, "I don't think Michael Steele knew about that. If he did, I would be very concerned. I like Michael Steele."

He added, " He made mistakes like everybody does, but he's a good face for our party. I think he's articulate, he's smart, he has a lot on the ball. He's going to get criticized no matter what he does but he was one of the first to come out and say that was irresponsible."

Steele, in an interview Thursday with Fox News, did not say who was responsible for the document, but said he asked RNC Finance Director Rob Bickhart "to get to the bottom of it." Reports suggest Bickhart was the
staffer who made the fundraising presentation to GOP donors in Boca Grande, Florida, last month.

"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 said.

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

-CNN's Peter Hamby, Mark Preston, and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Filed under: Extra • Mitch McConnell • Orrin Hatch • Popular Posts • RNC
soundoff (213 Responses)
  1. Truth Still Matters

    I'm with Pres. Obama and the Dems in opposing the use of reconciliation to pass health care reform.

    March 7, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  2. Jackalope

    Darn that Bill Clinton! He musta snuck those slides into the presentation... or maybe it was the communist muslim liberal media elites...

    March 7, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  3. Cali

    I was actually impressed that the Republican leadership had so much insight on the insane behavior of their major donors. It's hilarious!!! Egocentric and like Toys...sounds like children!

    March 7, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  4. largefoot

    running around, trying to cover behinds. what a bunch of hacks.

    March 7, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  5. Carmelle

    Whatever!!! You just mad you got caught!!!!!

    Repubs are this country's worse enemies! I mean that from the bottom of my heart!!

    March 7, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  6. Monster Zero

    Hey, it's all in political satire.... ask Sara Palin, she'll tell you it's okay, I mean what harm can come from someone making fun of your special needs baby, or jokes about raping your teenage daughter?! I say if you're gonna dish it out, get ready to lick the spoon!

    March 7, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  7. Independent

    I though the republicans were "The Evil Empire"!!!!! And Scooby Doo was good not evil!!!

    March 7, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  8. Tony

    The only reason the Republicans are distancing themselves is because they got caught. Are these not the same people who were at the steps of the capital during a teabagger rally saying all sort of nasty rhetoric about President Obama and the Democrats. They are fooling no one witha brain.

    March 7, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  9. Brook E. Mantia

    "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! I am the Great and Powerful RNC!"

    March 7, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  10. Johnny DC

    Despicable actions by an individual or small group of individuals. Certainly not something that should reflect on an entire party, just as we Republicans don't believe that all Democrats are serial cheaters (Clinton) or prostitute users (Spitzer).

    Let's see if Liberals feel the same way, or indulge in stereotyping.

    March 7, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  11. Reality Chick

    nothing I like more on a Sunday than to watch reThugs twist in the wind. They're shocked! Shocked! that this stuff is happening! Who could have known?


    March 7, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  12. I am Newt Limebaugh one is held accountable...of course not....and Rush Slimeball and Sean Insanity will be on the airwaves tomorrow proclaiming this vicious act as "free speech"

    You see folks...this has always been the GOP way....Fear....Divide...anything to keep control....when will America wake up

    March 7, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  13. Bill

    When do the grownups (both parties) arrive?

    March 7, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  14. LoveThyNeighbor

    This crap should not be tolerated by these or ANY individual! America NEEDS the people in government to start ACTING like grown-ups! These actions are unconscionable! WHY must people always have some sort of "group" to pick on? Could it be that THEY themselves only do it to make themselves feel "superior?" I, for one, would like to go back 20 years when not just the politicians but, America in general had more courtesy and were not as rude as people are now-a-days. Me, myself, I [am an accepting caucasion] believe in treating ALL humans equally. I am not better than anyone else. I may be better off, but, not better. It truly sickens me to see any kind of "jabbing" towards anyone, group or person lest it really be acceptable to all. It's amazing how these people "get caught" and squirm their way out of things by saying..."My God forgives me, why can't you?..." Sorry, I AM getting rehab/help...>insert your choice here<...etc. The average person would be fired or jailed. No one is above the law but, it seems like alot of them are skirting it very well. How can I get some of those bennies!? Sam

    March 7, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  15. Frank Rizzo

    The GOP has hit the gutters of scum, I wouldn't imagine being part of such a idiotic group of people.

    March 7, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  16. Donnatella

    They are only saying that because, it was rejected by the public, what about those disgusting tea party people, they had the same image on some of their posters, and we all know the GOP supports them, hypocrit should be a job discription for being a republcian.

    March 7, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  17. terry,va.

    They should be portrayed as the 3 stooges. No, that might give them too much credit.

    March 7, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  18. jim atmadison

    C'mon! Please, please, please keep this around for us. Michael Steele is an absolute gift to the Democrats.

    I love the part where they said their redneck supporters were fear driven. No fooling. But still to actually write that down about your own backers.

    March 7, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  19. Andy

    So,sounds realistic to me,Obamadoodle is THE JOKER what else is new?Reid is scooby doo,sounds like an insult to me for scooby doo.Pelosi is miss joker.All 3 qre a joke;but,a bad joke,then all 3 packing and good riddance.

    March 7, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  20. double standard

    Yeah right Mitch...You were behind all of it !!

    March 7, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  21. terry,va.

    Is that hemlock in those glasses? Drink up!!!

    March 7, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  22. Mike from MN

    Typical GOP tactics.

    Purposely release these kinds of 'fear-mongoling' propaganda and then deny it.

    It's now out there, and they go around denying it to make it a story.

    March 7, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  23. Surf Dog San Diego

    I keep receiving rightwing GOP emails showing the Obamas as monkeys, among other hateful and violent rhetoric. Even at the bottom of their sordid lives, the Republicans do not know shame. While the GOP only says no to progress, and diligently serves only one master–the big corporations, not the citizens who elected them–this is a good indicator of how low these agents of big business have sunk. They encourage bigotry, hatred, and - it's only a matter of time - murder and assassination. When that happens, the names of McConnell, Steele, and Boehner will be writ large on the deed, no matter how they continue to lie in denying it.

    March 7, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  24. Liberal

    When you run out of constructive things to bring to the table, you start acting like children. This is some immature and petty, that ALL republicans should be ashamed of what has happened to their party. A good two party debate is necessary in America, to keep things running. Good ideas are not limited to one party, but this crap is something that NO PARTY should be proud of. Keep it up and NO ONE will take the republican party seriously anymore. Bring something constructive to the table, if you don't want to or cannot think of anything positive to help American citizens, then sit down, shut up and hold on for the ride.

    March 7, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  25. Independent_me


    Those images were shown, and the fear tactics used, all through the tea-party summer of hate that was sponsored by Republicans.

    Do you really think that Hatch and his hackeys did not know that their Party was behind it all?

    Republicans are quick to label Obama and Democrats who want to help working -class people "evil"... but that is like the pot calling the kettle "black"...

    March 7, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
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