Steele: ‘I Know Exactly How Caesar Felt’
FrumForum’s Tim Mak lands an exclusive interview with the recently deposed chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele. Speaking in regard to the new chairman Reince Priebus — the former general counsel under Steele — the ex-chairman says, “I know exactly how Caesar felt.” Read more here.
Priebus Fires Convention Staff
Newly elected chairman Reince Priebus has fired the 2012 convention staff. In a statement to the press, Priebus writes:
“We are committed to holding a world-class 2012 Republican National Convention that will be worthy of the next President of the United States. There are some changes that need to be made to ensure a successful convention. Those changes start today. I have discontinued the employment of the convention liaison and the employees of the Committee on Arrangements, effective immediately. I look forward to bringing on top-notch staff and planning a convention that all Republicans, especially our 2012 Presidential nominee, can be proud of.”
Priebus Speaks to the Press
Reince Priebus spoke to the press after winning the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee.
“First of all my name is Reince Priebus,” he joked, stressing the pronunciation of his name. “We need to build on the success we had in 2010,” he added.
Asked how serious the RNC debt is, priebus responded, “we’re looking at least $20 million in debt.” Despite those troubles Priebus thanked the other candidates, especially Michael Steele.Challenged on his experience, Priebus noted “Wisconsin is a target state.”
“We’re going to take the executive committee and they’re going to be the transition committee.” Asked how relevant the RNC is in the days of 527s, Priebus maintained the GOP would raise $400 million in the next cycle.Priebus then ran back into the Potomac ballroom to continue the RNC winter meeting.
Gingrich Congratulates Priebus
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich issued the following statement reacting to the election of Reince Priebus as RNC Chairman:
“Reince Priebus will be an extremely effective RNC Chairman. His victories and accomplishments as Chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party were extraordinary and I am confident that the national Republican Party will find similar success under his leadership.”
“Reince Priebus’ election as RNC Chairman is a major step toward making Obama a one term President.”
Priebus Takes It
“I am so blessed,” Priebus said as he took the helm of the RNC. ”We can’t wait to get to work.”
Priebus thanked GOPl eaders from his home state of Wisconsin, including Ron Johnson and Paul Ryan. He also thanked the other candidates, and Michael Steele in particular.”We have to get on track and together we can beat Barack Obama in 2012. . . . We must come together,” he said. Priebus later said he would serve “in humility.”
“Together we must lead the way to a better committee and a better America.” Priebus said the RNC was the “board of directors” and he the “CEO”, but that all members were employees of GOP voters. “With this new focused leadership, the RNC will move forward.”
“It is time that the committee heals . . . and remember our job to beat Barack Obama in 2012,” Wagner said.
“I want to thank you all . . . I release my supporters, because I respect this process.”
Wagner declined to endorse another candidate.
Priebus at 80, All But Over
The sixth ballot:
Fifth Ballot: Priebus Closing in, Cino Surges
Priebus 67 (+11)
Cino 40 (+11)
Anuzis 32 (+8)
Wagner 28 (0)
Boehner Making Calls for Cino
RNC Watch has learned that House Speaker John Boehner is making calls to RNC members urging them to support Maria Cino. Moments ago Michael Steele urged his supporters to back Cino as well. We’d bet Boehner had something to do with that as well.
Steele Withdraws, Backs Cino
“It’s clear the party wants to do things a little bit differently and a little bit better,” Steele says of his withdrawal from the RNC chair race.”Our opportunity rests with the people of America. . . . At this time I step aside to let other people lead.”
“Despite the difficulties, we won,” Steele says to a standing ovation. He implored the crowd to sit but it refused to listen for several seconds. “I’m a little bit obstinate, but I am because I want to fight,” Steele continued.”I release my supporters and ask them to join me in supporting Maria Cino.”
Anuzis Huddles in the Hall
Steve Munisteri, chairman of the Texas GOP, tells RNC Watch he expects an up-tick on the hext ballot from former Steele supporters switching to his preferred candidate, Saul Anuzis. As he was saying this, Anuzis huddled with his supporters, football team-style, and of course shooed off reporters. Fifth ballot is about to get under way
Priebus 58 (+4)
Cino 29 (+1)
Steele 28 (-5)
Wagner 28 (-4)
Anuzis 24 (+3)
Also, unconfirmed reports at this time that Michael Steele has withdrawn.
Cino Moving in ‘Wrong Direction’
Priscilla Rakestraw, committeewoman of Delaware, says Cino’s vote total is “not going in the right direction.” She too says she heard the rumor Priebus threw votes to Cino to “show movement” but can’t confirm. She also notes she saw Steele and Wagner leaving the room together. The fourth ballot is under way.
‘Steele Ain’t Pullin’ Out’
Herb Schoenbohm, Virgin Islands party chair, says chairman Steele “aint pulling out.”
“Games are being played,” he says, again alleging that Priebus thew votes — he says eight — to Cino on the first ballot to give her more strength. He also says Steele loyalists fled the chairman quickly. “They promised him one round only” and some of them went to Wagner.
Schoenbohm predicts “joint resentment” from the camps whose votes are being played with. “This may be a long process,” he warns.
Third Ballot: Priebus Stalls; Steele Falls Off; Wagner Passes Cino
Live from the RNC elections, the third ballot is in:
Priebus 54 (+2)
Steele 33 (-4)
Wagner 32 (+5)
Cino 28 (-2)
Anuzis 21 (-1)
Steele Done For?
That’s the impression I’m getting surveying committeemen.
Committeeman Denies Rumor that Priebus Fed Cino Votes
Solomon Yue, RNC committeeman from Oregon, says his effort to dislodge Steele is going “very well.” Now that Steele has lost 7 votes between the first and second ballots, Yue says the Chairman will begin hemorrhaging support. (Steele walked by us as we were talking and told a reporter, “so far so good.”) Yue would not disclose who he is supporting.
Still, Yue denies a rumor making the rounds that Priebus would give Cino 15 votes in the first ballot in an effort to knock out Ann Wagner. Yue says he went to Jim Bopp, a supporter of Priebus, a day or two ago to ask if the rumor were true. Bopp told him it wasn’t. And now that Cino has lost two votes since the first ballot, Yue thinks the evidence supports his interpretation.
Second Ballot: Priebus Gains, Steele Loses
Live from the RNC elections, the second ballot results:
Priebus 52 (+7)
Steele 37 (-7)
Cino 30 (-2)
Wagner 27 (+4)
Anuzis 22 (-2)
Much more ongoing coverage at RNC Watch.
Don’t Get Too Excited
Connecticut GOP chairman Chris Healy warns RNC Watch not to get too excited about the first round of ballots.
“It’s a kabuki dance for the first three or four ballots,” he says.