July 9th, 2009
12:30 PM ET
13 years ago

Steele: Sanford, Ensign affairs 'old news, old school'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/13/republicans.family.feud/art.michaelsteelemd.gi.jpg caption="Michael Steele called the recent extramarital affairs of Mark Sanford and John Ensign 'old news, old school.'"]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele dismissed recent extramarital affairs by two prominent members of his party as "old news, old school" at a GOP dinner in Indianapolis on Wednesday night.

Steele was referring to headline grabbing stories like admissions of infidelity by South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Nevada Sen. John Ensign, and suggested he has moved on.

"That's not the generation of candidates I'm trying to groom," Steele said, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Steele said the Republican Party should get back to its small-government roots and listed Republican governors like Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Mitch Daniels of Indiana of Indiana as "laboratories for the ideas we believe in."

Steele also told a local radio station in Indiana on Wednesday that he wasn't surprised by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's sudden decision to resign her post and said she felt like she was "just a lightning rod for a lot of crazy noise right now." He said this shouldn't affect her potential political ambitions down the road, should she decide to run for president in 2012 - though he said "people overestimate her desire to be at the table."

"I think that's gonna be something for Sarah to decide, not for the pundits and political insiders who think they know more about Sarah Palin and her life than she does," Steele told WIBC.

Filed under: John Ensign • Mark Sanford • Michael Steele
soundoff (144 Responses)
  1. healthcare is a right

    i can't help but laugh every time he tries to put his spin on things. please don't get rid of him until after 2010, we need the humor

    July 9, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  2. DT

    Pawlenty? Jindal? Palin for Pres? This guy been huggin the crack pipe for faaaaaaaar too long...this party is pretty much dead. The only way they can come back is if the Democrats mess up...if that doesnt happen they wont be back anytime soon (Thank God)...

    July 9, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  3. Melissa

    And what exactly? Trying to blow it off Steele? You Republicans just can't take responsibility for anything, can you? So sick of it.

    July 9, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Hey Mr. Steele, you can't brush these affairs onto the back burners. They are unethical in both cases and as the party leader, you should recommend to both of them that they resign. This is all going to come back to haunt you guys. Blago, Spitzer and Edwards left. It may be in your party's best interest for Ensign and Sanford to step down as well.

    July 9, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  5. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    So easy to dismiss them when they're GOP, huh? What a hypocrite this schmuck is.....

    July 9, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  6. GI Joe

    No – Steele – it's not old. It's the same old stuff, different day. And the republicans will keep PREACHING THEIR HYPOCRICY.

    It's not the sins, buddy, it's the total hypocricy.

    July 9, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  7. Shucks

    I would be wanting to forget about it also. Only problem is they won't shut up long enough to allow it. So in other words they really have noone in particular that is a stellar standout. And the comedy continues.

    July 9, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  8. Art

    I look forward every day to Steele's comments and observations...It cracks me up to see the token " black guy" of the GOP ,. since he's the most lame black guy I have evr seen in my life..Holy Crapola!

    July 9, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. Sarahmadinejad Palinannity is Also a Quitter Too - *Wink* *Wink*

    No, Mr Steele, more like the NEW Rushcheneycan Party brought to you by the HYPOCRISY industrial complex.

    July 9, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. No Incumbents 2010

    Ensign and Sanford may not be the generation of candidates Steele is trying to groom, but they are the Republican officeholders who remain in office while being embraced by their Republican colleague.
    Steele forgot to mention the future leaders of the GOP: David Vitter, Larry Craig, and Mark Foley.

    July 9, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  11. Dave

    I guess you and I think "old school" means something different.

    July 9, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  12. Terry from Texas

    He has a point. Those scandals ARE, after all, yesterday's news. There will surely be a new Republican scandal today. They seem to be coming along regularly. You can't expect Republicans to deal with more than one Republican crook at a time. Get real!

    July 9, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. Al-NY,NY

    this guy is just too good to be true. Ignore your own indiscretions but constantly whine about the "other guys."

    July 9, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  14. jim

    Old news because he says so? I think not. One doesn't escape decades of "do as I say, not as I do" politics by simply decreeing its old news.

    July 9, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  15. Jeff in Virginia

    What planet is Steele living on? Surely, it's not Earth.

    July 9, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  16. Aspen Professor

    Geee whiz Mr. Steele ... I am really going to miss the consistency of the Bush – Cheney- Rush- Rove – Hannity – O'Reilly – Coulter group.

    You knew that you could count on them to follow the VALUES of the Repubs – Conservs ... the Lying, hypocrisy, arrogance, war without end, etc, etc ad nauseum..

    July 9, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  17. GI Joe

    Trying to Groom? Don't you mean Brainwash with your hate and fear?

    July 9, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. SPQR753

    A comment like that could only come from a spineless politician who, one moment criticizes the self-confessed pill-popping Rush Limbaugh and the next moment aoffer apologies to the same self-confessed pill-popping Rush Limbaugh. What's left for the GOP other than embrace a braniac like JOE the plummer?? How shamefully sad!!

    July 9, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  19. citizenjane

    Steeles broom is getting quite a good work out this year. Quite the lumpy carpet, eh Steel?

    July 9, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  20. Dave, the truth teller

    Hey, Lib monkeys, I just seen the new RCP poll numbers – Obama's approval rating is at 56% and Congress's is at 35%. 2010 is looking better and better. Now, start that hateful Lib monkey chattering.....

    July 9, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  21. Fla.

    Old news? LOL, hardly. Sanford's hypocrisy last week and updates on Ensign's unethical behavior were released just last night. Don't let the details get in the way of spinning & diversion.

    Steele adds such comic relief. What a joke the GOP has become.

    July 9, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  22. Mick

    These Republicans are awesome. Who needs to stay up late to get their daily dose of comedy with guys like Steele around.

    July 9, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  23. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    OMG I just can not stop laughing...Mr. Steele please stop your are killing me with these lies. I feel like I'm listening to a used car salesman who is telling me that this car will be better than all the lemons we have bought over the last forty years.
    Please I'm just not going to buy this from the GOP any longer.
    At least the democrats tell the truth about taxing and spending and expanding government. The GOP says they are for less Government, but they get elected and are just as much for progressive Government and “The One World order" as the democrats, frankly I can not tell the difference between the two parties any longer. The politicians help their rich friends get richer along with themselves, and “We the People" get screwed, loose our jobs, loose our homes, and always no matter who is in power we will pay more and more of our hard earned money to the government.

    July 9, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  24. F-Dog

    Is Steele's Republican party no longer the part of family values? Or is it the "do as I say, not as I do party"?

    July 9, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. Sherrol in Canada

    To put it simply............Michael Steele is an idiot and an embarrassment!!!

    July 9, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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