April 6th, 2010
08:12 PM ET
13 years ago

Barbour will not 'critique' Steele

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/23/art.barbour.gi.jpg caption ="Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said Tuesday that he would not ‘critique’ RNC Chairman Michael Steele."]Washington (CNN) - Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said Tuesday that Republican governors will have the resources necessary for the November elections if the Republican National Committee fails to provide the financial help needed for get-out-the-vote efforts.

But Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, said he would not criticize RNC Chairman Michael Steele, who is under fire for his stewardship of the organization.

"Look, every chairman of the party has his ups and downs," Barbour said in an interview on CNN's John King, USA. "I was criticized when I was chairman for different things.

"I don't think it's useful for me to critique any chairman now or any chairman since I was chairman. And I've not done that. I'm not going to start now. It's just not useful."

Barbour served as RNC chairman for two terms in the mid-1990's and he is considered a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2012.

Steele is accused by critics of misusing donor funds as Republicans head into the midterm elections with less money than Democrats. The party's House and Senate campaign committees rely on the national parties to help fund efforts in the midterm election years.

Steele also came under fire from social conservatives after reports surfaced that the RNC had picked up a nearly $2,000 tab at a bondage-themed West Hollywood nightclub for a group of young donors. A few days later, Democrats distributed an RNC fundraising solicitation that had a misprinted number sending callers to a phone sex line.

While Barbour said that reports of Republican donors deciding not to contribute to the RNC is "concerning," he added that "governors races have to be a little bit more self-sustaining."

"We have 28 Senate races in states where the same day there's a governor's race," Barbour said. "Normally, the governor's race has a major responsibility, and absentee ballots – 'get out to vote,' that sort of thing; it's very, very critical."

Barbour added, "The party has usually played a major role in helping those governors races do that. We will be prepared if the fundraising for the RNC doesn't go as well as hoped. And they've raised a lot of money. Let's don't deny that. But if it doesn't go as well, we're going to have to be prepared to do more. We will be prepared to do more."

The RGA raised $9 million in the first quarter of 2010 and has $31 million cash on hand.

Barbour's comments come as the Republican Party now appears to be dividing into two camps over Steele's future. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich expressed support Tuesday for Steele, while veteran GOP operative Alex Castellanos said that the chairman should step down for the good of the party.

Also, New Hampshire RNC member Sean Mahoney resigned his post in protest of Steele and a prominent RNC fundraiser Sam Fox has parted ways with the national committee.

Filed under: Haley Barbour • JKUSA • John King USA • Michael Steele • Popular Posts • RNC
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    Another repug running for president? These people are coming out of the walls like roaches.
    Before we now it I bet mcconnel who just declared April confederate month in VA will be running also.
    Maybe even cuchinelli(sp?) the AG who is going to be a guest speaker at a gun rally in April.
    Way to go virginia. You voted for him. Enjoy going back over 200 years!! It's embarrassing in this day and age.

    April 6, 2010 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  2. Gone_Rogue

    ....the chicken have come to rrroooooosssttt...Michael Steele.

    April 6, 2010 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  3. Doug

    Well...as the saying goes. "If you don't have nothing nice to say, just keep quiet."

    Micheal Steele the gift thats just keeps giving.

    April 7, 2010 12:34 am at 12:34 am |