August 2nd, 2010
03:45 PM ET
4 years ago

Steele 'punked' by journalist posing as GOP donor

RNC chairman Michael Steele opened up to a Republican donor who turned out to be a conservative journalist.
RNC chairman Michael Steele opened up to a Republican donor who turned out to be a conservative journalist.

Washington (CNN) – Despite his trademark bluster, Michael Steele hasn't exactly been committal when facing questions about a possible second term as Republican National Committee chairman.

"It's in the hands of the members," he shrugged to reporters at the RNC's winter meeting in Hawaii.

But in an unorthodox interview with a conservative journalist posted online Monday, Steele proclaimed that a second term is all but certain - and he brushed aside news of a potential challenge from former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman.

"Norm is an old friend. Norm is not going to challenge me for RNC chairman," Steele declared in phone interview with journalist Evan Gahr, who called Steele at his home posing as a GOP donor. "If he does I'll put my record up against anyone who comes after to me. I feel confident we'll get re-elected. I'm not worried about that part of it."

An RNC spokesman verified the authenticity of the July 26 phone call, which Gahr transcribed on his website under the headline, "Punking Michael Steele."

Steele, unaware that he was speaking to a reporter, boasted that his win and loss record "is better than any chairman in the last 10 years," a dubious claim considering that the vast majority of 2010 races have yet to be decided.

When Gahr revealed his true identity, Steele questioned his journalistic ethics. But Steele also admitted he wouldn't have answered questions had Gahr identified himself as a reporter.

"If I did you wouldn't have talked to me," Gahr told him.

"That's probably true because I'm not doing any interviews," Steele answered. "Activists call all the time. They don't try to sneak an interview. That is not kosher."


Filed under: 2010 • Michael Steele • Popular Posts • RNC
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. ib

    Steele needs to go; he just doesn't do the job that needs to be done.

    August 2, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. james

    I guess I'll just have to wonder with the rest of America what the big deal is. Just another liberal brat who thinks he's done a big thing.

    August 2, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  3. Kat

    That is poor form, even for a reporter.

    He puffed himself up to draw in a potential donor, not that shocking.

    August 2, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  4. JOhn

    Maybe if the reporter had dressed up as a pimp, he would have been a hero.

    August 2, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  5. Robert Wooller

    I'm not being racist, but how much did this guy not sell out when joining the GOP? If it hadn't been for MLk and Obama, wouldn't have people like Steele. They woudn't be allowed to mess up, because they woudn'tb e in power. How many blacks in GOp is not a lot. A total total sell out.

    August 2, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. RCasson

    This man is a train wreck...

    August 2, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    Keep up the babble Mushmouth...who needs credibility anyway, right?

    August 2, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  8. GL

    Steele is nothing but a big sucker. He willnot be re-elected.

    August 2, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "Steele also admitted he wouldn't have answered questions had Gahr identified himself as a reporter."

    And there you have it....because crazy, incoherent beliefs and ideas are much better when kept secret. Just ask Sharon "Obtuse" Angle, right Mushmouth?

    August 2, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. DENNA

    Hahaahaa. Ah, I just love Mike Steele. He is just as entertaining as Sarah and just the best friends that the Democrats have. In fact, I think 2012 should be a Steele/Palin or Palin/Steele ticket. Sorry, I've got to go now. I'm chocking on my own laughter.

    August 2, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  11. SC Democrat

    Oh please. Unless this reporter re-edited Steele's replies – maybe inserting different questions? – nobody has any reason to complain about his "ethics." And it's not exactly a news flash that Steele has a high opinion of himself, however un-deserved.

    August 2, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Steele is a corrupt politician no less...

    August 2, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  13. kbcarter

    James Carville was right about dragging a dollar through a trailer park.

    Then, you land white trash like Paula Jones.

    Nowadays, you hook a buffoon like Steele.

    August 2, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  14. T'SAH from Virginia

    Steele GET REAL!!! You are not going to WIN and you better hold onto your seat before they KICK U 2 the CURB now!!!

    You really believe they LOVE you – PA-LEEEEEEZE!!!!!

    August 2, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  15. GL

    Every time he is in the news it is bad news. I hope the Republicans do re-elected in his is the best friend the dems have besides Sara Palin.

    August 2, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  16. Nick Mann

    Dems show their racist colors when they bash Steele.

    August 2, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  17. ART

    Isn't this the same idiot who blatantly lied and called the war in Afganistan a war of Obama"s choosing? Does this man have a brain or is it a prerequisite of the Republicans not to have one

    August 2, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  18. Josh

    He only got that job because of his race. That's the GOP's answer to Pres Obama, not.
    Obama can eat his lunch, no match. Besides, Steele is clown.

    August 2, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  19. La Piovra

    It appears the right-wing press will set up even one of "their" pols, so long as he's b***k. Of course, if he complains, he'll be "playing the race card". In this case, tho, it couldn't have happened to a sweeter (Oreo) cookie.

    August 2, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  20. Kevin from Co

    The journalist used the term punked. How old is he, 12? Or is that the maturity level of most Libs? I think the answer is yes.

    August 2, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Big deal. He wants to serve another term. No shocker.

    August 2, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  22. shs

    This is very questionable journalistic practice even if it seems funny that it happened to Michael Steele. Notice that the article refers to Evan Gahr as a "conservative journalist." His website seems to bear that out, and asserts that Gahr is "a journalist not a blogger." While it may be funny to see Michael Steele get punked (and the turnabout may be fair play at some level), the most remarkable aspect of this little story is that the punker is a conservative pseudo-journalist turning on one of his own.

    August 2, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Marie in Md.: O'Malley is looking like the only viable alternative for us.

    @ Beverly who so poignantly asked of CNN:
    "Where are the respectful stories on the successes and leadership our President is delivering?"
    --------------------------------
    I've been asking myself and CNN the same question for quite sometime now.

    Who truly cares about this lightweight, yet typical story concerning Michael Steele? What real impact has this man had on current events? I mean, even Sarah Palin is more relevant than he is,and mind you she's a fool, but he's a tool.

    Steele is forever portraying himself to be more relevant, and important than he will EVER be. There is something extremely sad about a grown man not realizing when he is being used, and being incapable of admitting his ineffectiveness. Steele has ZERO impact: good or bad, and that's pathetic.

    We can at least bank on the never-was has-been Sarah to effectively start a war. Yet Steele......yawn.

    The country thirsts for unity. During these hard times people clamor for hope. You can be instrumental in changing the face, and heart of this nation CNN. Please don't be a tool like Steele, or foolish like Sarah. We expect more from you.

    August 2, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  24. TOTUS 4 PRESIDENT

    Don't see any problem or "gatcha" here at all. Steele simply made statements that you would expect him to make. All the whacked out loony lib Dems must be so disappointed at Gahr's dismal FAIL.

    August 2, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  25. Darth Vadik, CA

    meanwhile....

    ...two Democrats are under ethics investigations...

    ...and five Republicans are under CRIMINAL investigations....

    August 2, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
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