April 6th, 2010
09:10 AM ET
10 years ago

Gingrich to Republicans: Get behind Steele

Gingrich says it's time for Republicans to get behind Michael Steele.

Gingrich says it's time for Republicans to get behind Michael Steele.

(CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says it's time for Republican insiders to lay off Michael Steele.

"I think it's foolish to focus on Michael Steele as a person," Gingrich said Tuesday on NBC's Today Show. "I think what we ought to do is focus on Democrats. We have a real chance to elect [House Minority Leader] John Boehner as speaker and to elect [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell as majority leader."

The comments follow a series or embarrassing headlines for the chairman of the Republican National Committee and his organization, including news that the committee financed a night out at a risqué Hollywood night club and spent big on private jets, limousines, and five-star hotels. The embattled chairman was in the headlines again Monday when his chief of staff, Ken McKay, resigned his post and a political strategy firm, OnMessage Inc., severed ties with the organization.

Gingrich, in his interview Tuesday, said Steele has proven to be an effective leader of the RNC and should remain in his post heading into the crucial round of elections this November.

"I think Michael Steele is capable of taking us through the midterm elections," he said. "My advice would be to appoint a respected outside authority to review everything." The fact is they have fired the young person who made the big mistake that has gotten all the noise. The fact is Michael Steele has raised a lot of money, campaigned very aggressively, helped win in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts."

In his own interview Monday, Steele maintained that he is the right leader for the organization and touted his fundraising success since assuming the chairmanship 14 months ago.

"At the end of the day, I've raised more than the Democrats in seven out of 12 months," Steele said. "I carried over the same amount of money as the [Democratic National Committee] in 2010. We had a very good march and will have a very good April. The bottom line is, I hear my donors, I hear the base out there, I hear the leadership."

Federal Election Commission reports filed at the end of February showed that the RNC had more than $9 million cash on hand, while the DNC reported $10.7 million in the bank. But the RNC had no debt at the time and the DNC reported close to $4 million in debt.


Filed under: Michael Steele • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. go on with your bad self

    Well, duh. Then they would lose their token black man...
    How would that look!! The party of brown people haters has to put some kind of front!

    Its not like they could fire the black man, it would waful funny relacing the b;ack guy for another black guy.

    Oh, well, I guess I'm counting on them actually finding ANOTHER power hungry black man who will shove it under the rug the blatant issues with this pistion, for THIS job.

    April 6, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  2. Dutch

    "Get Behind Steele"

    They'll get behind him alright. Just to give a swift kick in the rear end out of the party.

    April 6, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  3. Larry

    Gingrich, you're out of touch with reality.

    You have no chance to elect Boehner or McConnell into those positions. Those are 2 of the most corrupt people in Washington, and people know it.

    I'm from Boehner's district in Ohio and I guarantee he'll be jobless next election cycle.

    April 6, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  4. Dutch

    "We have a real chance to elect [House Minority Leader] John Boehner as speaker and to elect [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell as majority leader."

    You must be smoking crack Newt. The two clowns that have been obstructing everything will be in the unemployment line in November.

    April 6, 2010 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  5. Kate

    Now that is really scary..Boehner as Speaker and McConnell as Senate Majority Leader....then nothing will get done. Maybe for the wealthy.
    We don't need these so-called "Christian-conservatives." Nothing further from being Christian!

    April 6, 2010 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  6. Hendrik

    Shut up Gingrich. If we do indeed elect the Republicans to be in charge of the House and/or the Senate, we will have another eight years like we did under GWB. Republicans are scary fear mongers who should not be in charge of themselves. Disgusting rats. I hope we, as a country, do not make this mistake again.

    April 6, 2010 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  7. lulu

    Of course "it's foolish to focus on Michael Steele as a person" when he's actually just a token!
    "My advice would be to appoint a respected outside authority to review everything." >> in other words, a real person.

    April 6, 2010 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  8. Oh, God

    If people think Reid and Pelosi are horrible, just take a look at John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. Oh, God!

    April 6, 2010 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  9. Our nation is divided and on the brink

    Read the last paragraph. Why don't the Democrats pay the debt and then report the amount they actually have on hand?

    April 6, 2010 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  10. hongli

    What a JUDAS!!

    April 6, 2010 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  11. Charlie from the North

    I agree with Newt. Lay off the guy, He is only doing what the GOP wants. If you don't like it become a Democrat or Independent. I personally don't mind him or Gingrich or any of them because they make the Democrats look good my comparison. Now if any of them regain actual power I would mind.

    April 6, 2010 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  12. Tom

    Steele bragging about raising more money than democrats? Is he also bragging because the RNC has spent more than it has raised? Please stay on, Mr. Steele. You continue to strengthen the democratic party.

    April 6, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  13. Grahame Rhodes

    Not focus on Michael Steel???? Why not, He is after all, the face of the RNC and represents the RNC. Gingrich (Just like the Grinch he is) would love to deflect any concentration away from the disaster the Republican Party represents. Face It.... The Republican Party is in disarray and liable to remain so since the rank and file are so polerized. Tea party Movemen indeed + Sarah (If I only had a brain)Palin! What a joke. I've seen more intelligence come out of a tupperware party. And these people want to run the country. They coundn't organize a pissup in a brewery......

    April 6, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  14. ed

    While the democrats are full of crooks such as Dodd and Barney Frank; in addition to since the democrats took congress in January 2007 the recession started in 2008 (coincidence) – the republicans are fighting themselves.

    It is time to get rid of these crook democrats and restore fiscal responsibility!!! The real truth!

    April 6, 2010 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  15. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "I think Michael Steele is capable of taking us through the midterm elections," he said.
    --------------------------------

    Ah, the subtle nuances "...through the midterm elections...". In other words Mikey, they won't risk turning off any more minority voters by firing you until AFTER the elections. Your "masters" are self-serving to the point of complete transparency.

    Here's the kicker: when you find yourself unemployed you won't even be able to collect extended unemployment benefits because another one of your "pals" pulled the cord on that last week! lol

    Mikey, you're looking at being Black, bamboozled, black- balled,and broke. Tsk, tsk.

    April 6, 2010 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  16. Michelle

    If those words don't mobilize Democrats: "we have a real chance to elect Boehner as speaker and McConnell as majority leader," nothing will. The thought of those two spending 2010-2012 obstructing everything and doing nothing for the people terrifies me. Gingrich has to toe the party line here, and I pray he's blowing smoke, but stranger things have happened.

    April 6, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  17. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    "I think it's foolish to think of Michael Steele as a person."

    April 6, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  18. Dekker

    Great advice Newt!

    I'm not convinced that the GOP is as fractured as CNN trys to make them out to be, however, this is a crucial time for everyone who is against the government takeover of our country to unite. Infighting over Michael Steel (who I think is doing a great job) isn't getting the right message out. More working together, less bickering please.

    April 6, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  19. anthony caudill

    So says the man who is the reason the modern GOP is evil to the core.

    April 6, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  20. Donatella

    This is what I hate about republicans, who is he to tell them to get behind mr token himself, he is not doing his job and he tried to play the race card, they should send him packing. It won't matter to most minority voters, they are done with the republican party anyway, Its the tea party that really turns most minorities off.

    April 6, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  21. melvin polatnick

    Selective prosecution has never been proven to be a good defense. If the cop gives the speeder in front of you a break because she is an attractive woman you cannot expect to also be excused. As a black politician Steele felt that the bad publicity was due to his race and he should be excused. He might be held to a higher standard but it is a losing defense. He must take the fall.

    April 6, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  22. Captain Crunch

    Gingrich to Republicans: Get behind Steele.

    Most Republicans would like to do just that...about 10 yards behind Steele so as to avoid the fallout and the blood when he's axed – either before or just after they lose the November elections.

    April 6, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  23. Justin

    Now that should be scary enough to get people to vote for the Democrats; the potential of Speaker Boner and Majority Leader McClueless. Yikes!

    April 6, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  24. Bob Dog

    Gingrich is absolutely wonderful. Just when it looked like, the dying fish flapping on the dock in the hot sun (Steele) was about to be put out of his misery, Newt jumps in and works hard to prolong the agony!

    You can't buy this kind of fabulous entertainment. Its super to see the republicans destroy time, money, and credibility in such huge chunks.

    April 6, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  25. Sniffit

    If Orange Glow and/or Beaker become leader of their chamber, we'll basically have to watch Congress do absolutely nothing for 2 years while everyone suffers for it. The funnest part will be listening to the GOPers yammer about how it's all because the Dems obstructed their grand plans (of which they really have none) that would have helped middle-class families (i.e., given corporate america a giant bj).

    April 6, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
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