May 26th, 2009
03:46 PM ET
14 years ago

Huckabee: Steele immune from 'the racism charge'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Huckabee said Michael Steele's skin color is an asset when it comes to challenging President Obama."](CNN) - Mike Huckabee said over the weekend that Michael Steele is doing "a good job" as chairman of the Republican National Committee - in part because of the color of his skin.

"I think [Steele] has sought to be, first of all, a very strong spokesperson," Huckabee told The Tennessean on Saturday, before speaking at a church service. "I'm not sure anyone else could be as effective in challenging the Obama policies any more so than Michael."

Asked why that's the case, Huckabee answered: "Well, I believe that that no one is gonna be able to use the racism charge."

But Huckabee seemed to quickly move away from that assertion, and went on to argue that Steele is an effective leader because he has experience at many levels of politics.

"No one's gonna be able to say that Michael doesn't understand, because he has gone up through the ranks," he said. "He has been an elected official I think there's value there. Sometimes our chairman has been a person, maybe, who has never held public office."

Just last week, Steele made some racial comments of his own, arguing that Obama avoided press scrutiny during the presidential campaign because he is black.

"He was not vetted, because the press fell in love with the black man running for the office," Steele said while filling in on Bill Bennett's radio show last Friday.

UPDATE: Ed Rollins, Mike Huckabee's former campaign manager, weighed in on Huckabee's comments on Tuesday.

Rollins said on CNN's "The Situation Room" that Huckabee "should have been focusing and not signing books," as he was during the interview.

"I think the bottom line here is, Michael Steele is chairman of our party not because he an African-American," Rollins said. "I think to a certain extent, whatever Mike was trying to say was not thought out. He is a guy who has had tremendous support in the African-American community as a governor, got 45 percent of the vote when he was running."

Filed under: Michael Steele • Mike Huckabee
soundoff (149 Responses)
  1. John H.

    From the Party of Racism, comes another racial zinger. Republicans just can,t keep their ignorant mouths shut.

    May 26, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  2. JT

    Thanks Huckabee! That ought to be good for 5% less GOP supporters remaining. What is it down to now? 17?

    May 26, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  3. elliott

    Steele is a smart man.
    Mike is right.

    May 26, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  4. Shadysider

    Republicans race-baiting? Never. The way that the GOP treats Colin Powell and any other black Republicans and his/their decision to endorse Obama is sick. They try to make an argument that race is the prominent reason they voted for Obama, when first, Obama is half white, and secondly, they endorsed Obama because he was clearly the better candidate with the better plat-form and a better grasp of the issues at hand. They tried to race-bait in order to win an election and to rationalize to themselves why they weren't going to win the election.

    May 26, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  5. Think

    Now that we're heading towards a bright future, these outdated ideas seem even more silly in the rear view mirror.

    May 26, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  6. mike,texas

    When your the party of NO it dosent matter if your Christ. Republicans are at 21% and the way they keep behaving it will be 10% by the next election.Its a good thing they dont like change.They want to stay a minority.

    May 26, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  7. Shadysider

    Huckabee stated further "...I have lots of black friends."

    May 26, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  8. Bill

    Why does Huckabee smile with closed lips ? So that People can't see his lips.

    Why does he have to Bend his Neck while he is Smiling ?

    May 26, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    I'm dead serious...that wasn't a communion wafer you put on your tongue dude....

    May 26, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. Well, DUH!!!!

    So, Huckleberry ADMITS that Steele is a token black hand-picked by the RNC to deal with the President. Well, DUH!!!!! The sad part is, that the only person who might have been shocked by that revelation is Michael Steele. He REALLY thought he was elected based on his merit. But then Limbaugh and Cheney showed him that his job is to just sit there and be the token....

    May 26, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  11. Brian A

    LOL! There he goes admitting what we all knew to be true. Steele is just a puppet to make the Republicans seem less racist.

    May 26, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  12. Tina

    Micheal Steele, Huckabee, Romney and all those people are so not on President Obama's level. While he is President of the United States, they can only dream about reaching that level one day in their lifetimes...again, not on his level. So who really cares what they say? And dont forget that the President won the election without their votes, (or the votes of these die-hard Republicans) so who really cares what they say or think? Not me and not President Obama. End of story.

    May 26, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  13. Ruty

    Why do these republicans keep bringing up the color of skin? Why don't you rich OLD white men realize people of color are as smart as you–if not smarter.

    May 26, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    Thanking Huckabee for the compliment, Mushmouth was quoted as saying "why thanks you massah, wouldja like some mint tea? I brews it real good juss foh you!"

    May 26, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  15. Daisy

    WOW. Could this get any more sad?

    PS-he reason they can't challenge Obama is NOT due to skin color, but due to their inability to form and offer any viable solutions or alternatives.

    May 26, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    Someone quick, call an ambulance...I think he needs some Thorazine to bring him back down...

    May 26, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  17. Randolph Carter

    Shadysider wrote: Huckabee stated further "…I have lots of black friends."
    Ha ha ha. Good one, shady. Have a nice day!

    May 26, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  18. Lou from CT

    Indeed – the Republican are already in a deep, dark, hole. Between Steele and Huckabee and the rest of GOP boobs, they will become less than irrelevant

    May 26, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  19. Keefe

    Huckabee is merely stating the truth.......

    I mean when you think about it, Rush Limbaugh spews HATRED on a normal basis, he doesn't hide his RACISM....

    Michael Steele can be RACIST and Republicans feel like they hit a home run, becuase the RACIST comments came from a UNCLE TOM BLACK GUY......

    We all know if Barack Obama hadn't been chosen PRESIDENT, we would'nt be having this conversation about Micheal Steele, or better yet, we wouldn't even know Michael Steele existed.....

    May 26, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  20. Billy J in Texas

    Telling it like it is. Now we know why Steele is there. We also know why Alan Keyes was paid to run against Obama in Illinois. There are times when the GOP really doesn't get it. I believe this is one of those times. On a side note.... I really liked Huckabee and had hoped if we HAD to have the GOP in the whitehouse it would have been a McCain Huckabee ticket. I am very happy with the way the election turned out though.

    May 26, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  21. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Ruty: Why do these republicans keep bringing up the color of skin? Why don't you rich OLD white men realize people of color are as smart as you–if not smarter.Ruty,

    Average IQ of a white American =100
    Average IQ of an African American= 85
    These are real statistics confirmed by dozens of studies. Before the inevitable racist chants, Google 'IQ by race.' The most recent studies have concluded that the difference is genetic, not due to culture, testing differences, or upbringing.

    May 26, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  22. greg

    so its ok for the right to bring up Steele's race when being hired, but the left gets crucified whenever some non-white gets hired and race is not brought up?

    talk about a party full of double standards.

    May 26, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  23. Possum

    The reason you see very little in the way of factual cogent Conservative rebuttal? They are filtering. That's what you liberals voted for – freedom from truth...just Hope and Change.

    May 26, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
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