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. Jeff in Virginia

    Who cares about Gingrich? You haven't posted anything about Sarah Palin for two whole days!

    May 1, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  2. Jero

    maybe these gun lovers should start a war and kill eachother? Must be a fun party if they can't even get along with eachother... sigh....

    May 1, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  3. Fair is Fair

    I would love to see Mr. Gingrich in a presidential debate against President Teleprompter. In a battle of wits, Barry would be unarmed.

    May 1, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  4. Larry from RI

    This is like watching a train wreck – in slow motion.
    You want to turn away but can't avert your eyes from the carnage!

    May 1, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  5. G NO P

    Eating their own...
    Love it

    May 1, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |

    Pass the Popcorn Folks we are About to See the Gop Put the Nail In the Coffin RIP GOP! God the Democrats have been blessed they dont Need to spend anymore Money Fighting the GOP The Gop are doing it for them hahaha lol

    May 1, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  7. Ken

    Ahh, now the monkeys are throwing their bananas at each other.

    And from what planet does Smith come from?.... "only gives aid to the Democrats who are doing quite nicely in undercutting the public trust in our government”. WHAT?! The level of delusion it takes for a [R] operative to claim the [D]s are currently undermining public trust, after he himself supported 8 years of the [R]-led Bush debacle in undermining ALL areas of gov't effectiveness, speaks of a not-so-mild form of socio-political retardation.

    May 1, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  8. Michael M. Noonan

    Thank you, Newt.

    May 1, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  9. Flex

    Attention, GOP: Please eject your party's religious zealots into outer space. You must agree that there is nothing more offensive than to have something unwanted imposed into your private life. The religious zealots are committed to these insults. They've imposed their disgusting religion, through law, via proposition 8, into my private life, and have voted away my right to get married.

    I absolutely hate them for it. Until I get the same rights back that everyone else has, I will continue to hate them. This rage is unnecessary stress, but it is very real and justified. Would you espouse some leaders that would put religious lunatics in their place, please?

    May 1, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  10. John

    Newt's always been so full of himself. An ego as big as a mountain.

    But after the impeachment of Bill Clinton, it was Newt who ended up unemployed.

    May 1, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  11. ej

    The only thing that Newt is more divorced from than his first two wives if reality

    May 1, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  12. ross berg- Buffalo, NY

    Keep telling it like it is Newt!!! They're all a bunch of prima donnas!!!

    May 1, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  13. Charm

    The RNC gets more entertaining as the days go by.

    May 1, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  14. keith

    The GOP 's messages not always revalence to every day life of American people because it is out of touch and too extreme. The Democrats are smart because they are constantly adapt and listen to the "People".
    are you(GOP) listening to the"PEOPLE"?

    May 1, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  15. Get A Grip!

    Its about time someone exposed these prima donnas. The RNC must rid itself of these entrenched egomaniacs before they can get back into the game.

    May 1, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  16. Michael M. Noonan

    Fair is Fair,

    Your remark that Barry (I guess that's the annointed one, right?) would easily defeat Gingrich in a debate is fatuous. Gingrich has challenged Obama to debates several times. And, no, in debates, teleprompters are now allowed, so we will have to see the incadescent brilliance of O emitting from his brain, not 10 speechwriters.

    May 1, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  17. Lana

    The pot calling the kettle black, if you ask me. Talk about an egomaniac! And this from a man who dumps his wife when she's fighting cancer. Now, he's a Catholic? Sheesh! Why on earth is this man even IN the news? Well, I guess this is the best the Repubs have to offer. What a bunch of idiots! and to the guy who thinks Obama needs a teleprompter – did you even watch his news conference the other night? Double Sheesh!!

    May 1, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  18. former republican

    OMG! I just fell off my chair! Did Newt just say something truthful??

    May 1, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  19. Steve

    Keep talkin', Newt! You're dragging the GOP right to the bottom, where it belongs.

    May 1, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  20. zeus

    The Democrats are "...undercutting the public trust in our government..."? LOL!! Thank you GOP! The party of irresponsibility, cowardice, fear-mongering, incompetence, burned-out, tired and failed "ideas"? So much for conservatives. Just a bunch of whining losers. The "core" 21% of the nation. Good-bye and good riddance to the idiocy of its supporters and the criminality of its leaders...

    May 1, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  21. Rush is a gas bag

    Truly one hell of a side show. As long as they need to stroke each other, then they will continue to forget the who purpose of a political party – TO SERVE IT MEMBERS AND THE PUBLIC! This is just another reason why i left, wait let me rephrase this, my party left me. Get it together you morons.

    May 1, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  22. Michigan

    All Republicans would be smart to just keep their mouths shut...the people assigned to their new group to solve their problems is very interesting ...when you keep talking about the same stuff you will get the same stuff...they stand for 3 cuts, anti-abortion, ...maybe only 2 things...!

    May 1, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  23. The Slayer

    Where's the popcorn?

    May 1, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  24. W. Art

    Wow, they are fighting amongst themselves. Remember, a house divided cannot stand.

    Before they speak ill of anyone, any party, they need to take a look at themselves and clean up their own backyard. Better yet, before you trash anyone, make sure your house is clean. And even if it is clean, be careful, cause your house just may get trashed next.

    May 1, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  25. Will-South Dakota

    Think Newt will be voted off the island?

    May 1, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
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