A member of the Republican National Committee has provided National Review Online notes from Michael Steele’s speech to the committee tonight.
“We have been turning the elephant,” Steele told members in his pitch. “Collectively, we secured $179 million,” he said, in response to criticism that he has scared away major donors. Citing “a lot of trash and smack about major donors,” Steele asserted “you cannot take away [the fact that] we raised $179 million.”
That said, Steele recognized the need for more money: “We put new ideas in place. Some worked and some didn’t. The financial landscape has changed.” He assured members that the RNC “must dramatically increase its efforts for the 2012 election” with the small-donor program and an augmented major-donor program.
Steele also defended outside organizations’ existence: “”Major donors have migrated to other organizations led by former RNC chairmen. That’s fine. I’ve never had a problem with it.”
The chairman acknowledged his mistakes. “It has been trying and frustrating . . . but I have always been proud to be your chairman,” Steele said. “I have stumbled along the way. Made no excuses. Told no lies. Hidden no agenda. But I really believe passionately in the party that I joined 35 years ago.”
“I ask for your vote,” Steele concluded. “What we do is a reflection of political marketplace and the mood of the voters. We cannot take the safe harbor. We have to reach beyond ourselves and [our] comfort zones. . . . We are stronger, better, and prouder than before and we completed the things we started over the last two years. Let us finish the business of the party.”