April 6th, 2010
09:10 AM ET
13 years ago

Gingrich to Republicans: Get behind Steele

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/11/art.gingrich052809.gi.jpg caption="Gingrich says it's time for Republicans to get behind Michael Steele."](CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says it's time for Republican insiders to lay off Michael Steele.

"I think it's foolish to focus on Michael Steele as a person," Gingrich said Tuesday on NBC's Today Show. "I think what we ought to do is focus on Democrats. We have a real chance to elect [House Minority Leader] John Boehner as speaker and to elect [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell as majority leader."

The comments follow a series or embarrassing headlines for the chairman of the Republican National Committee and his organization, including news that the committee financed a night out at a risqué Hollywood night club and spent big on private jets, limousines, and five-star hotels. The embattled chairman was in the headlines again Monday when his chief of staff, Ken McKay, resigned his post and a political strategy firm, OnMessage Inc., severed ties with the organization.

Gingrich, in his interview Tuesday, said Steele has proven to be an effective leader of the RNC and should remain in his post heading into the crucial round of elections this November.

"I think Michael Steele is capable of taking us through the midterm elections," he said. "My advice would be to appoint a respected outside authority to review everything." The fact is they have fired the young person who made the big mistake that has gotten all the noise. The fact is Michael Steele has raised a lot of money, campaigned very aggressively, helped win in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts."

In his own interview Monday, Steele maintained that he is the right leader for the organization and touted his fundraising success since assuming the chairmanship 14 months ago.

"At the end of the day, I've raised more than the Democrats in seven out of 12 months," Steele said. "I carried over the same amount of money as the [Democratic National Committee] in 2010. We had a very good march and will have a very good April. The bottom line is, I hear my donors, I hear the base out there, I hear the leadership."

Federal Election Commission reports filed at the end of February showed that the RNC had more than $9 million cash on hand, while the DNC reported $10.7 million in the bank. But the RNC had no debt at the time and the DNC reported close to $4 million in debt.

Filed under: Michael Steele • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. The Unsub

    Translation: "get behind our token...he's our only hope in crushing Obama!"

    April 6, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  2. Dennis

    Just another example of Republicans pretending to be fiscally conserative. Steele is neither. Look at his reckless spending of committee funds, his inability to raise money. And now the use of the race card to cover up his incompetence. Yes, please follow the advise of Gringrich and get behind him and Steele as they go right off the cliff.

    April 6, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  3. Peace

    I think also it is foolish for Gingrich to add fuel on fire. It is peoples money, their contribution has to be used wisely not on something which is not beneficial to them. How will GOP meet their goals if contributions are cut-off due to lavish expenses!

    April 6, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  4. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Does anyone still care about anything that this fossil has to say?

    April 6, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  5. Mary St. Claire.

    This is why we shouldn't have African Americans in leadership position. They seem to forget positions in leadership is not the head of a ghetto.

    April 6, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  6. Dan Coleman

    Sorry, Gingrich, but it was Steele who brought the racist remarks into his problems. As long as the blacks keep resorting to racism as the reason for their problems, they cannot be successful. They will have to 'man up' and take whatever comes with the position they seek.
    I don't think Steele will survive this racism thing with conservative constituencies who are careful NOT to involve race into anything. Besides, it seems to me Steele has not had a firm grip on the RNC what with all the problems during his tenure - nothing at all to do with racism. I have been proud of him for taking that position, but he has failed.

    April 6, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  7. Ben in Texas

    "Get behind Steele," as in, get behind him and push him off the cliff.

    It's ironic that Steele was installed at RNC to counter a black Democrat in the White House, and his incompetence has fueled even more racism within the Repugnant Party. Not only will his presence not bring blacks into the party. He will ultimately help the Democrats in the midterm elections by alienating the right wing from the Repugnant Party, and they will stay home in droves.

    April 6, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  8. Marco V

    If you are afraid of Obama you really need to be worried about Boehner and McConnell as they turn this country into a Taliban state.

    April 6, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  9. Jes

    Oh that's okay. Let's not examine and act upon the inadequacies of our party, to better serve the people who put them in office. Instead lets continue to spin information about the other party, in hopes that the American people are stupid enough to fall for it.

    April 6, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  10. Dis Gusted

    There is this old saying...."Birds of a feather will flock together." It fits here.

    April 6, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  11. It's Me

    Blah, blah, blah.........GNEWT is a HAS BEEN

    April 6, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  12. Tulsa

    LOL.... I love to watch the Republicans. What a train wreck these Bozo's are.
    Hey Newt, you adulterous hypocrit, you're a little late out of the gate on this, as usual.
    If you think the country doesn't remember what the Republicans did when they were in power you are wrong. AGAIN.

    April 6, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  13. kd

    Do people remember what a failure Gingrich always was? His 'Contract With America' was nothing more than a PR stunt and a lie which, of course, caused years of damage to the country which we're still suffering from.

    Who listens to this guy anymore?

    April 6, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  14. jules sand-perkins

    This Republican does not need a "respected outside authority" to tell him when Michael Steele makes public statements that put our party in a bad light.

    April 6, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  15. Blkman

    Right Newit....................lawd forbid the light be shined on just how prejudice the GOP'ers are.

    April 6, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  16. Rick McDaniel

    Perhaps the time has genuinely come, to question Steele's leadership ability.

    The mailer issue, is one that just can't be overlooked. Not having anyone read over and approve the mailer prior to sending it, was inexcusable.

    April 6, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  17. deeman

    Steele is a great guy. Give him a break.

    April 6, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  18. Bill from GA

    I often said Newt was a smart man. Arrogant, misguided, evil, but smart. Maybe I was wrong about the smart thing.

    Having said that, I'm all for keeping and supporting Michael Steele. Got any more like him??

    April 6, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  19. deeman

    The attack on Steele is mainly from the media. Divide and conquer. Are the Republicans that stupid not to avoid being easily manipulated? All they need is a credible or creative counterattack.

    April 6, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  20. anonymous

    Steele is gonna kill the RNC.

    April 6, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
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