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. piers de bourg

    right wingers going down the tubes? what's the problem??

    May 1, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  2. Carl W Smelcer

    Old Newt Ginrich is at it again: Saying anything just to be in print. Just
    take his words with a dose of salt and TRY to gorget him. Hes a has been....

    May 1, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    Finally! Mr. Ego himself speaks of that which he knows plenty: massaging egos. It takes me back to when Gringrich was railing on Clinton during the Lewisnski affair. What was Newt on then, his 3rd mistress? This is more than just comical, it absolutely hilarious! If I were Steele, I'd stay clear of good ole Newt and any advice he offers.

    May 1, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  4. katiec

    "Commited individuals who want to do the best for our party".
    That is the whole problem. The republicans have put party and
    winning at any cost over the survival of our country.

    A political party whose obsession is to make our president fail, consequently our country, is not the caliber of politicians we
    want running our country.

    May 1, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  5. lupercal

    why do i hate this man so much? i look at him and i see nothing than vacuousness, culture wars. i just can't get beyond the fact that he fuc king positioned himself to exploit the somali pirate issue for political gain AS it was happening and everyone accepts that as normal. i guess i'll never GET politics.

    May 1, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  6. Jerry

    The GOP national organization appears to be "moderates," not in tune with the core consevatives...gave us McCain and lost. They hated Reagan...who gave us big victories as he stood by principles.
    Ten guesses why we are losing!

    May 1, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  7. GOP = 21st century dodo

    This bickering bunch should not be allowed near any decision-making position.

    May 1, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  8. Carl W Smelcer

    Old Newt Ginrich is at it again: Saying anything just to be in print. Just
    take his words with a dose of salt and TRY to forget him. Hes a has been....

    May 1, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  9. Joseph

    Wow this is just terrible, what is wrong with the republican party? The United States Voters elected an African American to lead them into the 21st century and the republicans have gone insane.

    May 1, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |

    Is Rush Limbaugh Stll Breathing? hahah lolol hahahah lolol

    May 1, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  11. C W

    Fair Is Fair: First of all, President Obama has more important issues to deal with than debating ol' Newt – mostly, cleaning up after the HUGE mess Cheney/Bush left our country in after 8 years of naive, reckless, un-Constitutional rule.

    Second of all, Obama would wipe the floor with Newt. Obama uses a teleprompter when delivering a long speech that he wrote himself – so what? Can you memorize a 30-minute speech?

    Obama is intelligent, thoughtful and well-spoken. And unlike Newt, who shut down the Federal Government because he didn't get to sit where he wanted on a plane, he's a mature adult who's putting his country first and working hard for all of us. Newt is just pouting because he knows his party is in the toilet.

    May 1, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  12. al in memphis

    Not the truth comes out, the demise of the republican party was never about conservative values. It's about the "age old" issue of people who love power more than a commitment to serve people.

    BTW, to set the record straight - conservative values have been about people have the right and freedom to "function privately" as they choose. Sometimes we confuse that with public acceptance.

    May 1, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  13. kgb999

    Something funny about a RNC state chair (or an political party official) claiming they don't "play politics".

    May 1, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  14. Flex

    GOP, please rise up against the fascist religious zealots. You'll win me over. The democrats haven't stood up for us. You could be the first too!

    May 1, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  15. msplacedinsc

    NEWS FLASH: This just in Fox News reports all is well with RNC! All the internal fighting is coming from the "left"?

    May 1, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  16. confused FLORIDA

    Kama is a funny thing this are the people who want Obama to fail which means they wanted this country to fail. Well sometimes be careful what you asking for

    May 1, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  17. JML

    BECAUSE the entire World could care less about republicans and their DENIAL problem, let them "tear-each-other-a-new-one". SO WHAT, they have no policies to make life better for American's why not dessolve the GOP (just like the WHIG party) before them. They suck blackeyed-peas!

    May 1, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  18. teresa

    the republicans had better start listening to newt – at this point he is the only clear headed thinker in the party! he has the ideas, the history to back them up and knows where the skeletons are hidden in both parties – it is way past time to put egos aside and work for the common good or we will be wandering the wilderness for years to come! give steele the support he needs and we will be victorious in 2010!!!!!!!

    May 1, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  19. Ernestine

    Newt is probably right, but who cares what he thinks. He is an old, fat, miserable has-been with nothing left to do with his life except criticize everything and everybody.

    Isn't it clear? This man has no loyalities. No credibility. Look at how he did his wife.

    May 1, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  20. Moonbeam

    Another elderly Republican failure, sorry, I mean new face of GOP leadership, re-branding his party!

    May 1, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  21. Terry

    Am I the only one who finds it to be ironic when Newt Gingrich criticizes others for having a big ego?

    May 1, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  22. Fla.

    And the infighting of the GOP egos continues. Robin Smith, exactly why should "public trust" be given to your party now in such a mess? Boy, isn't that karma after the last decade of Republican nonsense?

    May 1, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  23. ROCrizzo

    Hey Fair is Fair, Newt couldn't handle an intelligent debate with someone like "Barry" without showing the nation what a big head he has with so much space for rent. Newt is old news, and he's only helping the party of NO implode. President teleprompter? Of course he reads from it for speeches and addresses. GW and Palin read from teleprompters and still say "nucular". Don't get beside yourself.

    May 1, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  24. Joyce Becker

    His character all shows in his face, just look at his picture, what a mean sullen man Newt is. He has made himself look so bad, it's not even any funny any longer. This is what is becoming if the Grand Old Party, not so grand, but pretty old.

    May 1, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  25. Steve Grd. Jctn. Co.

    "THE GREATEST HOAX' ..... In American History, is how the Republican Party , schemed to elect George Bush. And the role that Rove the Puppet Master "Rasputin" managed to create . They took an imbecile from Texas ,used him as the Puppet, wrapped the American Flag around him, and the Neo-Cons and promoted them as Patriots, and the Deciples of Christ, as Pat Robertson and Falwell sprayed Holy Water with Garden Hoses as they all sat in the front row of the Churches in Wash. in D.C. The Photo-ops of Condi, Cheney, Rove, Bush, Rumsfeld ,John Yoo,John As@croft, Bill Kristol in his Temple, sitting in the front row of St, Johns was truly terrifying as you realize that they had already planned on the War for Oil and the Torturing was getting ready to proceed. Some great Movies will eventually be made of these Deferment, Orientated Cowards, the True Patriots of the Republican Party. And now the biggest COWARD of all, Dick Cheney has come crawling out of his Mental Black Hole to justify TORTURE. Just great isn't it!!! No wonder the Republican Party is despised around the World and here, with a 21% approval

    May 1, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
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