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. Once You Vote Black

    Crapola! Is that Italian? I just wish Steele could get past one interview without using some sort of ghetto term like Old School. It was cute at first but I am starting to think that he really cannot talk without using some sort of boggie boggie term. And he is well educated. He must think we are not.

    July 9, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  2. Tommy

    yeah, but its the same republican hypocrisy...

    Aim high!

    July 9, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. Keeth in California

    So we should forget Sanford and Ensign, but let's NEVER FORGET CLINTON. right....

    July 9, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. Once You Vote Black

    The GOP has been beaten to a stand still. They have been whooped in the Senate and trounced in the House. The talent differential is mind boggling. Obama's victory was a landslide when you consider a Jr. Sen. destroyed a Sr. Sen. who is a war hero. And now we are taking over the Court. This is why the GOP is so happy to see that only 70% of the voters said said the president is a strong and decisive leader instead of 80%. You know you are a looser when your only argument for why you should be elected is because the other guys have everything. No matter how good or bad Obama does in office the right will never be able to erase the fact that a Blackman stomped the entire GOP by not only beating a nice clean war hero, but also ushered in a congress with a bulletproof majority! You guys go whooped.

    July 9, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  5. hjs3

    "Old news" to the GOP maybe now that the shoe is on the other foot.,
    The unabashed hypocisy of these people is mind boggling.....

    July 9, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  6. stevie raymie


    Obama and his supporters will ALWAYS be blaming Bush for years to come for all the problems NObama can not and should not fix
    (So what was that about taking responsibility?)

    I would expect that from Obama he is a typical black guy who will blame the white guy
    however, i am expecting better from you

    stop blogging..............go get a job

    July 9, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  7. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Yeah totally Michael. GOP hypocrisy is sooooo like 5 minutes ago. Anyone who thinks otherwise is suffering from a "pre-9:11am-this-morning" mindset.

    July 9, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  8. Shawn - GA

    Please while youa re typing your hatred, do not forget about the actual President who was cheating in the White house and then said under oath that he never did it, only to later admitt he did.

    I am not ripping on the man, I am jsut reminding you about it so maybe it will temper your hate filled comments on here. With hate the hater is the one who loses in the end not the hated.

    God bless America, her people, and her President.

    July 9, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  9. A. Goodwin

    So, when a Democrat has an extramarital affair and is caught...we are supposed to impeach them, shame them, out them publically so that they can never serve in American politics again (thinking about Clinton and Edwards). BUT...when its a member of the GOP we are supposed to forgive and forget.

    I dont think so.

    July 9, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  10. Call me when it's over

    DT said

    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)…

    You've got to be kidding me ! IF the Dems screw up ??? You have taken everything that the last administration did and MULTIPLIED it by a hundred times. Somehow that is supposed to fix everything. No fiscal discipline is what cost the Repubs the election and look at what we are doing now ! We are sealing our own fate.

    July 9, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  11. marvinj

    Did the party of no, just say that the party of morals are no longer in denial about there lack of morals.

    Now lets here them admit that big business greed is keeping us in the ditch and this economic disaster remains on the backs of the last administration... Also tax breaks for corporations don't work again the greed factor is being left out of the equation.

    July 9, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  12. gt

    why are democrats so fearful of gender and race,,,most be race and gender bias ,,,, palin, gender ,,, steel and jindal race,,, same on you ....

    July 9, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  13. The Center

    Yes, Mr. Steele, it is old news. The GOP has been a party of hypocrites for years. Impeach Bill Clinton, protect Gov Sanford. No change, "old news".

    July 9, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  14. DC Insider

    @Dutch/Bad Newz, VA, I hate to be rude, but you seem to forget that they had to impeach Blago. And John Edwards resigned as a Senator in 2004, and the affair was in 2007. The only reason he quit the campaign was because the allegations that he used campaign money to cover up the affair.

    Spitzer was the only man big enough to resign from office once the scandal broke.

    I hate when people (Liberal or Neo Convervatives) twist the facts to sensationalize their statements. However, I do agree with Dutch, that Sanford needs to step down as Governor, he resignation as the Chairman of the Republican Governors Association is not enough. A lot of Republicans from his State are calling for him to step down, and he should. And John Ensign should do the same and resign from his Senate position.

    July 9, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. Dave

    As usual, Steele is taking the usual GOP route of of total hypocrisy. You can bet if these were Democrats having affairs, the GOP knuckle-draggers would be screaming from the roof tops for them to resign. Of course, when it happens to Republicans, it's a completely different story. So typical of Steele and the rest of these idiots...

    July 9, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  16. Hugo

    I don't think it will matter what the GOP can come up with after this debacle of inept government we are seeing under the Obama Administration. Sound economic principles speak for themselves, taxes and price increases in everyday necessities effect all of us, Democrats, Republicans, Liberals or Conservatives. You can't give a free government handout when no one of the working class has a job, you can't eat worthless paper in lieu of food!

    When 2012 comes around if the economy isn't doing something better than what we are seeing, look out Donkey! Ross Perot for President!

    July 9, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  17. Will H.

    The double standard here is apparent.

    Clinton cheats on his wife and the political storm goes on for months on end. We learned about Sanford less than a month ago and Steele's already trying to sweep it under the rug.

    Since when is hypocrisy an acceptable party platform?

    July 9, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  18. DC Insider

    SIDE NOTE, I was just thinking. How come we are so quick to ask Republicans to step down, but so many of us rallied around Bill Clinton and his "few" "alleged" "affairs?"

    Its funny how we are blind to that, but when a Republican has a similar situation, we scream and holler how about the injustice. I guess we just enjoy being SUPER-Partisan. Haha.

    July 9, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  19. Does John Edwards ring a bell...

    At least Sanford's wife didn't have cancer while he was cheating...or running for the Democratic ticket for president...
    I'm just sayin'

    July 9, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  20. Robert Guy

    Thanks to all you dems. Have you forgotten Clinton and the rest of your party? Move on, we have more important issues. Find a job

    July 9, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  21. The Center

    Rip any Democrat for missing a vote, applaud Palin for quitting the Governorship "for her family's sake". Demonize Democrats as being "Godless", protect sinning Republicans as "lost sheep deserving forgiveness." Lamblast the media as too far left, then create a right-wing propanganda network (Fox). Ruin the economy through unregulated greed, then deride the poor guy who has to clean up the mess. Thats the GOP.

    July 9, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  22. Brian, Pensacola

    I hate to say this but this is the first time I really have felt ashamed of being a black male in America... this guy sucks..

    July 9, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  23. Laverne

    This is one reason these affairs continue to happen, there is no consequences at home or at work. These affairs are accepted as if it's just the "norm" and it is people like Michael Steele who are basically saying "oh well it happened, no big deal, move on" This guy is nauseating!

    July 9, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  24. Rick in WPB,FL

    Let's make this as clear as crystal for the chairman...
    Yo Steele...who do ya think your foolin'?

    This is all fresh, and it will stay fresh.
    The only thing that really stinks, is the hypocrisy of the republican party…

    p.s. – keep up the good work... (which really means:keep us all laughing!)

    July 9, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. Sharon

    It is only old news when it is Republicans. They try to act so high and mighty. When it is a Democrat, all hell breaks loose as the Republicans are on T.V. voicing their value messages, which is now sounding ridiculous. Republican lawmakers are racist hypocrites.

    July 9, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
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