Washington (CNN) – Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele was forced to cancel an appearance Friday before a national meeting of black journalists due to food poisoning.
"While traveling out West the Chairman came down with a bad case of food poisoning," an RNC spokesman said in an email to CNN. "He is disappointed to miss the opportunity to take part in this valuable dialogue and looks forward to engaging with NABJ in the very near future."
Steele had been in New Mexico on Thursday to attend a fundraiser for GOP gubernatorial nominee Susana Martinez.
The RNC spokesman told CNN that Steele had not been to the hospital, but that the chairman had consulted a doctor.
Steele was scheduled to address the National Association of Black Journalists, which is holding its annual meeting in San Diego.
Read the full NABJ statement:
National Association of Black Journalists Convention Convention Chair, Elise Durham was informed by Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele’s advance team this morning that Michael Steele was canceling his panel discussion scheduled for 4:00 pm today because of food poisoning.
The RNC statement reads, "While traveling out West the Chairman came down with a bad case of food poisoning. He is disappointed to miss the opportunity to take part in this valuable dialogue and looks forward to engaging with NABJ in the very near future."
Steele was scheduled to appear at NABJ one day after former USDA Regional Rural Director Shirley Sherrod indicated that she will take legal action against conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart, who she said caused her to lose her job.
Sherrod , who appeared before hundreds of journalists at the NABJ Convention yesterday, was forced to resign after Breitbart posted a video excerpt of a speech she gave to the NAACP and accused her being a racist.
Steele is scheduled to appear at a RNC fundraiser with Breitbart in California next month.
When asked by Durham if there was any relationship between his cancellation and the fundraiser, Special Assistant to the Chairman, Joey Smith said, “We don’t comment on our finance events and never have.”
–Dawn Angelique Roberts Communications Chair, National Association of Black Journalists