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Entries in Michael Steele (23)

Monday
May022011

Michael Steele: GOP Must Stop ‘Whining’ over Donald Trump

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele used the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner to chat with Donald Trump -- and left with the impression that “in his heart he is serious” about running for president.

“I sense that there’s this seriousness about it,” Steele told ABC News Monday. “Now his approach has certainly caused a lot of controversy -- it is different. As I said before and I believe it still is the case, you’re going to have to get out here and start talking substantively about the issues -- the birther issue is not a serious political issue right now and I don’t think it really was."

“Donald now has an opportunity to move beyond that and to really lay down his bona fides with respect to where he wants to take the country, particularly on domestic issues.”

And Steele had a message to Republicans who are complaining that Trump is consuming too much political oxygen inside the GOP.

“You want to be president, get out there and stake your claim -- make your mark. If you want to let Donald Trump take all the oxygen out of the room, then that's on the guys and gals who let him do that.   You can’t blame Donald Trump, because he’s figured out a way to keep himself in the forefront of the discussion, regardless of what you think of that discussion.”

“Those in the establishment who sit back and moan and groan about Donald Trump and are worried about the impact he’s going to have -- I’d be less worried about that and more concerned about the fact no one else has stepped up to challenge him, to push back, and to stake their claim.”

“Right now the Republican candidates for the nomination are not getting the traction they need to go up against the president of the United States, an incumbent president of the United States who is a formidable campaigner, who’s a heck of a fundraiser, and who has the wind of the economy and now some international success in his sails.”

“So this whining and gnashing of teeth about Donald Trump to me is misplaced. If you’re prepared to go into this fight -- and it will be a fight -- then start now, lay your claim, take your turf as much as you can to distinguish yourself from your opponents as well as the president of the United States.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

Monday
Mar072011

Michael Steele: ‘Nothing Wrong with a Government Shutdown’

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With Washington consumed by a fight over spending, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee said Monday that his party shouldn’t be afraid of a government shutdown, arguing that such a standoff would send a powerful signal to the public about the GOP’s commitment to cutting the budget.

“I personally think there's nothing wrong with a government shutdown,” Michael Steele told ABC News Monday.

“I've been an advocate for it over six, seven months now for the simple reason it is the shocker. It is the reality check that the spenders need to have, that those who are trying to chart a different course need to have, whether they are Republicans or Democrats in the Congress.”

He continued: “Republicans right now have an opportunity to put down some bright-line markers here on spending. I hope they do. I haven't seen it yet. I'm hoping that we will see it in the next week.”

Democrats and Republicans last week reached a short-term agreement to keep the government running through the end of next week. But without further action by Congress, a partial government shutdown would start next Friday -- a situation few in either party on Capitol Hill are eager to see develop.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

Monday
Jan312011

RNC's Big Debt Problem: How To Pay Off $23 Million?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Republican National Committee is in an unenviable financial position, according to the committee’s year-end FEC report released Monday. Under the leadership of former RNC Chairman Michael Steele, the committee ran up a $23-million debt, which includes $15 million in loans and $8 million still owed to vendors.
 
It’s a problem that newly-elected chairman Reince Priebus recently inherited and, in addition to his long-term goal of resuscitating the party’s major donor program, Priebus said he has already taken a series of short-term steps to save money.

“In the first two weeks we have reduced staff from 124 positions to 82, frozen all major contracts until they can be evaluated,” he said. He said the staff cutbacks are saving $500,000 per month.
 
Still, Priebus conceded in a statement, “we have a long way to go.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan142011

Michael Steele Bows Out, Reince Priebus Wins RNC Chairmanship

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In a roller coaster of an election, Wisconsin GOP Chairman Reince Priebus seized the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee on Friday, defeating the incumbent party chairman and four other high-profile contenders.

Priebus steadily grew his support over seven rounds of balloting, finally clinching the chairmanship with 97 votes – 54 more than second-place finisher Saul Anuzis. Long-time Republican operative Maria Cino finished in third place with 28 votes.

“We have to get on track,” Priebus said. “Together we can defeat Barack Obama in 2012 -- together unified as a committee.”

Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele ended a tumultuous two-year chairmanship of the committee on Friday when he withdrew from the race and threw his support behind long-time Republican operative Maria Cino.

"I will step aside because I think the party is ready for something different," Steele said.

Steele received two standing ovations during his brief remarks. "And now I exit stage right," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan142011

RNC Chairman Steele's Re-Election Chances Appear to Weaken

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.) -- The 168 members of the Republican National Committee are poised to elect a party leader on Friday in a vote that could end the tumultuous two-year term of current RNC Chairman Michael Steele.

Members of the committee from all 50 states, as well as U.S. territories as far away as Guam, who are gathered at a conference center just outside Washington, D.C., were preparing for what could be a lengthy, multiple-ballot contest that will decide a contentious race between five candidates vying for the RNC's top job.

Though some of Steele's allies warned it was premature to count him out, many GOP insiders predicted that his time at the helm of the RNC was drawing to a close.

"I think it's a foregone conclusion he's done," said New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman John H. Sununu.  "Whether it's his fault or not his fault doesn't matter at this point.  It's clear he can't continue to run the committee.  The contributors have made it clear.  A number of the states have made it clear.  People don't have enough confidence in him."

Sununu, who served as White House chief of staff under President George H.W. Bush, formally endorsed Wisconsin GOP Chairman Reince Priebus for RNC chairman on Thursday.  Heading into the vote, Priebus has more public endorsements than any other candidate, including Steele.

Other contenders for the position include former Missouri Republican Party Chairwoman Ann Wagner, former Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis, and former Bush administration official Maria Cino.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan122011

Reince Priebus Has Edge in Race to Republican Chairman

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With just days to go until members of the Republican National Committee elect a chairman to lead them into the 2012 presidential election cycle, Wisconsin's Reince Priebus appears to have the edge, while incumbent Michael Steele seems to have the longest odds for keep the job.

The consensus among party insiders, however, is that the race is still essentially anybody's game.

With five candidates vying for the position, including current RNC Chairman Michael Steele, this Friday's election could turn into long day of arm twisting.

So far, Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus has captured more endorsements from the 168 GOP state chairs and national committee members than any other candidate.

Steele, former Michigan GOP chairman Saul Anuzis, former Missouri GOP chair Ann Wagner and long-time Republican operative Maria Cino appear to be trailing.  But dozens of members are either undecided or unwilling to publicly commit to a candidate.

One RNC committee member told ABC News there's a "pretty deep and wide consensus among a lot of us that Steele needs to go."

Whoever wins will inherit a party committee that, despite impressive midterm election year victories, is hobbled by financial woes, including debt reaching into the tens of millions as well as a crippled major donor program.  The job won't be about being figurehead for the party -- that role will fall to the eventual Republican presidential nominee -- but rather about running an organization that many committee members believe has veered off course.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan032011

Michael Steele Defends Stormy RNC Chairmanship: ‘My Record Stands for Itself’

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Michael Steele offered a forceful defense of his two years at the helm of the Republican National Committee on Monday, focusing on his party’s success in the 2010 midterm elections while promising to do “better” if committee members elect him to another term.

"My record stands for itself,” Steele said. “We won.”

Steele shared a debate stage with four other candidates vying for the chairmanship, including one of his former confidants, Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Wisconsin GOP and until recently, the RNC’s general counsel.

Priebus has emerged as a leading contender for Steele’s job and at the forum, organized by Americans for Tax Reform, The Daily Caller, and the Susan B. Anthony List, the Wisconsin Republican pledged to be an “absolute workhorse” for the party.

Most of the candidates avoided taking direct aim at Steele, but rather leveled cautious criticism about the state of the party. They all emphasized the importance of being the party’s fundraiser-in-chief if elected, especially since whoever wins will inherit an RNC saddled with millions in debt.

But questions about Steele’s management of the committee loomed large over the 90-minute debate held at the National Press Club in Washington, and at one point Steele was forced to defend his shift away from the RNC’s traditional 72-hour voter turnout operation.

“We may have done it differently, but we found other ways to get resources,” he said, adding, “The idea that we didn’t fully fund it is really kind of a misnomer, ‘cause we did.”

When the five candidates were not weighing in on the internal dynamics of the RNC, they were fielding questions on a variety of social and political issues. All five, for example, agreed that the national party should stay out of primary fights in the states.

Steele, who has fewer public pledges of support from RNC committee members than Priebus, said if re-elected he would work to promote “strong, independent and engaged state parties.”

The 168 members of the RNC will vote for a new chairman on Jan. 14 at the party’s winter meeting in Washington.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec142010

Can He Win? Michael Steele's Record Challenged

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Michael Steele’s announcement Monday that he would seek a second term as chair of the Republican National Committee, despite the fact that he had self-admittedly “stumbled along the way” during his tumultuous two-year term, took many inside and outside the GOP by surprise.

It’s already clear that Steele is going to have to spend most of his time over the next month defending his record as chairman. In an interview Monday night on Fox News, Steele took pains to defend the fact that the RNC has far less money in the bank now than it did when he took the reins of leadership in 2009.

The committee is ending the year with millions of dollars in unpaid bills.

One of Steele’s fellow candidates, Maria Cino, a veteran of the Bush administration who ran the 2008 Republican National Convention, lashed out Monday at the party’s “massive debt, outdated technology, diminished donor support, and a non-existent voter registration program,” saying that the RNC needs a leader who can “raise and responsibly manage the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to win in 2012.”

Others in the running include Saul Anuzis, the former chairman of the Michigan GOP; Ann Wagner, former head of the Missouri Republican Party; Reince Priebus, chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party and the RNC’s former general counsel; and Gentry Collins, the RNC’s former political director.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec132010

RNC Chairman Michael Steele Announces Re-Election Bid

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele announced on Monday that he will run for another term as head of the RNC, setting up what is sure to be one of the toughest fights of his political career.

Steele broke his public silence after more than a month, confirming in a conference call with members of the RNC that he would be seeking re-election after a tumultuous two-year term. He kept his intentions a closely guarded secret, and his decision to jump in the race surprised some Republican Party insiders who speculated that he would step aside.

"I'm asking you tonight for your support, I'm asking for your vote for a second term," Steele said on the call.

Steele’s decision sets up a battle with at least five other candidates who are vying to replace him, including two contenders who recently left RNC positions.

The challengers include Saul Anuzis, the former chairman of the Michigan GOP; Ann Wagner, former head of the Missouri Republican Party; Reince Priebus, chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party and the RNC’s former general counsel; Maria Cino, a veteran of the Bush administration and a long-time GOP operative; and Gentry Collins, the RNC’s former political director. Steele’s predecessor, former RNC chief Mike Duncan, is also considering a run.

All candidates have roughly one month to campaign for the job. The vote of 168 committee members will take place at the RNC’s winter meeting in mid-January.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec132010

Gentry Collins Officially Announces RNC Chairman Bid

Photo Courtesy - LAS dot ias dot edu(WASHINGTON) -- Gentry Collins, a former top aide to current Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele who resigned as political director of the RNC last month in protest of Steele’s leadership, officially announced his bid for chairman on Monday.

“My campaign for Chairman is based on a plan for the future, not a critique of the past,” Collins wrote in a letter to committee members. “I have a plan to strengthen our party, reclaim the RNC's place as the premier political organization in the country, and raise the resources we need to compete with President Obama’s fundraising machine.”

The announcement comes on the same day that Steele plans to announce his own decision on whether to run for re-election in a conference call with members of the committee. Many GOP insiders speculated that Steele would not seek a second term. However, a flurry of news reports late Monday indicated otherwise.

Collins becomes the fifth officially declared candidate for the job. He joins Saul Anuzis, the former chairman of the Michigan GOP; Ann Wanger, former head of the Missouri Republican Party; Reince Priebus, chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party; and Maria Cino, a veteran of the Bush administration.

Collins quit his RNC post in mid-November and his resignation letter offered what amounted to a scathing assessment of Steele’s job performance.

Collins charged that the committee, under Steele's leadership, had “allowed its major donor base to wither,” spent far too much money on fundraising rather than winning elections and squandered opportunities to help Republican candidates in key races during the 2010 election cycle.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 







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