Tales from the Trail

Steele staying put

July 9, 2010

steele2“I ain’t going anywhere,” Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said on Thursday, in response to calls for his resignation from critics in his own party, MSNBC reported.

“I’m here. I’m here,” Steele said at the launch of the Colorado Republican Party’s 2010 “Victory” headquarters.

Steele brushed aside the criticism, calling it a “distraction.”   With victory in the November midterm elections at stake, Steele said he was focused on “winning.”

“Look, every time something happens, people go, ‘Oh, you should step down, step down.’ Well, the reality of it is that’s not happening, so stop the noise on that,” Steele said.

Steele ran into trouble when he was caught on tape saying the war in Afghanistan is a “war of Obama’s choosing” and suggesting that it can’t be won.

After that, some prominent conservatives, including William Kristol and Liz Cheney, said it was time for Steele to go.

While not voicing an opinion on whether the Republican party leader should go or stay, White House Chief of Staff  Rahm Emanuel  joined the chorus of critics on Thursday.  In an interview on “PBS NewsHour”  the Democrat said  Steele’s view of  the war was “a horrible way and a wrong way to look at it.”

MSNBC said Steele drew cheers from the Colorado Republicans. That’s a  far cry from what’s being heard from others who are not happy with the party chief.

Steele “is not my leader,” Congressman Darrell Issa said in a C-SPAN interview taped to air on Sunday. Stopping short of calling for Steele to step down,  the California Republican suggested that the chairman get with the party program or move on.

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Photo Credit: REUTERS/Lauren Victoria Burke-ABC News Handout (Steele on ABC’s “This Week” at the Newseum in Washington 2/8/09)

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