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. ex-republican

    Just one word republicans:" Obama 2012"!

    March 7, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  2. Tom B

    No condemning – and no accountability.... Classy...

    March 7, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  3. BAG

    That is discasting of RNC. I can't expect any thing positive from this ruds

    March 7, 2010 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  4. acfaber291

    controversial? this is why REPUBS are considered flaccid weaklings.

    was Bush called a Nazi every 12 minutes?
    were cartoons run of bush as a Nazi?
    was Katherine Harris called Cruella DeVille?
    ever though she was less horred looking than hair dye and botox
    obssessed very, very rich owmn Nancy Pelosi.

    by the way media ignores that the Pelsoi family hire NO union employees in their many businesses.

    March 7, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  5. Marvin

    Obama as the Joker, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as Cruella DeVille and Harry Reid as Scooby Doo?

    Outrageous !!!

    The Three Stooges is much more appropriate !
    "We're gonna fix the government…. whoop! whoop! whoop!"

    March 7, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  6. Viet.Vet.

    Sure they are sorry because they got caught directly involved in the same tactic as those wing nut Tea Party People they have been sitting in the wings and embracing . They didn't expect they would get so many complaints especially from their big donors.

    March 7, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  7. Chipster

    This sort of thing is so childish, no matter which political party is being portrayed. What is wrong with people that they cannot simply discuss the issues and differences like civilized human beings instead of behaving so foolishly? It happens in both political parties but, recently, it seems as if Republicans have gone completely overboard with this sort of nonsense.

    March 7, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  8. enough already

    Whatever. After a year of accusing POTUS Obama of being a socialist or attempting to implement socialist/communistic policies, we are supposed to believe these people are ashamed of this ppt presentation? What bull. They are ashamed of being caught at what they say in private. We'll see what happens when Rush and Hannity etc. all come out to justify and applaud the depictions of POTUS Obama, Pelosi and Reed. I'm sure they will avoid mentioning the characterization of Republican donors.

    March 7, 2010 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  9. rick Atlanta

    And you wonder why I cant vote for a republican...

    March 7, 2010 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |

    I'm a huge Obama supporter and the Joker pictures, among others, do not bother me at all. I'm fairly certain they don't bother Obama much, either.

    Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Expression

    March 7, 2010 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  11. Old Farmboy

    I am offended by this. Harry Reid looks nothing like Scooby Doo..... However, the rest of them... A striking resemblence.

    March 7, 2010 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  12. S.F. Eugene, Oregon

    Oh yes Michael Steele is as smart as that cow on the train track... This train isn't stopping so just keep spending your valuable time drawing and passing around cartoons RNC!

    March 7, 2010 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  13. dave

    I wonder where in Boca Grande they found a Democrat who could turn this stuff over.

    March 7, 2010 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  14. jdmintexas

    Nice try Republicans. In the law I believe this is known as "throwing a skunk in the jury box and telling the jury not to smell it." The CPAC convention was aired you know, we heard the speeches of your party's elite. We have seen your former Vice-Presidental candidate's speeches. These are not fringe elements of your party just as the document was not produced by some yokel in the backwaters: this is the work of the highest levels of the RNC. I believe, however, Senators Hatch and McConnel when they say they are ashamed. What they should be of ashamed of is the fact that the Republican party is no longer a party represented by people like George Will, Bill Bennett, Secretary Gates, and others. This is the party of Limbaugh, Beck, and Hannity.

    March 7, 2010 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  15. Old Farmboy

    Moe, Larry and ???

    March 7, 2010 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  16. Jim

    This is typical behavior from the Republican Party. The only shock is that CNN was willing to report the bad behavior. The only reason any Republicans are distancing themselves from it is because they got caught.

    March 7, 2010 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  17. phoenxi86

    I am more ashamed of the document known as the Obama / Pelosi / Reid healthcare bill than this document from the republicans.

    March 7, 2010 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  18. Carole

    I have a bridge to sell anyone that believes this. LOL

    They speak at racist teabag duh.

    Republican Party = Male, Pale and Stale

    March 7, 2010 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  19. JonDie

    "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.

    Yeah, right. Orrin Hatch is the author of this trash. He's not ashamed of it.

    March 7, 2010 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  20. Scott, Tucson

    Boy are the liberals so insensitive, they quickly forgotten all the ridicule and scorn they have heap on President Bush including photo's showing Bush as a chimp, the Dem's would call that satire but same photo touched up to show obama or his wife Michelle as chimps is regarded as racist. You can't have it both ways folks.

    March 7, 2010 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  21. Ann

    I know that comments are closed for Candi Crowley's March 7th State of the Union episode but I am compeled to voice my opinion. I find that Tom Delay's comment relevant to unemployment recipients and his legitimacy of blocked legislation by his comment "look 2-3 weeks before unemployment is when people look for jobs...people in the real world know I don't think that there was anything wrong with blocking the vote on unemployment vote was wrong...the senator was courageous..." It is Mr. Delay that is NOT living in the 'real' world, I find his comments offensive and 100% inaccurate, I have been layed off for 3 months and no Mr. Delay living on $250/week unemployment check is not preferrable to finding a job, there are NO full-time jobs out there for the overwhelming amount of people who are looking for work.

    March 7, 2010 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  22. deb

    Okay – the good ole boys of the GOP. Amazing, this has always been there mission its just that it has been brought into the light. The high and mighty Repulican party thinks their supporters and contributors are idiots who can be coerced with fear or ego maniacs who have to be stroked. Its a shameful display of desperation and truly shows how far the party of "no" and the absolute 'fear' these guys have for change ... they live and breath by the status quo, so that can keep everyone in line. Shame on you Michael Steele, Shame on you GOP and Shame on the supporters of such rhetoric.

    March 7, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  23. David

    The Evil Empire... I can't think of anything more evil than old, white Republicans...

    March 7, 2010 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  24. Fired Up...Ready to Go!!!

    It is so refreshing to see a healthy, intelligent and caring president in the WH!

    Fired up...Ready to Go!!!!!

    March 7, 2010 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  25. Aspen Professor

    All-right, now that the leading Repubs have "distanced themselves" from the latest Repub racist – slime advertising, lets hear exactly who drafted the ads, who paid for them, and who released them.

    Then lets hear who is printing the signs and paying for the transportation of Tea Party members to their "gatherings".

    This latest crop of right-wing extremist controlled Repubs appear to have no other goal than to lie themselves into the next election.

    March 7, 2010 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
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