WASHINGTON (CNN) – There are now just five candidates in the race to chair the Republican National Committee.
Chip Saltsman, the former Tennessee GOP chairman who managed Mike Huckabee’s underdog presidential campaign, is out of the running after failing to garner enough support to file as an official candidate.
According to committee rules, each of the six contenders for chairman were required to submit a list of at least three “nominating states” by 5 P.M. ET on Thursday, meaning a candidate must demonstrate support from a majority of committee members in at least three different states.
Saltsman did not file to run for chair by the deadline, according to an RNC aide. He did not make an appearance at the Thursday session of the RNC Winter Meeting in Washington, where the rest of the candidates were busy whipping up votes.
An aide to Saltsman did not respond to an e-mail request for comment.
Saltsman stumbled out the gate in the weeks after launching his bid when he sent party members a parody CD that included a song called “Barack the Magic Negro.” Under the weight of the negative media attention that followed, he failed to attract a single public endorsement from an RNC member.
UPDATE: Saltsman's letter to supporters announcing he's dropping out after the jump
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A much-anticipated special meeting between Republican National Committee members and the men seeking to lead the party will now take place behind closed doors after the members voted to prohibit non-party members from attending.
The meeting was originally scheduled to be open to reporters and other Republicans not on the committee, but after a roll call vote, it was determined there were not enough RNC members present for a quorum. Since the meeting would then only be an unofficial gathering, the members present were allowed to vote on how to proceed, and chose to bar the media from the session.
Now, the six contenders for RNC chair will present their cases and face more than an hour of tough questions from committee members without television cameras and reporters looking over their shoulders.
One candidate, former Mike Huckabee campaign manager Chip Saltsman, said he would have been fine with the media in the room, but also said he welcomed the chance to speak candidly with members without the presence of reporters.
“Every candidate has got a different idea of where they want to take the party, and I think its important for us to get together, talk about it, and obviously let the membership decide where they want to take it,” he said, “because I see the members as the board of directors of this company.”
(CNN) – Tanks are rolling and bombs are falling as the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues with no end in sight.
In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, President Bush is responding to the current situation in Gaza, but will President-elect Obama inherit the crisis? CNN’s Elaine Quijano has the latest on how the political leaders are handling the events on the Gaza Strip.
Plus: Obama faces another kind of war when he inherits the presidency in January - one that takes place online. Cyberterrorism can halt traffic, freeze finances, and knock out water, sewers, and electricity. CNN’s Jeanne Meserve looks at what’s at stake in the Obama administration.
Plus: Republican National Committee chairman candidate Chip Saltsman sparked a firestorm of criticism with his decision to release a controversial Christmas CD featuring a parody song titled, “Barack the Magic Negro.” What does this mean for the GOP’s efforts to regroup after a tough year? CNN’s Jim Acosta takes a look at the political fallout.
Finally: Barack Obama has been hitting the gym for months, and the public has noticed - thanks to the now-famous shirtless photo taken on the beaches of Hawaii. CNN’s Ed Henry decides to follow Obama’s rigorous work-out schedule. But does he have what it takes to look like the President-elect?
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(CNN) – Republican Party reaction remains divided over the decision of a candidate for party chairman to distribute a CD that featured the parody tune “Barack the Magic Negro,” with the majority of Chip Saltsman’s political rivals criticizing the move.
Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan – battling to keep his job as head of the party – was the first prominent member of the GOP to criticize Saltsman for sending committee members the song.
"The 2008 election was a wake-up call for Republicans to reach out and bring more people into our party," RNC Chairman Mike Duncan said in a Saturday statement.
"I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate, as it clearly does not move us in the right direction."
Michigan party chairman Saul Anuzis also questioned Saltsman’s judgment. "In my opinion, this isn't funny and its in bad taste," he said in a statement. "Just as important, anything that paints the GOP as being motivated in our criticism of President-elect Obama by anything other than a difference in philosophy does a disservice to our party."
(CNN) – The chairman of the Republican National Committee has become the first major GOP figure to criticize a CD distributed by one of his challengers that included lyrics from a song called "Barack the Magic Negro."
"The 2008 election was a wake-up call for Republicans to reach out and bring more people into our party," Chairman Mike Duncan said in a statement reported by Politico Saturday afternoon. "I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate as it clearly does not move us in the right direction."
Chip Saltsman – who sent RNC members a parody CD for Christmas that included the controversial tune - defended his decision Friday, telling CNN the song was clearly intended as a joke.
(Update after the jump: Blackwell defends Saltsman)
(CNN) - A candidate for Republican National Committee chairman said Friday it was clear the content of a CD he sent committee members for Christmas - that included lyrics from a song called “Barack the Magic Negro” - was intended as a joke.
“I think most people recognize political satire when they see it,” Chip Saltsman told CNN. “I think RNC members understand that.” Saltsman, a former chair of the Tennessee Republican Party, was a top advisor to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and managed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign.
The song, set to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon,” was first played on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show in 2007. Its title was drawn from a Los Angeles Times column that suggested Obama appealed to those who feel guilty about the nation’s history of mistreatment of African-Americans. Saltsman said the song, penned by long-time friend Paul Shanklin, should be easily recognized as satire directed at the Times.
The parody CD sent to RNC members this Christmas, first reported by The Hill Friday, is titled “We Hate the USA”, and includes songs referencing former presidential John Edwards and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, among other targets.
(CNN) - Another Republican on Monday jumped into the race to head the Republican National Committee.
Chip Saltsman, the former head of the Tennessee Republican Party and the former campaign manger of Mike Huckabee's White House bid, said Monday he's best positioned to rebuild the party following its bruising defeats on Election Day.
“As Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party, campaign manager for a Republican presidential campaign, and business owner, I know how to compete and how to win,” he said. “Our party needs new and energetic leadership to rededicate ourselves to conservative principles, to regain the American voter's trust, and to set the stage for a dramatic turnaround in 2010 and beyond.”
Saltsman faces a long list of challengers: former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson, former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, and Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis have already declared they are seeking Duncan's job.