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. Chris from NC

    One thing's for sure, they won't get very far in the midterms if they can't rally behind one leader, as Newt Gingrich knows from when he spearheaded the effort to take back Congress in '94. On top of that, the question still stands: how can the GOP tout fiscal conservatism when they don't have their own ducks in a row? Until they can iron out their debt and get their moral image in check, they'll continue to look like a den of hypocrites.

    April 6, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  2. David

    Listen to Newt Gingrich! He failed the GOP before with his errors in judgment. What the GOP truly needs is for all the old-timers to retire or just shut-up, and drop the old ways. The complacent old stagnate ideas of the past are sinking the GOP.

    April 6, 2010 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  3. Spotter

    I agree. When I look at how Pelosi & Reid have corrupted the process it leaves no doubt we need to get behind Steele. He has done fine work and this is all just a distraction from their failed leadership.

    April 6, 2010 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  4. Albert R. K.

    John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are Global Corporatist and could not care less about middle class Americans. They and others in Congress should impeach the Supreme Court 5, Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito, because they have become destructive of the Fundamental Rights endowed upon We the People by a Creator, have committed a national security high crime, have breached their oath, have seized a power not granted to the Court of endowing unalienable rights to fictitious entities thereby aiding these domestic, foreign, or global corporations to influence our lawmaking and elections with unlimited cash bribes. The reason such power was not granted to the Court is because We the People do not even have such a power, but only a Creator. All these Corporatist must be removed from government!

    April 6, 2010 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  5. JD from Moraga, CA

    Oh Newt – they're getting behind Steele all right. Way, way behind. Everybody knows that he's the "token" in the GOP and was simply put in place to be the "anti-Obama." The ploy hasn't worked out – time to move on.

    April 6, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  6. steve

    Let us not clean the skeletons out of our own Republican closet until we have cleaned the neighbors entire Democratic house. Isn't that the way it has always been?

    April 6, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  7. CHIPS

    Wishful thinking Gingrich. Your party is doomed for the next 20 – 30 years.

    April 6, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  8. Chut Pata

    Republicans are losing because they have stopped listening to visionaries like Gingrich, the guy who took the houses from Democrats. Republican party is now taken over by racist and religious bigots, who are no more than mouthpieces of Corporate America. This is the reason I voted Obama this election.

    If true conservatives are to reclaim their party, they need to do away from comics like Palin, Limbaugh etc and support serious customers like Steele.

    April 6, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  9. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Steele is a loser.... but then so are all Republicans....

    April 6, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  10. CHIPS

    Wishful thinking Gingrich. Your party is doomed for the next 20 – 30 years.
    So is your fake Obama and take the fake Hillary Palin with you.

    April 6, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  11. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    I do not see these shameful or embarrassing republican antics as being any different from their normal day to day activities. There is no fiscal responsibility or family values in the party of lies, fear and hate. It amazes me that Fox news allows this to continue within their own extreme media owned party.

    April 6, 2010 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  12. Al in Florida

    Yeah – get behind him....waaaaaayyyyyy behind him. wouldn't want any of that mud being slung at him to hit you guys.

    April 6, 2010 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  13. rdepontb

    Newt = old guard that got us into trouble in the first place. He was fine for his time, and somehow managed the "revolution" and all, but that was political eons ago.

    Steele is too much of that old school as well, and this is no time for him to keep messing up as he's been doing. As Justice Stevens says, time to fish or cut bait...let Steele work his magic, whatever that is, out of the glare of publicity. That is, let him move on from RNC Chairmanship.

    April 6, 2010 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  14. Roger in StL

    "I think what we ought to do is focus on Democrats."

    Really, I thought the job of a politician was to focus on the American people and work for them. Win elections based on what you DO, not what you don't do or how loud you can talk.

    ALL elections should be every 4 years so that 6 months after an election they aren't working towards the election the following year and can concentrate on the job at hand. Stop focusing on the other party and make this country a better place to live.

    April 6, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  15. American Patriot - a true "tea partier"

    Yes! Listen to the Newt! Do as the Newt says! Get behind Steele or you won't get another free lap dance when you support the GOP.

    The lap dances must be preserved for posterity.

    :: laughs hysterically at the stupidity and the hypocrisy ::

    And remember - Newt excels at the magician's trick of trying to make you look in one direction and not looking in the direction where all the shenanigans are going on - In his very own words, "I think it's foolish to focus on Michael Steele as a person. I think what we ought to do is focus on Democrats."

    Uh, the Democrats weren't pimping prostitutes to GOP supporters, Newt. you really need to remember that.

    April 6, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  16. John, Black Citizen

    If the GOP is spending donors money like this, image how they will be spending the public's tax money. REPUBLICAN VOTERS, DON'T BE FOOLED AGAIN. aka George Bush and 911.

    April 6, 2010 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  17. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Newtie says keep donating to the GOP's own inept political party. As long as there are republicans, there will be a culture of corruption.

    April 6, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  18. chuck

    In order to get rid of these embarrassing headlines, lets just deflect, fog, obscure, extinguish, divert, fend off, obfuscate, avoid and avert reality and charge head first back into the problems of the Democrats instead. It is always so much easier to castigate Nancy Pelosi than to confront our own Republican demons. Besides, bashing Pelosi is something that our testosterone driven party can get behind.

    April 6, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  19. Brink

    "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."

    America, think of the damage that could be done to this country with that scenario when you are voting in November. And thank Newt for the warning.

    April 6, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  20. elaine

    Steele is super for the job, however let us hire someone to watch his every move. I wouldn't call that confidence.

    April 6, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  21. Steve in Denver

    Go figure. Newt "I cheated on my wife WHILE I was impeaching Clinton for the same thing" doesn't see an issue with spending party money at a strip club.

    And these dreams of the mid-terms. I know history is on their side, but come November, with progress in Afghanistan, progress on jobs, and as the voters see that the health care bill is nothing like what the lying republicans represent it as, I think voters will be angry at the liars.

    And, really, at least John Edwards is hiding in shame. Tiger Woods isn't out there leading the so called "family values" party. Newt: you are an immoral person. Get out of the spotlight.

    April 6, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  22. KTM

    I'm sorry Chairmen Steele, I give you all the credit you deserve for raising large sums of money for the RNC, the problem is that you've also been spending large sums of money for the RNC. Donors like me are extremely sensitive about where their money is being spent. The tanking economy only makes that fact all the more clearer.

    April 6, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  23. Tim

    Newt the Womanizer continues his spin while the RNC stumbles over itself. I wonder when "Contract for America II" will come out. The last one worked so well...

    April 6, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  24. Ms. Brenda Scott

    Greetings!..Please!..Nobody really cares what Newt Gingrich,thinks...He is similar to Mc Cain his time has cime and gone.Michael Steele is a sad, story...He needs to talk less about how he is similar to President Obama,which is so very untrue...The Big so-called Republicans.....John Boehner, Mitch Mc Connell, and so many unnamed members of ThE RNC, would be embarassing ,but glad to see Michael Steele, resign, switch parties anything but be the Republican voice

    April 6, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  25. Greg Smith

    The republicans are too worried about regaining power to do anything constructive. Their history shows they do not govern well. Boehner and Mitchell are perfect examples of that. They have obstructed the business of congress in an attempt to regain power. Everyone in congress should get a lesson on why they are there.

    April 6, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
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