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. Jeffcorrning

    Anything to be relevant again huh Newt?

    May 1, 2009 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  2. cindy

    What is wrong with these people? In my 52 years I can't remember the RNC so out of control. These old guys who keep trying the same ole same ole and expect different results could take a few lessons from Meagan McCain. She seems to be the smartest one the bunch, and I'm a democrat. I have watched her many times, and admire her. She has a powerful message, realizes they need to change, get with the program.

    May 1, 2009 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  3. Deb - Ohio

    It's no wonder they can't direct their energies in a positive way. They won't even show support for those within their own party! The RNC needs to wake up and figure out what values are really important to their party and the American people, instead of spending all their time criticizing each other, as well as others.

    May 1, 2009 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  4. David

    Just now these people are realizing that Newt Gingrich is something of a jerkstore? How many wives with cancer does a man have to dump before people get the picture?

    May 1, 2009 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  5. WOW!!!!

    Does Micheal Steele now see that his is just another black man? The old guard doesnt want him having control of "their" money. That is why there is such a problem. This party is all about exclusion. That is the problem. I wonder if Sean Hannity still supports him. It doesn't really matter since Limbaugh controls the party. Right? Riiiigghhttt!!!!

    May 1, 2009 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  6. No Incumbents 2010

    the GOP infighting soap opera continues.....Gingrich is the real egomaniac

    May 1, 2009 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  7. Mark

    Simple case of the blind leading the stupid.

    May 1, 2009 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  8. arron

    My prediction-the GOP will cease to exist in a few years.

    May 1, 2009 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  9. Had It

    Same old faces, same old words, same old prejudices and fear.

    The new OLD RNC

    May 1, 2009 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  10. proud army navy mom

    Tennessee GOP chairwoman Robin Smith objected

    why would anyone with a brain believe anything the Tn Gop says. They are the saddest bunch of backwards intolerances that this country has seen.

    They just voted to allow citizens to carry guns to campus, nightclubs and public events. Please don't take the word of hillbillies people.

    May 1, 2009 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  11. Jim

    That's one of the most intelligent comments I've ever heard Newt say.

    May 1, 2009 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  12. Chris ~ Albany, NY

    Fight, fight, fight, fight, fight, fight.......................well at least the republicans are good for a laugh!

    May 1, 2009 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  13. proud army navy mom

    infighting between Steele loyalists

    Steele HAS loyalists. How many? from where? surely not in the South. He was only elected so the repugs could say that are inclusive. Of course they are not, because they are liars.

    May 1, 2009 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  14. shucks

    Could they not be bowled over with Steele because they are racists? Just a thought. We have seen the republicans throw the race card around more than at any time in our history. It has always been in such a manner that they think it is not visible. Americans who care have seen it, heard it, and denounced it. Those who live the philosophy of racism have a very difficult time with Mr. Steele. They just can't come out and say it is because he is black, they just cover their real thoughts with quips and quirks. Mr. Steel is the republican token and everyone who can think a coherent thought knows it.

    May 1, 2009 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  15. Corwin7

    Typical Republican logic...the party is going down in flames but lets worry about who's in charge of the money. Still I suppose when your entire world is dominated by a single philosophy i.e. "Greed is GOOD!!" then picking one of the myriad of the most accomplished thieves and cheats to "guard the hoard" might be challenging for any level of intellect.

    May 1, 2009 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  16. Royster

    Hell hath no fury like a Gingrich scorned. Since he can't be in control he throws stones at the glass house that is now the Republican party.

    May 1, 2009 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  17. jim mann

    Gingrich this is the beagining of your end in poltics ,dont rufflwe the wrong feathers you are a bigger dumbo than them and tal kstupid .Nobody listens but you and some of your wife,s ex,s hahah,love ot hear yourself talk ,jerk>If you cheat on you wifes you will cheat inUSA government you did it in 1990 nad lost your job and al respect,never to rreturn to office ,brainless Newt

    May 1, 2009 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  18. Amy

    I believe the RNC only chose Steele to "head" their party because he is African American. They never had any intentions of letting him "lead"-he was chosen to be their African American puppet, to do what they say, when they say it. First they make him eat his own words. Now they try to limit his control of the purse strings.

    Why didn't they learn their lesson after the Palin fiasco? You can't pick someone because they are a woman or a minority just for show.

    This is why the RNC is a miserable, failing party. The only people who really matter to them are rich, old, white men.

    May 1, 2009 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  19. Dawn

    The GOP is chasing its own tail. Hearing Rep. Michelle Bachmann and Rep. Fox unreal. I think they need someone to make people go ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The GOP does not quite listen to the American People, they think that we all think like them, not all Americans are Conservatives, some are actual Liberals. I am a Liberal, but I can see both sides, not tp far left or not to far right.

    I guess they need to climb out of the Wilderness....

    May 1, 2009 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  20. David

    And the GOP continues to implode.

    May 1, 2009 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  21. Is it 2013 yet?

    They are no different than the coddled Democrats who are even more sanctimonius and full of it.

    Newt is right, these fools want all Republicans to think like all other Republicans where EVERYONE agrees exactly and that is what is killing the party.

    Let Steele do his job and DON'T ever apologize to that fat blowhard Rush Limberger again, WE WELCOME MODERATE views as well.

    The only person I agree with a 100 percent is ME and the Republican party needs to welcome people that they agree with on most things.

    Spend less and protect us more than the Democrats should be the two main points.

    May 1, 2009 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  22. Deanna Grissom

    Good Gosh is there NO ONE in politics these days that is an adult???? I mean on both sides of the isle!!! The Dems FINALLY get control and Evan BYBY steps up to damage his OWN PARTY and now we have the Republicans splitting in 2 over control of a smidgen of money!!

    May 1, 2009 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  23. MJS

    I can't believe I read this... “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.

    What undercut trust in government was the 8 years Bush and his puppeteers completely dismantled the Constitution piece by piece. The RNC needs to take the blinders off and realize this is not 1985, nor is it 2001.

    May 1, 2009 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  24. ran

    Party Party Party that is all the GOP talks about. Never about the people.

    May 1, 2009 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  25. Will-South Dakota

    Wonder if Newt likes ketchup with foot in mouth dishes. The GOP will eat him up now or tell Senator Specter to take Newt with him.

    May 1, 2009 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
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