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. Stephen Matthews

    We will never have a leader that we all can stand behind, regardless of which political party they are from.

    This is just an example of the kind of crass and caustic smearing of politicians and both parties, including independents, are guilty of this.

    Until everyone stands up to this bull snot we will continue to deserve scumbag leaders.

    March 7, 2010 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  2. David Thomas

    typical. Why would anyone be surprised by whatever the party of fear does to denigrate the American voter or their opponents?

    March 7, 2010 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  3. Todd

    Umm....righhhhhtttttt.....embarassed by this...........just like how agahst they were at the loively song the gop leaders were all singing until it got put out ot the public via party chairman rushlimbaugh - Barack the Magic Negro I think they called it........

    the republicons are up to the same kind of filthy politics and lie based platform they have been since the days of richard nixon. They just get worse, never better. Like junkies in denial.

    March 7, 2010 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  4. JB Sullivan

    Fear is part of the Republican conservative psychogical profile demonstrated in scientific studies.

    March 7, 2010 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  5. ED FL

    Dems shoud retaliate with picture of 4 mens bathroom stalls in Minneapolis Airport with GRAND OLE PARTY label and four sets of shoes and legs in controversial position under the partitions. Make sure that 1 pr of legs are well tanned, and1 is of color so it does not show a bias. That should end the kind of garbage that the GOP likes to put out in their hate mongering spiteful demeanor.

    March 7, 2010 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  6. Jim

    So – that's what they do – sling the mud and then deny that they did it.

    March 7, 2010 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  7. Tony in Maine

    Great political strategy – let it float around the media and internet so all the wingnuts get a good belly-slapper out of it – then disown it.

    March 7, 2010 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  8. Steven

    I guess they need to do something other than just say they are ashamed. The behavior really needs to change, other wise a new conservative party will born of smart intelligent people rather than robots that spew hate and distruths.

    March 7, 2010 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  9. Hawk in Texas

    The only reason that they are crawfishing is that it got out in public. i bet behind closed doors the laughed their fool heads off.

    March 7, 2010 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  10. Craig

    A bit late for the apologies! What's out there, is out there... and now, we see Republicans for what they truly are.

    March 7, 2010 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  11. John

    Republicans are all for this nasty stuff unless they get caught at it, and then they deny and lie!

    March 7, 2010 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  12. John

    Republicans are all for this tasteless nasty stuff unless they get caught at it, and then they deny and lie!

    March 7, 2010 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  13. Kate

    Well, this is what the Republican party has turned into! Why should we be surprised.

    March 7, 2010 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  14. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    I'd be a whole lot more impressed with the GOP if it hadn't taken them DAYS to speak up! Anybody with half a brain knew immediately that this whole GOP mess was racist and wrong ... but then again, most of the GOP only have half a brain (or less) that they all have to share.

    March 7, 2010 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  15. Hiram

    Yeah... they're ashamed of it because they got *caught.* Otherwise they'd think it was a riot. Who are they fooling? Does anybody really think this is the first offensive, shameful stuff they've put in internal memos? I can only imagine what they've passed around that *didn't* get leaked. Would they have expressed disapproval if the public didn't know about it? I strongly doubt it.

    March 7, 2010 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  16. pierce

    Yeah, like we should care when 35 million adults do not have health care and we are making war in two countries and menacing a third, and the national debt is threatening our capitalistic existence.

    Oh, I hope the GOP did not hurt the democrats' feelings because in the real world there are more important things to think about. Or worry about.

    March 7, 2010 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  17. Bill

    They are embarrassed because their silly little presentation was leaked. The GOP is the party of unthinking children.

    I wonder how many of their "ego-driven" donors will keep their checkbooks closed this year. But if they were fooled by the Sarah Palin act, I guess they will still go for the "tchochkes."

    What a bunch.

    March 7, 2010 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  18. Frank Woodruff

    Trash like that I've been reading over the internet for some time. I wish it would stop.

    March 7, 2010 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  19. roger in ga

    Republicans will do nothing about that PowerPoint Presentation or the person responsible for it. They are frankly proud that it is out so that it can spread more fear. They have it out there and can say they didn't mean for it to be seen and "SORRY". Well it should never have been put together.

    This is all Republicans have offered since the President was sworn into office. FEAR, FEAR and more FEAR. Right now there are almost 300 bills waiting in the Senate to be voted on and Republicans will almost certainly require a Super Majority to pass most of them. This is their way of bringing the government to a halt so they can claim our President has not accomplished anything in office.

    March 7, 2010 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  20. Albert R. K. . L.A., CA

    "I don't think Michael Steele knew about that. If he did, I would be very concerned. I like Michael Steele."

    concerned? wow, concerned. How about disgusted? Because disgusted best states how Americans feel about the way Republicans have thrown tantrums at town halls, yelling "liar" at Obama during a Congressional; speech, and holding up the Senate like a spoiled brats –.disgusted, yeah, disgusted!

    March 7, 2010 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  21. Sue

    Yeah, right! Like I believe that.....The republican party is the most disrespectful, lying, demeaning anyone could possibly vote republican until they change is beyond me.....
    The destortation of facts and injection of fear is reprehensible!

    March 7, 2010 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  22. Amazed

    and yet Rush Limbaugh and Fox News spouts their poison daily and these same GOPers kiss his their feet.

    Republican words are light-years apart from Republican deeds.

    March 7, 2010 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  23. lmc

    RNC: save the supposed comedy and try to concentrate on helping everyday Americans–or have you forgotten how to do that?

    March 7, 2010 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  24. Sam M.

    How can the GOP write this kind of stuff and try to make Americans feel you want to support this President. This just shows that the GOP is so political, they will prefer to see this country fail rather than support this President. It is so sad.

    The Party of "NO" thinks they will take over Congress? Americans are smart enough to see right through them.

    March 7, 2010 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  25. Seattle Sue

    Republicans known no shame.

    March 7, 2010 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9