December 22nd, 2009
05:36 PM ET
8 years ago

Gibbs jumps on Steele report

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Gibbs quipped over a report Steele is making thousands of dollars off paid speeches."](CNN) - White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs couldn't help but pounce on a Washington Times report Tuesday that Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has received thousands of dollars in paid speeches since becoming chairman of the GOP.

While not delivering a formal response to the report, Gibbs sarcastically asked the White House press corps Tuesday how much Steele was paid to conduct the recent conference call in which Steele declared Democrats were "flipping the bird" at the American people with their health care bill.

Gibbs later returned to the subject when a reporter's cell phone interrupted the briefing, leading Gibbs to declare that if Steele was on the line it would cost $30,000 to answer the call.

Gibbs' comments come hours after the Washington Times reported Steele continues to garner between $10,000 to $15,000 in paid speeches across the country at "colleges, trade associations, and other groups."

Though the practice is not illegal according to the RNC's own polices, several former Republican Party chairmen are quoted in the article criticizing Steele, saying the chairmanship is a full time job in itself.

Gail Gitcho, an RNC spokeswoman, told CNN in a statement that the whole controversy is "silly."

"Many Democrat and Republican national chairmen have regularly received outside income," Gitcho said. "Michael Steele has been giving inspirational speeches based on his personal story long before he was elected RNC Chairman and will long after."

"Chairman Steele of course does not receive compensation for any speeches conducted in his duties as Chairman," she continued. "He is more than a full time Chairman, is in complete compliance with all RNC rules and regulations, and is wholly focused on growing the Republican Party."

Filed under: Michael Steele • Robert Gibbs
soundoff (199 Responses)
  1. Mark

    What does Steele think the republicans did to the American people for 8 years of Bush/Chaney? Remember, George was "the decider" and look at the shape in which he left this country! The election results were the American people flipping the bird to George and his party.

    December 22, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  2. Paul in PA

    Gibbs, give it up. You can earn those speaking fee after you leave your federal position. But as a federal employee you can not accept "favors".

    December 22, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  3. Michele

    Gee, this guy is almost as good as Palin at cashing in on celebrity with no substance. She gives fewer speeches for more money, but the idea is the same. Had Hillary Clinton been the nominee (and President) neither one of these two would have ever become nationally known. McCain would have had to choose an intelligent running mate, and the RNC wouldn't have needed a token black to head it.

    December 22, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  4. Tom

    Looks like Steele is flipping the bird at the republican party that pays his salary. Since he's in it for the money, he should run for public office.

    December 22, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  5. Independant Vet

    Gibbs is just another whiner , Like the rest of Obama's C.o. Whine , whine like that Casterated Bull Dog . Not Ho Hoo.

    December 22, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. redleg

    Does Mr. Steele's "inspirational" story include forging endorsements, lying about flying oreos and trying to fake running as a Democrat?

    December 22, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. Jon

    Anyone who has seen Michael Steele on the Bill Maher TV show panel realizes that he has NOTHING to offer. His silly comments are laughable, and it is just a shame that he can make any money giving "inspirational" speeches. He would, however, have been quite good on the old Amos and Andy Show.

    December 22, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  8. Gibbs an arrogant egotistical corruption facilitator

    Health Care reform Obama-Gibbs style – $500,000 million for a senate vote. Free Medicaid for Nebraska and Vermont; subsidies for Reid and Nevada that other states musy pay; $100 million for Dodd; no public option for Liberman so he can get his millions in insurance company campaign contributions; no generic low cost drugs from Canada to pay of the pharmaceutical lobbyists. Yup, The Obama White House and his Democratic congress is a pay to play club - and Gibbs is the bribe facilitatior.

    Change you want America? I think not. It is one and done for the crooked community organizer from the South side of Chicago and let's throw out the crooked senators - Reid, Dodd, Liberman, and all their paid senate cronies.

    This is truly DISGUSTING

    December 22, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  9. Brian from NJ

    Typical Democratic response from Gibbs... "What? He is making money? That is a bad, bad, bad thing to do..."

    I would think Gibbs should be happy he is making extra money so he can help pay for all the "reform" his boss is pushing on the taxpayers...

    Gibbs is an idiot and a MAJOR part of the partisan problem we have in DC today...

    December 22, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |

    So! This kind of thing is all that the republican party is all about.more, more, more money. greed that is what the party of no is about. they care nothing for the working class people of america, only the super rich , big oil, and corporations. p.s. i forgot about the big american rip off insurance companys.

    December 22, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  11. Will

    It is just plain jealousy. The White House Press Secretary can't answer a simple policy question without stumbling, stammering and giggling like a nervous little girl. So, he tries to knock someone down who can. You may not like Steeles' answer but at least it is comprehensable.

    December 22, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. Typical Republican

    "is in complete compliance with all RNC rules and regulations, "

    RNC, the communist party. Comply or we shall execute you! If you do not meet our TEN COMMANDMENTS, you are a heathen and an outcast. You MUST obey. We have NO ROOM for diversity here. NO NO NO!

    December 22, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  13. S Callahan- This is the 4th Week of Advent, light the candle for LOVE

    Careful don't want to loose the publics respect.....this is on the border.. stand to make even more when you leave your this a confirmation from you that you will NOT be paid in the future?

    December 22, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  14. Dennis

    Steele is absolutely right. Reid, Pelosi and the other Democrat incompetents in Congress are indeed flipping us the bird. A large majority of Americns are opposed to the healthcare "reform" efforts, but the Dems couldn't care less. Although the bill will be a disaster for the country, it will create another entitlement program and a class of people dependent on the central government. This will only serve to increase the power of the Federal government and empower special interest groups who traditionally vote for Democrats.

    December 22, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  15. Randy Wolfgang

    Steele is an embarassment to the party and the only reason he got the chairmanship was that the party needed a token. Everytime he opens his mouth he has to pull his foot of it, You can be sure he will never hold that chairmanship – he's just too stupid.

    December 22, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  16. Lisa in Shelton

    Go Go Gibbs! Terrific to see anyone calling out this joke of a spokesman as overpaid. Guess that is why Palin resigned too. But the real joke is on the paying customers.

    December 22, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  17. RAG

    He's just taking a que from Sarah "SHOW ME THE MONEY" Palin. It's all about the money for Republicans. Money and the sensless pain and destruction that they can cause. It keeps them warm at night...

    December 22, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. Jaideep

    wonder if steele himself wrote that speech or his speech writer came up with catchy phrases to say to catch media attention...

    December 22, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  19. Christina s

    Democrats won't complain about Steele's side jobs if Republicans will stop complaining about the side deals with conservative Democrats to get health care through. I think this is an even deal.

    December 22, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. Sherrie

    Michael Steele is a joke! The idea that anyone takes him seriously is laughable. Love Robert Gibbs, He's so quick with witty comments. GO DEMOCRATS!!!

    December 22, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  21. Liberal wingnut

    Isn't steele right if the polls show America doesn't want the bill as is??

    December 22, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  22. cjl

    This is such an assenine article and an absurd and irrelevant point that Gibbs (Pinochio) is making. Anyone with an education and half a brain knows that nearly all politicians get paid to make speeches at colleges, corporations, etc etc etc. Does anyone remember the $100k Bill Clinton got paid to speak at a university? Funny how he makes it sound so absurd when it is common practice. I'd love to publicize how members of the democrat party make money aside from their salary (embezzling money, cheating on their taxes, etc etc. )

    December 22, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  23. Doraine Gordon

    Michael Steele is such a crude old man. He reminds me of the Voodoo guys jumping around on top of the graves in the old Zombie movies. Nobody wanted him as Chairman of the GOP. They had to vote seven times before he was ever chosen. See, even his own party doesn't care for him.
    He is just a big old ugly scary looking blowhard. Scary, really scary!!!

    December 22, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  24. Frankie

    Ah, those Republican$ ...

    December 22, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  25. ttbala

    If Steel had any dignity or Self Respect would he say what he said about flipping the Bird, only ignorant people would go to the press and say what he said, and guess which paper he went to Washington Times, him and his cronies from Cheney, Liz, they do not have any spine to go to a respectable paper or show and say what they say, well Steel, do you really really know why you were nominated as RNC Chairman, NAH your too stupid to realize you were elected because the hatfull repubs thought they will get on the good side of the African Americans you stupid.

    December 22, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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