May 1st, 2009
03:27 PM ET
13 years ago

Gingrich insult rankles RNC members

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Gingrich said Thursday that RNC members think they are 'precious.'"]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Several members of the Republican National Committee are miffed at Newt Gingrich for claiming that they’re a small bunch of egomaniacs who need to be coddled by the party chairman.

“Newt needs to take a breath,” New Jersey committeeman David Norcross told CNN.

Gingrich made the assertion on C-SPAN Thursday when asked about a new resolution put forth by some veteran members - including Norcross and RNC Treasurer Randy Pullen of Arizona - that would limit chairman Michael Steele’s ability to control how the committee spends its money.

That resolution has sparked a fresh round of infighting between Steele loyalists on the committee and entrenched members who backed other candidates for the chairmanship and remain skeptical of his leadership.

Defending Steele’s tumultuous start, Gingrich said the chairman might be under fire from some in the committee because he “probably has not yet learned the art of massaging the egos of RNC members.”

“They all think they’re precious, and they all think they should be taken care of, and they all think the job of the chairman, first of all, is to make the RNC members happy,” Gingrich said of the committee’s 168 members.

Tennessee GOP chairwoman Robin Smith objected to that suggestion, saying that “RNC members, on the whole, are committed individuals who sincerely work for the best of our party.”

“Forming circular firing squads only gives aid to the Democrats who are doing quite nicely in undercutting the public trust in our government,” Smith said.

Ada Fisher, committeewoman from North Carolina, said RNC members are not “as ego driven as some professional politicians and pundits would like to believe.”

“Most of us are not receiving large sums from being on television, serving as commentators, giving speeches or writing books, nor do we devote our waking hours to playing politics,” Fisher said in a thinly veiled jab at Gingrich.

Another committee member called the former Speaker’s remarks a “gross generalization.”

But other RNC members sympathetic to Steele sided with Gingrich and defended the chairman’s three-month tenure at the party helm. Steele backers said the new chairman is engaging with state parties and grassroots activists in ways not seen since the GOP was last out of power during the Clinton administration.

California GOP chairman Ron Nehring boasted that the RNC under Steele “is about partnerships with the states, and that’s good news for everyone.”

“Newt is right that RNC members believe they are ‘precious,’” said California committee member Shawn Steel. “However, Michael is more popular than ever. He communicates much more frequently than the prior chair."

North Carolina Republican party chair Linda Daves, who backed South Carolina GOP chairman Katon Dawson during the race for the RNC chairmanship, knocked the members who are now pushing the resolution to regulate Steele’s financial powers.

“I think some of the members should spend more time trying to build the party on the state level and spend less time trying to micromanage the RNC and trying to tear down Michael Steele,” Daves said.

Norcross argued that the good governance resolution is only being proposed to fill the vacuum left by the retirement of veteran RNC comptroller Jay Banning, who was let go by the committee last month after more than 30 years. He said that oversight of the chairman’s purse strings by the committee is nothing new.

“Newt ought to get his facts right,” Norcross said. “My ego does not need to be taken care of, but my Treasurer does.”

A spokesman for the RNC did not respond to a request for comment about Gingrich’s C-SPAN appearance.

Filed under: Michael Steele • Newt Gingrich • Popular Posts • RNC
soundoff (179 Responses)
  1. Fred NJ

    Newt makes some good points.
    However, Binden should KEEP HIS FOOL MOUTH shut.. Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb are running the country...into the ground! Mass layoffs, tumbling economic data, giving away state secrets, prosecuting brave men and women who protected us, this is the first 100 days. God help us.

    May 1, 2009 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  2. bob

    Ms. Smith from TN. needs to get a grip on reality. The party lost direction and she as well as Norcross is part of the reason. The Republicans have been out of touch for a long time. Since 1960 they have only been able to get 3 presidents elected while the Democrats have been able to get 5 elected. The Republicans need new approaches and new outlooks on all matters. It's time that the Republicans take back the party from the right wingers that control it now. Democrats need to take back their party from the left wingers. The extremists in both parties should not be the ones who decide the direction of either party.

    May 1, 2009 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  3. P Stevens

    This proves once again that the republicans are on the verge of destroying themselves. Their only hope of survival lies in breaking up the party. This party has moved so far to the right that it no longer recognises a center. They must lose the far right- maybe they can join the Klan or something – or go down.

    May 1, 2009 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  4. Mike S.

    It's refreshing to watch Republicans implode. I'm sure Rush is going to give him a whoopin in the right wing neocon nutjob woodshed very soon.

    May 1, 2009 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  5. Rick from Murfreesboro, TN

    I guess the truth hurts.

    May 1, 2009 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  6. ronvan

    The republicans have become so mundane & out of touch with reality that they are hardly newsworthy anymore.

    May 1, 2009 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  7. Chamorrita, MD

    Gingrich needs to just SHUT UP, he's making himself look stupid.

    May 1, 2009 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  8. Mel of Alexandria

    This is a case of the occupants fussing about the decorations of the house while termites are destroying the foundation. It will not be long before the complete crash. When that happens, it will not matter where in the house one sits or stands, everyone will be hurting.

    It is time to call in the terminator.

    May 1, 2009 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  9. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    Yawn, Newt the RNC has had plenty of chances to restore freedom and liberty to our great nation and blew it! After thirty years of flat out lies this party is just not trust worthy in the mission of restoring the Republic.
    I used to think I was alone in my desire for Freedom, but as it turns out what you once observed as the silent majority is still out there looking for some true leadership for the entire nation.
    The time for the end of progressive ideals and big government is at hand. Our freedom and liberty is our right set forth by the US Constitution and we will see it restored to all.

    May 1, 2009 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  10. Yossi Gestetner

    Am a registered Repub & a conservative on issuess, yet I think it is way passed the time for Gingrich to go home and shut the hell up.

    May 1, 2009 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  11. JonDie

    "Tennessee GOP chairwoman Robin Smith: 'RNC members...are committed individuals who sincerely work for the best of our party.' "

    That's the problem; the RNC certainly doesn't work for the good of the American people.

    '...the Democrats...are...undercutting the public trust in our government' "

    By the Democrats' criminal decision to invade Iraq for the benefit of Halliburton, the Democrats' mismanagement of the war in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2009 as well as by the Democrats' handling of the response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005? I don't think so. Smith needs to do a little research.

    The Republican philosophy from 2001 to 2009 was to deliberately make sure the government failed miserably at everything it that the American people would beg for a Republican-guided corporate dictatorship to replace our democratic traditions of more than 200 years.

    May 1, 2009 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  12. ann

    For once, I actually agree with Gingrich. They are a bunch of egomaniacs who know less about running a country than half of the teenagers in America.

    May 1, 2009 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  13. WI Vet

    Republican will attack any thing that moves. They are vicious even to there own kin.

    May 1, 2009 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  14. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Tennessee GOP chairwoman Robin Smith objected to that suggestion, saying that “RNC members, on the whole, are committed individuals who sincerely work for the best of our party.”

    And thereabouts is the problem GOP! You said you are committed individuals who sincerely work for the best of your PARTY, not the best interests of our COUNTRY. You and the rest of the GOP just do NOT get it and will not get for the next 16 or more years until you change your attitudes toward US.

    May 1, 2009 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  15. Judi

    I wish the RNC members would work for the best for our country rather than the best for their party as Robin Smith indicated. We would probably not be in the mess we are in now were that so.

    May 1, 2009 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  16. Cleaning up after W

    Luvin' it. Watching the GOP eat itself is better than a night at the movies. Pass the popcorn....

    May 1, 2009 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  17. Stanley in DC

    Thanks to Obama, our country is going down the toilet.

    May 1, 2009 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  18. Marie

    Everyone has to remember the GOP has to keep their party pure and not allow any diversity into their ranks. Since they are all in favor of torture perhaps a rite of admission would be a good sound water boarding to make a person cough up any dirty little secrets they might have.

    May 1, 2009 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  19. R in Maine

    So far, no one is acting in the best interests of the party, and it seems likely that they never will.

    May 1, 2009 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  20. No Grumpy Old Men

    Wow, Newt speaks the truth.

    May 1, 2009 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  21. Julie

    If Gingrich is thinking about running for office, don't bother. He's the same as all the other Republicans who have held office for so long. Vote them all out!

    May 1, 2009 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  22. jill

    Okay there is the problem right here the woman from Tennesse just said they work for the good of their party, they are suppose to be working for the good of the people. When are they going to realize they were not hired to represent a party but a people.

    May 1, 2009 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  23. J.Crobuzon

    Actually the Democrats are restoring America's faith in the system; it was a fairly close race but obviously a huge number of Republicans voted Democrat and their votes were counted honestly. No GOP/Diebold cabal was able to keep the Rove Government in office, and now some Chicago lawyer nobody heard of five years ago is making a bunch of openly desperate moves to get the economy redirected from supporting Halliburton in Afghanistan back to supporting American businesses and farms. It's not the kind of OH MY GOD!!! dramatics Newt would like, and no one is selling their soul to Satan except Cheney(to keep his lizard heart beating in his chest), but it's normal American politics again! Bush did NOT wreck our system; there IS hope that we can one day be Americans together again.

    May 1, 2009 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  24. DSH

    I log on to CNN political ticker every morning just to keep up with my RNC soaps. It doesn't get any better than this. I can't wait to find out what happens with these idiots tomorrow.

    I haven't seen much from Palin lately. Isn't she overdue for some inane drama?

    May 1, 2009 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  25. Tom

    Gingrich, while he may be sometimes obnoxious, usually says what he thinks. And probably isn't too far off the mark on this one.

    May 1, 2009 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
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