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. Buffalo

    Wow! I never thought Neo-Newt and I would share any opinion. Will miracles never cease? Next thing you know, we'll elect a black President.

    May 1, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  2. PAUL W.

    Newt calling other GOP out for being "egomaniacs?" I guess there must not be any mirrors in the Gingrich home.

    May 1, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  3. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    How long can he hold this smile. Newt needs to take a breath.

    May 1, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  4. Lynn

    Everything seems to "rankle" RNC members!! Circular firing squads??

    May 1, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  5. punkvoter

    Sweet. They're finally tearing each other's throats out.

    May 1, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  6. Ohio Man

    Does any of the GOP smile ? if that ain't that saddest looking face on Gingrich i have ever seen, you just can't teach an old dog new tricks..

    May 1, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  7. russell

    That's just it read the statement by Tennesse GOP chairwoman , Robin Smith , " we are committed to working for the best interest of our party " , you see this is why the GOP can't get ahead , how about working for the interest of the American people, and that means inclusion for all , not just a few token blacks ( Steele ) but for everyone , and until they realize that this is about everyone not just their conservative values, the will continue to be stuck in 2008's a new day and a new time new ,and new ideas not just tax cuts ,tax cuts and more tax cuts................

    May 1, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  8. Whyputaname MA

    Wow! talk about infighting, the Rightwing Puppy Kickers can't seem to get their collective arse's together.

    But there again they can't seem to get past the fear and scare tactics that they have used since the dawn of time.

    They are whining about to much spending, where were these people for the past eight years, 12 billion plus being spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past eight years. If you add it up that is a lot of money!

    Now it is a problem, hmm...interesting!

    May 1, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  9. Curt

    Should'nt the RNC be working for the best of their constituency?

    May 1, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  10. Cheema in Portland

    > 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.” <

    Maybe one day these people will grow up and work for the best of our country. Until then, its party first! 🙂

    May 1, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  11. Johnboy

    Newt – 2012!

    May 1, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  12. Thomas

    I love it when the GOP turns on its own people. Most amusing to watch them eat their own.

    May 1, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  13. Boston Irish

    This comment is coming from a guy who doesn't have an ego problem. Yeah right.

    May 1, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  14. ch

    What a thrill it is to see the GOP unraveling! Just what they deserve considering their right wing agenda of hate, intolerance and bigotry!

    May 1, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  15. pike

    the so called republican party has a big problem. THEY CAN'T STAND THE TRUTH. hire Jack to be the spokesman not russ limpballs and the other drug addicts/nuts that speak for them. i am a republicancrat who loves his country and served her well as did my dad in WWII. this joke of a party IS the problem and it will take 20 years to undo what they have done the last 8. i hope the voters get all of them out of office and my whole family are and were republicans.

    May 1, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  16. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    CNN, how many pics of Newt did you have to go through to find one with such a scowl. You are sooooooooo desperate to make the G.O.P. look as bad as possible. I notice you never ever do any stories on the in-fighting in the DNC.....AND, YES, THERE IS PLENTY!

    Are you competing with MSNBC to be the broadcast wing of the democratic party? Do you ever wonder why your ratings are in the toilet? How about some objectivity and fairness?

    May 1, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  17. Ali

    This is just great! Just when I thought it couldn't get any DOES! The GOP is doing the democrats' job themselves. They just have to watch the the GOP self implodes.

    May 1, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  18. rhoward

    Takes one to know one, Mr. Gingrich and you're as egocentric as they come.

    May 1, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  19. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Gingrich might have a point. Look at all the things that have been said over the time since the election by those in the party heirarchy and those that are not like Limbaugh. I think that there are some who want to be in charge and can't stand that they aren't; there are others that don't like that they aren't being paid attention to on a daily basis.

    May 1, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  20. Steph T.

    I can't believe that I am agreeing with Newt Gingrich on something.

    May 1, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  21. GG NYC

    bye-bye Rethugs. your day in the sun is over. newt and rush and steele are now your leaders. DOOMED!

    May 1, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  22. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    "Gingrich insult rankles RNC members"

    That's okay–the RNC has been insulting real Republicans for years.

    Maybe, with any luck, the neo-con nuts will be so insulted they'll pack up and leave.

    May 1, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  23. Too True For You

    "Circular firing squad" – that about sums up the current structure of the republican party.

    Newt attacks the RNC, Specter leaves, members of the RNC are undermining Steele, Steele throws Specter under the bus, Snowe mounts a flank attack with critical remarks, Boehner stars in a weak "back to the future" parody of old republican fear monger ads in spite of their stated desire to "move forward".

    This is like watching a train wreck.

    May 1, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  24. florida indep

    I agree with Newt on something after all. The Republican Party, top to bottom, are the egomaniacs of our society. In the article above Robin Smith said that the rank and file members were sincerly working for the best of our party. Therein lies the problem, they should be working for the betterment of all the people in this country not just themselves. And, believe me guys, your wellbeing doesn't trickle down.

    May 1, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  25. shucks

    Wait Wait Wait. Ask Limbaugh what he thinks before any of you speak. He is your defacto leader. At least that's what the rest of the world thinks. No ideas, no answers, no sense.

    May 1, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
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