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. Anthony

    I guess they do not REALLY believe in personal responsibilty, just they do not really believe in smaller government which grew like wild over the last decade.

    March 7, 2010 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  2. Steve

    There's nothing new to see here. It's the normal GOP antics.

    March 7, 2010 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  3. PULEEEZZZ!! lets tell some truth

    After what the Repubes have done to this nation and the awful war they pushed us into, with many Americans and Iraki deaths, this is just the icing on their cake of stupidity, the party of NO, the hateful, racist and anti -middle class crap this 'party' of selfish, power and money hungry group of self rightious, 'family valued' church going people. What a sad sad joke they are.

    March 7, 2010 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  4. Hitchhiker

    The tactics outlined in this document are standard operating procedure for the GOP. For McConnell or Steele to act like they knew nothing about this is simply ludicrous.

    March 7, 2010 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  5. ExtLocus

    The true face of the republican party is revealed.

    March 7, 2010 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  6. VikingsLost

    I wouldn't put it past some of the Republicans trying to ridicule our President Obama, Pelosi and Senator Reid with cartoonish images. That is a trademark for some in the Republican Party to slime, instead of presenting factual data.

    Now the Republicans have to play defense thanks to these images.

    When will they learn?

    March 7, 2010 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    Humorous shots? The Tea Party types have been putting images like this out on the Net since they started. While we're on the subject, they have been putting out shame ful images, slogans, even songs (anyone remember " Barak the Magic Negro" being hawked on Rush's show?). How anyone can describe this kind of crude caricaturing as homorous is beyond me, but I guess I'm just one of those people who is at heart an America-hater, a socialist/Nazi/ Al-Quaeda sympathizer who secretly yearns for the destruction of the Free Market, the American family, a Free Press, all of the original amendments, and who will turn us all into atheists and worship at statues of Charles Darwin....

    Whew, is there anything I missed? Wacko Right? Can you help me out? Oh, thats right, you're too busy coming up with conspiracies involving the Free Masons, the 2012 Mayan Prophecy and the secrets on the back of the Declaration that can only be revealed with lemon joice and are secretly hidden in a desk in the Oval Office. My God, you people are clever: it all fits now, I can see it so clearly.....


    March 7, 2010 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  8. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It shows that many within the GOP only like the fear factor to get people to support them. It happened with the Bush administration many times.

    March 7, 2010 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  9. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Of course they're going to give back all the money that they raised in Boca Grande and other places they made the presentation, right? Nice that there are no plans to hold the responsible parties accountable as well. Accountability is against everything the Republicans stand for – see Iraq, Katrina, etc.

    March 7, 2010 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  10. Greg

    Republicans always reject these types of things once they get caught. Someho just goes to show you, they are hatew they never seem to stop it. It just goes to show you, they are hateful bigots who thrive on throwing dirt, lies and negativity.

    March 7, 2010 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  11. farmer

    It is seldom fun when ones dirty tricks are turned back upon one.
    Sad problem is that there are most likely some D's who would spread the same sort of thing.
    Both Parties seem to have forgotten that they are there to do the right thing for all citizens.

    March 7, 2010 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  12. Matt

    They're ashamed that it got leaked, but it's an accurate reflection of the Republican party's philosophy.

    March 7, 2010 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  13. Don

    What do you expect with zealots like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Bill O'reilley constantly attacking every word the president says and twisting it into something evil, sinister or part of some conspiracy?
    Reasonable republican leaders, Like Sen. Hatch, need to take back control of the Republican party and get down to the business of helping the president solve our many problems, instead of trying to destroy him, so they can win in 2012. American cannot recover with two parties at full war, while nothing is getting done. Wake up democrats and republicans, we, the voters, want you to do the job we elected you to do and to do it in a civil and professional manner.

    March 7, 2010 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  14. Greg

    Republicans always reject these types of things once they get caught. It just goes to show you how hateful they areSomehow they never seem to stop it. It just goes to show you, they are hateful bigots who thrive on throwing dirt, lies and negativity.

    March 7, 2010 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  15. Herk

    Just another republican dirty trick. Proves that they are out to destroy the Democrats and take over the Country. Shameful.

    March 7, 2010 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  16. sam

    Sad that people are capable of such treasonous behavior. Pity that Americans have become so ignorant and intellectually lazy. I am waiting for poor old America to simply implode. Most empires do,

    March 7, 2010 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  17. Guest

    Too Late! Not even Reagan can help you now.

    March 7, 2010 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  18. Steve W

    When all you have is anger, hate and fear. What do you expect from these types of people. It is my hope that from now until November. CNN, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, and every other media outlet including FOX/Faux News. Keeps this issue in the for front. I want the Republican party exposed for what it is...A safe have for people with attitudes of indifference, intolerance, injustice, and overt racism.

    I decided more than two years ago that I would never vote for any Republican ever again. The only way I'll ever consider supporting any Republican or conservative is if they publicly speak out against the hate and fear being spread through their party. And not just once. They'll have to make it part of their campaign everyday.

    Note to self.....good luck with that

    March 7, 2010 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  19. Patriot

    Repukes have no shame and no class.....get rid of all of these inbreds and your country and the rest of the world will thank you!

    March 7, 2010 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  20. Guest

    Or should I say, Too Late, not even Fox can help you now.

    March 7, 2010 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  21. The Crypticum Keeper

    There was a time when this sort of thing would have been created by a cartoonist for some newspaper as satire. Unfortunately in our politically-correct social quagmire the press no longer does its job of investigative, no-holds-barred journalism and powerpoints like this come from political hacks instead.

    I'm no fan of Republican fearmongering, or tactics more closely related to this bit of inanity, but I do think this is much ado over nothing.

    March 7, 2010 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  22. Danyankee

    This is the best the GOP has to offer.

    March 7, 2010 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  23. Wnbresn

    Why don't Republicans fess up and admit what they have become? A party of angry old white people who hate the fact they have lost control of everything? I mean do you think their real leaders Rush or Beck would think that this stuff is wrong.. Heck I would not be suprised if Rush or Becks people were the ones who created the images..

    March 7, 2010 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  24. jonathan

    Oh, enough B.S.
    Everyone knows this is typical Republican strategy. We've been victimized by it for ages, the last ten years being the worse of all.

    March 7, 2010 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  25. George

    Just terrible.

    March 7, 2010 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
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