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. WDM

    The most important item on this presentation was that it referred to donors as "reactionaries". That is what the cynical party of no thinks of their own donors!

    March 7, 2010 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  2. Awaal Oastad

    They are only ashamed when their most entertaining stuff leaks out. Or else they'd be enjoying it even in their sleep. What a wonder it's the party of Sarah Palin, John McCain and Michael Steele, George Bush, Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh – L-A-U-G-H O-U-T L-O-U-D

    March 7, 2010 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  3. republicans destroyed america

    they are ashamed they got caught and the might lose some donors

    March 7, 2010 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  4. Bill

    This is what is wrong with the GOP. They are so quick to make fun of, critique and show their distrust of the Democrats. Instead of putting all their effort into demoralizing the American People and only telling their side of the story as gospel. They should put that effort into being part of the solution instead of the problem. I am an independent, and I can tell you I am so disgusted on hearing all the things the GOP can't do than what they can do. I don't want to hear that they try and the Democrats don't want to work together. When the GOP does things like this how can you blame the Democrats....

    March 7, 2010 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |

    first the truth comes out and the repubs disagree with it had it been the dmes come out with it

    wel it was just a joke ypou know
    yea we know just a joke like your administration

    March 7, 2010 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    The saddest thing about that campaign concept is that, if it had not been leaked, it would have been rolled out and many of my fellow american would have liked and defended those images as accurate and speaking for their views. The imagery already exists and has existed for months. The distancing from senior republicans is too little, too late, wink, wink. They embraced it last summer.

    March 7, 2010 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  7. Thank you Massachusetts

    You see, the difference between the Republican Party and Democratic Party is: the Republicans condemn such nonsense while Democrats would give their approval. Do we need to be reminded of all the slams against President Bush?

    March 7, 2010 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  8. Toks Oke

    Hmmmmm, I wonder..., I just wonder!!!

    March 7, 2010 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  9. Mark

    Typical Republican garbage. Republicans are just trash and a disgrace to this country. The GOP is the party of evil, stupidity, hate, violence and moral cowardice. Time and again they have shown that they have no respect for the process of government and actively hate and despise the American electorate. They are government for the rich, by the privileged for the detriment of everyone else.

    March 7, 2010 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  10. Lilarose in Bandon, OR

    There is no surprise here.

    Apparently all these folks have nothing better to do while American families are going without....

    Without jobs, without food, without medical care, without hope.

    March 7, 2010 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  11. Dem from AZ

    Republican politicians have their work cutt out ahead of them with their image.

    March 7, 2010 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  12. AP in Illinois

    I didn't know the Republicans had any shame.

    March 7, 2010 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  13. chris l

    Those images seem to be accurate. I bet the majority of this country (me included) also thinks those images provide a perfect interpretation of this RADICAL administration.

    March 7, 2010 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  14. Houston Mom

    The headline should read: Americans Reject Republicans.

    March 7, 2010 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  15. Dave in Washington State

    Unfortunately I am not surprised by any of this story.

    March 7, 2010 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  16. Bob of Newton

    Would these lovely GOPers be ashamed if ty wasn't made public?

    March 7, 2010 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  17. jd

    These republicans are not ashamed. They are trying to do damage control because they got caught. This has been their plan all along. i have seen these pictures at Tea Party rallys before and they never denounce them. Republicans talk with both sides of their mouth and they get away with that kind of stuff.

    March 7, 2010 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  18. Dimslie

    Obama and Reid are okay. Pelosi should be Goofy. Since she's from San Francisco, we don't have to be concerned about her being of the wrong sex.

    March 7, 2010 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  19. Robert

    They are ashamed because they got caught doing what they always do. When people say they use fear to gain votes, they deny it and act hurt by the allegation. I guess they can't pretend anymore. Wait, they will just lie and say this document never existed. The truth doesn't matter when no one fact checks you and you can just lie right to the camera.

    March 7, 2010 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  20. P Chacho

    It shows the Repubs are too nice to the socialist joker in the whitehouse. They do not know that there are millions of us with that picture. Just what they did to Bush. Good old inside the beltway mentality. It sucks.

    March 7, 2010 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  21. gypsydaveywithablowtorch

    The truth is a significant portion of their base eats that stuff up and they know it. It's probably helped raise all kinds of cash for them-I'm sure they have no intention of returning any of it. The pictures looked just like something straight from a tea baggers party. Hopefully, reasonable Americans will see these people for what they are come next November.

    March 7, 2010 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  22. tim

    This is a new low even for a political party who has created lows in every field of human endeavor imaginable: Economics, education, the environment, personal responsibility and morals, integrity of the spoken word, race relations, global, national and state finances, support of the sciences, the arts, not to mention the basic care of every citizen of this country, I'm sorry it's late, but all I'm left with is a famous historic quote:
    (paraphrased) 'Finally, have you no shame?"

    March 7, 2010 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  23. Dakota States

    How is Scooby Doo an enemy to anyone? Maybe the RNC does not want those meddling democrats snooping around their most embarrassing documents. Though I do slightly agree that if the RNC continues with the fear based tactic, they might end up misleading the most naïve Americans into voting against democrats. I also believe that they will have a hard time trying to convince the American people that they are the better party to control the government. I have a feeling that this fear based tactic could backfire and persuade naïve voters to vote for a member of the Tea Party cult that feeds on the fears of the American people at almost anarchist levels.

    March 7, 2010 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    They are ashamed in that the document was leaked to the public but they have been supporting these tactics for quite some time. These tactics must stop!

    March 7, 2010 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  25. J.V.Hodgson

    McConnel hedges his bets "not responsible for RNC," "can'timagine anyone thinking helpful." thats ajoke and irresponsible.
    Steele condemns on the one hand and says it was only for 10 people and adds then insult to injury with "intersperse the presentation with Humuorous shots" he clearly thinks its funny, who else does please!? apart from Rush Limbaugh.
    Mr Hatch was correct, the only reasomable thing to be is "ashamed" and to punish tose responsible!!

    March 7, 2010 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
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