July 31st, 2009
04:12 PM ET
12 years ago

Steele: 'I am not afraid to go into battle'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/18/art.getty.steele.rnc.jpg caption="RNC Chairman Michael Steele told RNC members Friday that he is 'not afraid to go into battle.'"]SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) - Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele called on state GOP leaders Friday to roll up their sleeves and help rebuild the party voter-by-voter, warning them that the Obama White House is already looking ahead to the 2012 presidential election.

"Do you really think Rahm Emanuel is sitting back saying, 'Yeah, you know we got this,'" said Steele, a reference to the White House chief of staff who is known for his bare-knuckle approach to politics.

To compete politically, Steele said that GOP leaders need to embrace new media to spread the Republican message in their states, while engaging in weekend voter registration drives to help grow the party. In return, Steele promised to devote RNC resources to help build the state parties' infrastructure.

"We need to be prepared to move quickly to respond" to the Obama White House, Steele said to the RNC members meeting this week in San Diego.

Elected chairman in January, Steele's first few months as head of the RNC were dogged by controversy. He came under fire for not staffing up quickly enough, and was a lightning rod for critics who questioned some of his headline-grabbing public comments. But in the past few months, Steele seems to have quieted the critics.

The chairman was not scheduled to deliver a formal address at Friday's meeting, but he used the gathering as an opportunity to highlight the work the RNC is doing on everything from fundraising to responding rapidly to President Obama and congressional Democrats. And he pledged to continue challenging the president.

"I am not afraid to go into battle, and not afraid to take the shots that come my way," Steele said.

At the meeting, the RNC also passed several resolutions, including several that condemn Obama's approach to health care reform, cap and trade and use of "czars" to oversee critical issues. Republicans take issue with the use of policy czars because many of them have been appointed without congressional confirmation hearings, though Congress retains oversight authority over their decisions.

Filed under: Michael Steele
soundoff (86 Responses)

    Whatever Mr. Cotton-ball.

    July 31, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. Randolph Carter

    Actually, what the Republicans need to do is kick out the religious wackos, birthers and other fringe elements and, through their words and actions, show that they are for fiscal responsibility and personal liberty. But, what do I know? Have a nice day!

    July 31, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. Job Openings


    Republican Candidate For

    House of Representatives
    United States Senate
    Presidency of the United States


    Must be able to oppose any and everything Obama ever implements
    Must be willing to tell lies about Obama and his policies with a straight face.

    Special consideration given to those that truly hate Obama instead just being good at vilifying anyone regardless of their merits.

    July 31, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  4. Moderate Democrat

    It's not the method of spreading your message, it's the message itself.

    In a nutshell: You want poor people to die, rich people to pay less taxes, companies to pay no taxes and all the rest of america to carry the weight for them.

    NO TO YOUR MESSAGE. True patriots refuse to vote for the republicans who are hell bent on making 95% of the country suffer so that 5% can live a life of luxury.

    July 31, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. Jeff Brown

    That's right Mike, go into battle with the rest of the GOP Keystone Kops!

    July 31, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  6. GOP = 21st century dodo

    No ideas, no solutions, no plans- plenty of platitudes though.

    July 31, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  7. Bill

    He is not afraid of Battle of Words.

    He is afraid of the actual battle..... Iraq and Afghanistan.

    July 31, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  8. Sujith, NE

    Rethugs,Save your energy and money ! You are not going to come back in to power for a loooooooooooooooooooooooooongggggggg time !

    July 31, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  9. Joe in CA

    What a fool!!!!!!

    July 31, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  10. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    How is the GOP going to go to battle? Using the same lies they have told us before? We are for small government and individual freedoms, less regulation on private business, blah blah, blah.
    And then get elected and do the complete opposite, the very same things like the DNC promoting a progressive Government and working towards the "New World Order"?

    July 31, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  11. Donna from Colorado Springs

    Spreading manure is all that Mr. Steele will be spreading! The Republicans never learn anything from any defeat they've ever gone through. They pull the same dirty political tricks that they've always done and try the same scare tactics on the elderly and un-informed that they've used for years. Nothing ever changes! The old guard is still running the party, and will never change its attitudes or ways of doing business.

    July 31, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  12. tom

    Doesn't Steele work for Rush Limbaugh? There is a novel approach to new media. The Rush Limbaugh Show.

    July 31, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  13. Tulsa

    NEWS FLASH!!!!!

    Republicans think it's the delivery of their message........ not the message itself!

    Here's another news flash... put as much lipstick on that pig as you want. It's still a pig. It follows then that Republicans are STILL out of touch, out of ideas and out of favore with the American electorate.

    July 31, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  14. Larry

    Steele, as long as Republicans are part of the problem instead of part of the solution you can forget about winning anymore elected offices, I don't care how much money you throw at it.

    It's going to take 8 years to clean up the garbage Bush left behind and make this a respectable country again.

    July 31, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  15. prepared to move quickly to respond

    shaft, you are trying desparately to use boxing analogies and here is one for you: punch drunk

    the GOP is on the ropes, punch drunk, taking hits

    throw in the towel, shaft, before your fighter gets so damaged as to bring on coma

    July 31, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  16. Barack won the election, America loses big time.

    Love it, can't wait till 2010, when the American people begin to get their country back. Democratics are committing political suicide. In a way, I hope they pass healthcare and cap and tax. If they do, you can kiss the liberal dems good bye for another 28 years as they will be slaughtered in the polls and the upcoming elections.

    And 2012 when Obama the hater of what made this country great (capitalism and strong defence) the Socialist loses in a landslide to anyone from the Republican party.

    And when he is gone, thenh appy days will be back. The beginning of his demise has started and will culminate in massive defeats in 2010 and 2012. We all know now that Obama is more suited as a shady used car salesman than he is as a leader of the United States.

    Let's just hope Barack the Destroyer of Capitalism doesn't bankrupt us first with massive spending programs and equally massive tax increases.

    July 31, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  17. johnnie

    Come on CNN , i watched Steele on C-span, and could not answer one question,he just made stuff up, that made no sense. He has no IDEAS , no Personality, and is a NO WIN for the GOP< their going to be Rolling him up very soon. Steele wont be even the chairman of the RNC in 2012. He just CRACKS me up...... I laugh.. I chuckle,as i fall to the floor.

    July 31, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. Gary

    Seeings how most of the republican candidates are either cheaters or quiters, why don't you run Michael? Maybe the republican Tokenism
    doesn't quite go that far.

    July 31, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. barrystash

    Since the Democrats are so enamoured with Marxist medical care I challenge Dodd and Kenney to hop the next flight to Havana and show us their confidence in Marxocare. Thier disgusting attempt to destroy our health care system has earned them one of the hotter places in hell. Teddy looks like he is gonna get there before Doddy boy.

    July 31, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  20. Claudia in Houson

    Steele will never be able to deliver what the GOP appointed him to do because he is too arrogant to recognize why he was appointed. Don't expect Steele to be around much longer because I'm sure the GOP is trying to figure out how and when to get rid of him.

    July 31, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. B Lewis in Austin

    What the GOP needs is new ideas and younger leaders. The old, cranky white male dominated leaders are leading the GOP down the wrong road. The American public has made it abundantly clear that the same old tried and worn out GOP ideas and promulgation of hate and fear no longer work. A start would be to muzzle the far right pundits that are spewing hatred and lies everyday on their programs

    July 31, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  22. Shari, NY

    Well, there is a two party system in the country so each is entitled to do what it must to take the reins. However, it seems as if the RNC opened its eyes after the "Obama White House" started the ball rolling.

    July 31, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. ib

    There had better be big and I mean big changes in 2010 or there won't be a country to worry about in 2012. Obama and his far left pals are taking this country quickly down the tubes into being a has been country.

    July 31, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. Kevin B

    Hey Steele, the problem is ...............the GOP message is stuck on stupid and full of right wing conpiracy theorys and does not speak to real middle class american concerns

    The GOP's message has been crafted by radio talk host baffoons and fox news "entertainers". You would have to alienate the weirdo's and wack jobs before the majority of voters take the GOP seriously again.

    That task will keep the GOP in the wilderness for quite some time

    July 31, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. leah

    The battered housing market is stabilizing
    U.S. home prices rose in May for the first time in three years
    Economic growth may be poised to resume
    GDP is 1% less than expected
    Stock is up above 9,000 best in years
    Iraq troops is coming home
    American images is improving around the world
    While President Obama is struggling to bring USA back from the brink.
    All GOP can come up with is “NO” to everything

    Mr. Steele sir, do you honestly think that your party has a fighting chance to take over the White House in 2012

    July 31, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
1 2 3 4