November 9th, 2010
10:56 AM ET
3 years ago

Steele hits back at GOP critics, defends record

(CNN) – As he contemplates reelection for a second term heading up the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele is lashing out at fellow members of his party who he says "don't want me in this job."

"They don't want me in this job, to put it rather bluntly," Steele told NPR Monday. "That has been a concerted effort since I got the job."

Steele's remarks were prompted by recent comments from Republican Governors Association Chairman Haley Barbour, who expressed criticism over the RNC's lack of fundraising prowess during the last election cycle.

Other Republicans have also taken aim at the RNC for executing a poor get-out-the-vote effort in the remaining days leading up to Election Day, a factor some say limited what could have been greater GOP gains in the House and Senate.

"I will say this time, the RNC was not able to do what they've often done in the past," Barbour, the governor of Mississippi, told Fox News last week. "The Governors Association, the Senate House campaign committees and others, had to scramble around and increase their gathering of resources beyond what normally would be the case because the RNC was not able to do what it had done in the past."

Days before the election, the RNC said it raised $167 million over the last election cycle – close to $30 million more than the Democratic National Committee raised in the comparable 2006 midterm elections.

But this year, the RNC lagged the DNC in total fundraising by more than $10 million, and it was forced to take out a $2 million loan in September.

In his interview with NPR, Steele pointed to fundraising restrictions placed on the national committees not subject to the RGA or the congressional committees, and said President Obama's star power is largely the reason the DNC was able to raise more cash.

"They can raise unlimited cash from all donors and corporations. I can't do that," he said, referring to the RGA. "I can only take individual money up to $30,000. And yet, we raised $185 million.

Steele also pointed to the GOP's success at the ballot box over the last two years as evidence the RNC has proved effective under his leadership.

"None of my predecessors have been able to put together the kind of combination of wins. And it's because we tried to make the party more grassroots oriented – not top down, but bottom up," said Steele.

soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    put it rather bluntly," Steele told NPR Monday. "That has been a concerted effort since I got the job."
    --------------------------------------------------
    NAWWWWW!!
    Ya think Mikey?!
    You're too old to be this stupid Mikey. And you won't even have unemployment, they're getting rid of that too.

    November 9, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  2. jules sand-perkins

    I believe that Govenor Haley Barbour would make an excellent chairman for the RNC.
    He has done a good job in his state office, as well as in the RGA–and he has style.

    November 9, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  3. Ken

    Forget it Steele. You're right, they don't want you in that position not matter how good you are. You could walk on water, lay a golden egg, or double republican registrations and they still won't want you. Welcome to Obama's world.

    November 9, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  4. Emerson

    GOP, please keep this guy around. He has been a great help to the Democratic party.

    November 9, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  5. jules sand-perkins

    Surely Steele doesn't believe that he deserves credit for Republican wins on November 2, 2010.
    ALL of the credit for those GOP victories goes directly to President Obama.
    We all know that.

    November 9, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  6. Sniffit

    Bye bye Mushmouth. You were entertaining for a little while at least, but they've got you in their sites.

    November 9, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  7. tom jones

    oh yeah, for a moment u sounded like President Obama. that has been the concerted effort since I got the job? Werent the republicans after Obama the very first day he got the job and u helped them advance that goal mr. house .....? Welcome to the club!

    November 9, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  8. CBR

    Mr. Steele doe not ingratiate himself to many Republicans when he continually complains about them. He probably has been in the news too many times. He does not represent the new right.

    Mr. Steele may not be conservative enough for the Republican right I think his problems are just the tip of the iceberg for Republicans who are more moderate. The intent is to have party officials who all have the same agenda. When I visited the GOP website I was surprised to see Al Franken's picture. Don't believe that was helpful at all. There is no place for everyday Republicans to give their views. Halley Barbour, Newt Gingrich and others will have their say about the party chairmanship. Mr. Steele's constant criticisms do not help his cause.

    November 9, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    ALL of the credit for those GOP victories goes directly to President Obama.
    --------------------------------------------------
    Ummmm, no. Don't think so.
    Everyone knows the credit for that goes directly to the dumbing down of America and, misinformed senior citizens. The seniors are regretting their vote as we speak; the others are too stupid to realize their mistake. But give them time.

    November 9, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  10. once upon a horse

    just like they are doing with Sarah Palin..the GOP is using Mike Steele and he is either too DUMB to realize it or he just doesn't care. At least Sarah is getting well paid for being for being used. If it wasn't for Obama being the first AA president in history, Mike Steele would not even be the household name he is today. The GOP made their point, if you can call it that, about being diverse, and since they have the House now and Obama's ratings are on the downswing, Steele is no longer needed. They also have a few more Black Republicans in Congress so Mr. Steele your tokenism is no longer needed.

    November 9, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "And you won't even have unemployment, they're getting rid of that too."

    No kidding. He better hope he doesn't live in a red state that is looking to do things like get rid of Medicaid, etc., in a bid to get minorities to move out.

    November 9, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  12. David H

    I hope they keep him. He's such a joke and a good laugh.

    November 9, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  13. John J, IN

    We've been out to get you, because you are a constant gaffe-making clown, with no organizational skills and even less competence. Duh.

    November 9, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  14. Truthwillsetyoufree

    This is really a great comedy show. Can't wait till next season when they reveal someone with brains... Exciting!

    November 9, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |