Steele asked to apologize for 'idiot' remark
December 21st, 2010
09:12 AM ET
12 years ago

Steele asked to apologize for 'idiot' remark

Washington (CNN) - One of Michael Steele's challengers in the Republican National Committee chairman's race is questioning Steele's temperament and demanding that the chairman apologize after he called a veteran RNC member "an idiot" during a recent radio appearance.

The RNC Chairman used the term to describe Indiana Committeeman Jim Bopp, Jr., a longtime RNC member and vocal critic of Steele, after Bopp suggested last week that Steele was "playing the race card" in his re-election bid. Bopp was bothered by Steele's remarks during a conference call with RNC members to announce his bid for a second term, in which Steele said that his re-election would "speak volumes about our willingness to truly be the party of Lincoln."

Asked about Bopp's comment during an appearance on WBAL radio, Steele responded: "Well, Mr. Bopp is an idiot. If he took that away from, and I don't want to be crass and I don't want to throw stones at him but I just think that's an idiotic statement to make." Steele added that Bopp is bitter because he had a consulting contract with the RNC that was terminated.

The exchange sent Gentry Collins rushing to Bopp's defense on Tuesday. Collins, who served as the RNC's political director under Steele before launching his own campaign for the chairmanship earlier this month, questioned Steele's "temperament" and said the remark suggests "a complete lack of discipline demonstrating an unfitness for leadership of a national political party."

"It's no wonder major donors have been abandoning the RNC in record numbers," Collins said Tuesday. "When the Chairman engages in name-calling of members of his own committee, he diminishes the RNC, the office of Chairman, and himself. For the good of the Committee, he should publicly apologize to Mr. Bopp. I've known and worked with Jim Bopp both on the committee and on campaigns – it would be hard to find a more principled leader in our Party. Mr. Steele should be thanking him for his service, not slandering him over the public airwaves."

It should be noted that Bopp has not yet endorsed a candidate in the RNC race, and his stamp of approval would provide a boost to any challenger hoping to emerge as the strongest alternative to the controversial chairman.

Collins is one of five candidates running to topple Steele. Also in the race: Wisconsin GOP Chairman Reince Priebus, former Missouri GOP Chairwoman Ann Wagner, Michigan committeeman Saul Anuzis and former Bush administration official Maria Cino.

Filed under: Gentry Collins • Michael Steele • RNC
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Bob Dog

    I ask you; what is more delightfully entertaning that a feud between two, cheap, self-serving idiots arguing about one of them calling the other one, "Idiot?"

    December 21, 2010 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  2. conflglvr

    If Steele is the best that the GOP can come up with we are in real BIG trouble.

    December 21, 2010 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  3. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Name Calling, Fear Mongering, and Lying are admirable traits to have to run the RNC.

    December 21, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  4. Yes or No

    they are all idiots,

    December 21, 2010 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  5. NVa Native

    Was he looking in the mirror??

    December 21, 2010 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  6. Dave

    LOL! The last term Michael Steele should be throwing around is "idiot." He can't open his mouth without sounding stupid and his "leadership" of the RNC has been charcterized by ineptitude. Then again, the GOP is full of idiots, so he fits right in.

    December 21, 2010 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I have to agree with Steele on this one.

    December 21, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. jules sand-perkins

    What is one supposed to think that Steele meant by the Republican party's being unwilling to be "the party of Lincoln?"
    The race card can be identified by either side showing when it is played.

    December 21, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  9. EarlGrayHot

    They really need to get someone who is effective without being offensive, something Steele apparently cannot do.

    December 21, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  10. Sgt, Joe

    "The party of Lincoln" couldn't be farther from the truth with the GOP's current crop of nutcakes.

    December 21, 2010 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  11. Rob Johnson

    I'm not a Republican, but if I was, I'd be running MIchael Steele out of office ASAP.

    At a time when the GOP has done well in the midterm elections, has been successful in criticizing Obama, and generally has things going their way, Steele is their biggest liability. If he remains RNC chair, go ahead and count Obama in for a second term, because no organization led by that buffoon is going to beat the Obama machine.

    Again, I say this as a liberal. By all means, keep Steele as Chairman if you want, that would only benefit my side. For that matter, nominate Palin in 2012 if you really want to blow your opportunity to unseat Obama. But if you're smart, you will get as far away from those two as you possibly can.

    December 21, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  12. J100409

    Accusing Michael Steele of playing the race card in a debate over his future as RNC chairman is idiotic. The man has one card to play, and it's not the success card, the competence card, the popularity card, the responsibility card, or any other card one would typically name. He got the job because he is the only moderately prominent black Republican and he has been a dismal failure. What card other than the race card is he supposed to play?

    December 21, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  13. Joe

    Steele throws down the first glove will it be to first blood?

    December 21, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  14. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    Steele is an embarrassment of riches. He's getting rich by marketing his embarrassing self. He cares little about the party he represents. Otherwise, he would stop serving up gifts to his enemies.

    December 21, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |