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. Kathleen

    I have seen those nasty pictures and also "the chart" on how to trick voters into contributing and voting for the Republicans.

    And, not one of the liars listed above "disapproved" of them verbally, until they were leaked. Thank you Repubs. People are starting to know WHO you really are.

    They want to cut "entitlements" as soon as they win the Majority.
    Listen to Paul Ryan Wisconsin and Michelle Bachmann and you will hear what they think of S.S. and Medicare! But the repubs were embarrassed because they thought Ryan and Bachmann spoke too soon!

    March 7, 2010 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  2. KC

    Come on if the Dems did such a thing you Repubs would be all over it but being it was a Repub you are like mistakes happen....

    Do you Politicians even have a clue how silly you ALL are?

    STOP the nonesense and do your job for the American People. We are sick of your nonsense

    March 7, 2010 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  3. Shelly

    The Republicans are trying to save their b-tt . The American people have seen the REAL Republican party the last 15months for being the angry, selfish and revengeful party they are. They ONLY care for the 1% wealthy Americans not for the 99% rest of us. Remember they want to eliminate estate taxes for the rich but argue incessantly about NOT extending unemployment benefits for all Americans.
    They are intent on seeing OUR President fail ; and in the eyes of the rest of the world see America fail.
    Also the GOP is scared that the economy is improving and that Health care reform will benefit MANY Americans. They do not like this!

    March 7, 2010 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  4. Kevin

    Typical republican tactic. Let something offensive hit the street then condemn it after the fact. Probably giggling like little children behind the scenes.

    March 7, 2010 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  5. Jefe

    So...does this mean Rush Limbaugh really *is* in charge of the RNC? The rhetoric the past several years has become extremely juvenile (I'm talking both parties, not just the Neocon aka Anti-America Party)

    March 7, 2010 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  6. Brennan

    Yea! Whatever! Now you're ashamed! Got caught playing dirty so now you're all sorry.....

    March 7, 2010 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  7. M.K>

    This is the same old crap that the Elite Republicans have been putting out for the last forty or more years, and the dumb ass folks that vote for them delight over it. Will the American voters ever wake up and smell the out house smell that the Republicans keep on emitting. The same dumb folks that buy the super market tabloids are the ones that go to the polls and vote for these evil folks

    March 7, 2010 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  8. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    The GOP, involved in character assassination and lampooning opponents rather than debating the issues with them? Never!

    Ask John McCain how he liked being skewered in SC in 2000 by the same crowd that is assuredly endorsing this nonsense o r certainly not castagating it.

    March 7, 2010 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  9. M.K>

    When will the dumb bastards that vote for the Republicans wake up and smell the stink?

    March 7, 2010 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  10. gary

    They only reject it when they're caught!

    March 7, 2010 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  11. Jasaah

    American, this is a lesson for you all to learn. Republican, Keep on these kind of dirty stuff and continue considering the American people to be stupid. Your lie to the American people and took their kids to be killed in unnecessary and foolish wars for no reason. Remember with the grace of God, every Republican will pay the price for the lost of innocent lives. This is all you guys are about. Scare tactics and misleading the innocent people who do not know better. As time goes by, America will realize their mistake for listening to you Republican murderous, ignorance crazy people that feel this country belongs to your party. Who own this country? What do you Republican mean " we want our country back". Who took your country? The native Indians own this belove country by right because the settlers met them on this soil. They were here before this country was founded. Republican will never take back the white house for a long time.

    March 7, 2010 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  12. Brandon

    SAVE THE FAKE OUTRAGE!!! RNC = GOP are racists. Have you seen the people from The Tea Parties. They live and thrive off of fear.

    March 7, 2010 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  13. M.K>

    Does anyone remember when the same dumb assed folks remember when Reagan [ Bonzo] got his publicity team to try and convince the American people that Jimmy Carter was attacked by a rabbit? Carter was raised in South Georgia, and was tougher than any Hollywood producer could invent. Shame on the poor, dumb , folks that vote for Republicans

    March 7, 2010 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  14. Proud Liberal

    Thank you, Senator Hatch and Senator McConnell, for taking a courageous and principled stand on this matter. I agree that such portrayals as noted in this article serve no good purpose. I believe that both sides can learn much from this mistake.

    Best wishes from Boulder, Colorado

    March 7, 2010 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  15. Jasaah

    If your define the word Republican, reference to the "Republican Party" of American, it mean wicked, murderuos, dirty people, stupid and uneducated people. For example: The tea party goers.

    March 7, 2010 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  16. abraxis

    Hey, RNC here is something to post on one of the slides of the Power Point that you should listen to: STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES!

    March 7, 2010 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    The top republican officials need to stop playing these games. They knew those images was on that presentation because they must approve those things or at least they should. They pretend that its such a disgrace, but behind closed doors and in their hearts, they are laughing!!

    March 7, 2010 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  18. you're all buttmonkeys

    don't shy away from it! you're all a bunch of chickens when it comes to free speech. politically correct games of chicken that you all lose. ya big bunch of weiners!

    March 7, 2010 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  19. Randy

    Hell, sounds pretty accurate to me. This trio of clowns is ruining America.

    March 7, 2010 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  20. Ryan

    The only thing they find regrettable about it is that they were caught being what we all have known: D bags.

    March 7, 2010 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  21. daffy22

    This isn't nothing uncommon for republicans they do this all the time they say one thing and do and mean another they do it all the time.You can't trust them.

    March 7, 2010 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  22. Obama is a Disaster

    Dump Obozo in 2012.

    March 7, 2010 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  23. valwayne

    Obama has engaged in more corrupt spending and plunged the country into more debt than in the history of the world. The Congress is full of corruption, the rights of murdering Islamic terrorists are more important to Obama than the lives of the American people, and Iran is about to get a nuclear arsenal. It would be nice if some Republicans would stop the fraternity type pranks and start planning on how they are going to repair the tremendous damage as the voters realize what a tremendous mistake it was to trust our entire Government to such dangerous left wing radicals!!!!

    March 7, 2010 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  24. WeThePeopleofVirginia

    Even though two wrongs don't make a right, you can't tell me factions of the Democratic Party have not produced similar documents for their benefit.

    Vile is vile and both parties share the blame.

    March 7, 2010 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  25. Blue

    This behavior does not surprise me. I have heard and seen some of the nastiest racial things about our president and the First Lady. I am ashamed of the republican's behavior. But, they will not stop at anything to get back in power.

    March 7, 2010 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
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