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)
  1. A B C

    If you are looking for a battle, the front lines in Iraq could use a good decoy.

    July 31, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  2. Independent Lady

    Hmmm, it's interesting that Steele has been mum during the Gates/Crowley firestorm. I was also very surprised that the Libertarians didn't come to Gates defense but they just proved that that are Republicans in disguise.

    July 31, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  3. Irma in North Carolina

    Mr. Steele your party is never going to amount to any thing as long as you guys keep going against everything the President is trying to do. Like get the american people some health care every one of the republicans in DC plus the blue dog democrats have the best health care that most of the americans cant afford. All they want is so the insurance companys who will keep the money coming their way when they run for election. You are spending a million dollars on negatve campaigns agains the health reform program. Why dont you give that amount to a few people who cant make their mortage payment or help them pay the rent. You honestly think when you throw people out there like Sarah and Mike and Mitt and only 23 percent left in the usa of republicans you are going to get in the white house.

    July 31, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  4. Felly

    Steele is a wimp.

    July 31, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  5. Chrissy, TX

    Good for you Mr. Steele! Im tired of the Democratic "victim" mentality they throw to the minority and vulnerable people of this beautiful country of ours! My dad always tought us to work hard and respect each other. Enough is enough!

    July 31, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  6. Ben

    Steele is a joke

    July 31, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  7. Zion

    Steele, I am a black conservative who is very frustrated with you. You have been a puppet for the masters of the Republican Party, tap dancing and smiling, while insulting potential black voters. I have watched your masters pull your ability to finance projects, and yet you took it. Keep in mind no one else's financial power has been pulled, just yours. I want to see the powerhouse I remember, not this washed up puppet that you have become.

    July 31, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  8. JD

    Michale Steele is a coward.

    July 31, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  9. AJ

    Please just go...

    July 31, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  10. Tom St. Paul

    Did Rush tell you it was OK to say that, Steele?

    July 31, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  11. yuri

    We admire the steely and stealthy resolve of Mr. Steele. You watch it chaps! He is gonna steal the lime light and leave a lot of us gaspin' for breath.

    July 31, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  12. Randy, San Francisco

    Mr. Steele should be very afraid going into the 2012 elections. The absence of a credible presidential candidate does not bode well for the GOP.

    July 31, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  13. alvino

    Michael, be sure to wear your cup in case you say something, in battle, that big Rush does not approve of.

    July 31, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  14. C W

    No, the GOP needs to embrace new ideas. All they can offer is the tried-and-failed, divisive fiscal, social and military policies of the past. As we all know, these policies benefit a very few in our society, at the terrible expense of the vast majority.

    Fortunately, the majority of Americans – Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike – have woken up to the fact that the GOP under its current leadership, is an abject failure.

    July 31, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  15. alvino

    The party of needless war continues to talk tough and use cowboy diplomacy. Hope Michael separates himself from the rest of his party and doesn't use the Weapons of Mass Deception ruse.

    July 31, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  16. JonDie

    Sorry, I haven't heard yet. In what combat unit did Steele serve? I'll bet that like most Republican leaders, he never served a day.

    July 31, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  17. Ted Tartaglia

    Steele needs to do a huge amount of party building since the Republicans have given the finger to Latino voters. These fools would cut off their noses to spite their faces. What a way to go!

    July 31, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  18. I am The Great and Powerful Wizard of Rush

    Just keep spreading that "Birther" message, Mr. Steele and you grab at least 30 % of the vote.

    Hey, CNN – did you fire Dobs yet?

    July 31, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  19. Alan

    You know what ELSE your party needs to have even the slimmest of chances of ever nabbing national offices again? Some COOPERATION with the recovery. Rather than digging your heels in and just saying "no," hoping the Obama administration fails without your help (which it won't), you'd better start CONTRIBUTING to the cleanup your party left behind last time.

    Contribute IDEAS. Stop trying to stop progress and add your genuine stamp to what's moving forward. Be seen as the minority party that, for once in history actually worked WITH the majority party to make progress happen.

    Then you might have a chance. Otherwise, you'll be seen for what you are today - obstructionists trying to stop the cleanup of the toxic waste dump your last candidate left in his wake.

    July 31, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  20. johnnie

    What a clown ,come CNN nobody cares

    July 31, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  21. Brian

    That's right, fear Rahm Emanuel. We had to deal with your arrogant bastards in the White House for eight years, now we get one of our own.

    July 31, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  22. Stu-Florida

    You're going to need some soldiers with intelligence, strength, character and training before you consider any "battle". None of which the GOP has...
    Most of all I certainly wouldn't follow Steele into any battle. Another lost NO IDEAS "leader".

    July 31, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  23. bill

    Steele has moved himself down a few levels from flimsy wannabe to confirmed nobody.

    July 31, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  24. PaulMoATX

    Battle in regards to policy? Steele knows nothing about policy and that is blatantly evident.

    July 31, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  25. alpha_nu_916

    steele's plan of attracting the hip-hop crowd has apparently gone by the wayside. back to the same ol' same ol'.

    July 31, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
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