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. Steele Must Go

    Come on Steele everyone refers to you as the Slave in the House...you are the person the GOP chooses so when they beging to do their dirty work you will look stupid...You are the biggest fool and to top it off you KNOW THAT.

    July 9, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  2. SlowGun

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

    So steele is the guy in charge of grooming future candidates?
    Did Rush sign off on this?

    Steele said the Republican Party should get back to its small-government roots

    I keep hearing this, but not one Republican Administration in my life time ever did it.

    He said this shouldn't affect her [Palin] potential political ambitions down the road, should she decide to run for president in 2012.

    So the guy in charge of grooming future Republican canidates thinks that if they quit on the people who voted for them it won't affect their political ambitions? Really...he thinks people like and will vote for quitters?

    July 9, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  3. Chut Pata

    So you have moved on! Have they? The last time I heard, they were still in their offices and refusing to resign. You can't move on until they step down.

    July 9, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  4. Deb

    I laugh every time Mr. Steele speaks he is a joke!

    July 9, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  5. Simmy

    Mr. Steele......The GOP is definitely old school – good old boys old school.....Out like the Jetsons....What a peice of woodwork you are....

    July 9, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  6. Jim

    @gi joe

    you echo my thoughts exactly ...

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

    July 9, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  7. EBC, MD

    Michael Steele is once again playing the "clean up" man, even when he's making a complete FOOL of himself every time he opens his mouth. This guy is a joke, no one cares what Steele has to say.

    Ensign and Sanford are NOT old news, they continue to be the laughing stock of the GOP Party.

    The GOP/RNC = The Party of SINNERS and CHEATERS. If you want to get paid "hush money" and you want to be called a "soul mate", come on over to the Republican Party, they will make you FEEL right at home with their FRAUDULENT Christian Values and Morales.

    July 9, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  8. yuri

    Now where did Steele suddenly spring from? He has been lyin' low, when all of a sudden, we hear a tweet or a chirp, tryin' to protect the Sanfords, Ensigns, Craigs, Gingrichs, and the like.

    The ones he mentioned as labs. of ideas seem OK, but Tim Pawlenty appears as a smart selection, and others are assigned a place at the back Bunson burner of the lab.

    July 9, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  9. Lisa B

    Being from Minnesota, I feel obligated to tell Mr. Steele that Tim Pawlenty would need a very detailed map to find a "laboratory of ideas." He has offered no significant ideas of his own - he spends all of his time criticizing the ideas of others. That is why our state is experiencing a financial crisis as bad as the rest of the nation, when we used to weather economic storms relatively unscathed. That is why our property taxes have continued going up while in many other states, they have been trending down. And that is why he decided to tell our legislature to screw themselves, gave them the finger because they would not propose a budget that agreed with his tax philosophies (can you say compromise?), and is usurping his executive authority to use an emergency budgeting tool called "unallotment" to craft the budget cuts he wants while not having to be accountable to anyone (can you say checks and balances?) If this is the type of "generation of candidates" the Repubs are grooming, I would like to be the first to say "no thanks."

    July 9, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  10. Doug, New Jersey

    Almost every Democrat in America believes that adultry is worse than murder and child molestation. Read their comments about Sanford and then check out how many times they re-elected Kennedy and Studds after the truth came out about them.

    If you disagree that adulty is worse than murder and child molestation then I thank you in advance for your future republican votes. The only way to defeat evil and stand up for morals, values, integrity, and decency is to vote against Democrats. BTW, if you want see the undeniable truth of why the republican party is the party of morals, values, decency, and honesty, please visit a blue area and witness the evil that is the Democrat, just take out a life insurance policy before you come and interact with liberal Democrats.

    July 9, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  11. gl, From Pittsburgh

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

    Repubicans never want to be held responible for any bad habits they have shown, but rake any body us that have misstepped. All of them are the same ones that wanted Bill Clinton to resign, but it is just old news for one of their and we should just move on.

    This is why the word Hypocrite is their new name. Sara Palin have yet taking any responsbity toward her failures. It is never her fault she was being attacked by the media and others. It was her performs and ranting nosence all the time. Sara Palin is like a car accident you just have to stop and see and that is it. She will never be the President of the USA.

    July 9, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  12. Ted

    oH YEAH, Bobbie Jindal is a real good one – remember his speech – MORON. Haley barbour is another moron.

    but Mitch Daniels and Tim Pawlenty might be good ones.

    But I am voting Obama/Biden in 2012 just like I did in 2008

    July 9, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  13. GOP = 21st century dodo

    Does this mean the GOP will stop bringing up Clinton?

    July 9, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  14. Becky

    Oh, I'm sure Michael Steele would LOVE for these stories to be old school, old news. They are more nails in the Republican coffin, and he's trying to pretend they don't exist. I actually feel sorry for the guy. He has to go out and be the face of the Republican party, which is filled with these ultra right wingers who do not believe in practicing what they preach. They want to tell the rest of us what we have to do and have no moral compass or responsibility themselves.

    July 9, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  15. 2pacolypse Now

    Old News, Old School, hey Mr. Steele. Sort of like you are with Marylanders? Remember the time Mr. Steele, when Ben Cardin, whio is white, wholloped you in 2006 in P.G. County, Maryland, which has an almost 80% African American population? So explain again how you are gonna help recruit more minorities into your closed non-inclusive party again?

    July 9, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  16. HBO

    If only these knuckleheads would read these comments... then they would know what the American people REALLY feel.

    July 9, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  17. deedee

    steel=old news...hahahaaaaaaaaa

    July 9, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  18. yes we can

    Rush -sean(GOPxstell)2=HYPOCRISY
    Rush =2x

    the is x=2

    July 9, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  19. I laugh at comrade Limbaugh daily

    Kind of sounds like you uncle Mikey,old school and old tool.You must make a lot of money proving your smarter than a fifth grader.

    July 9, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  20. Alex in Wisconsin

    Michael Steele does it again. How can this be old news from the old school when the 'old school' is younger than the majority of Republicans? and how is it old news when it just happened less than a month ago? The fall out is stilll happening as we speak.

    The Republicans, the party of family values, the party against cutting and running, have firmly aligned with people who cheat on their wives while denouncing others who are doing the same thing. AND they have firmly aligned with a woman who has quit because the ethics complaints were costing too much and the pressure got to be too much for her while telling the country that she isn't a quitter and that she is a fighter. Your classical cut and runner is now atop the GOP, all talk and bravado, substance or ideas

    Michael Steele is working on the next generation of GOP. Howa bout working on the next generation by providing a plan for how to fix the country, not just the economy, not just making sure every citizen has a gun, but how about Health Care and education and bridges that don't collapse into the Mississippi River. But I understand, a puppet isn't supposed to think for itself. And a token aint worth anything on the outside.

    July 9, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  21. David

    He forgot that the republican 'smaller government' concept only works for people with small minds. As societies grow and become more complex, so do the responsibilities of their governments.

    Government must grow to keep up with societies growth.

    What he really wants is a 'no bid contract' government based only on corporate profits, and no concern for the society it is supposed to serve.

    After a Public Healthcare Option, we need a Public Option for Telephone/Internet, Cable/Satellite TV and Banking.

    The Free Market is only free when the public actually have a choice.

    July 9, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  22. Roy Arellano (San Antonio)

    Why? Because you say it is? Funny...I'm sure they dragged Clinton's failures for months if not years afterwards.

    July 9, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  23. Too True For You

    GI Joe is absolutely right. They should have a sing in the GOP headquarters that says in bold type: "It's the Hypocrisy, Stupid!"

    What a weak attempt to move past the latest in a long string of damaging ethical incidents for the republicans.

    And Ed in Sante Fe is right: If this were a democrat, the torches would be out and the tea tantrum party go-ers would be on the march. But, if it's a sanctimonious "family values" transgressor, it's just old news (even if it's new) that should be moved past as quickly as possible. It must be terribly frustrating for them to see the First Family so perfectly living the family values the conservatives can only seem to talk about.

    July 9, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  24. JonDie

    Ensign and Sanford =

    typical conservative Republican family values =

    promise breaking, lying, cheating hypocrites.

    July 9, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
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