In an exclusive interview with RNC Watch, GOP chairman Michael Steele says the argument that the party could have won more congressional seats if he had spent RNC funds more wisely is “insulting.”
“That is such a bogus argument,” Steele said at the Oak Club in New York City. He had just given the keynote address at the launch of the National Eagles and Angels Association, a group of investors led by George Jarkesy, a major donor to the RNC and a backer of Steele.
“You couldn’t count to 39 seats two years ago,” Steele continued. “The dynamics were different. You’re taking away from the efforts of our state chairmen and the grassroots. . . . I won’t insult the intelligence of the committee members.”
Steele also said his presence at the meeting undermined one of the major complaints against him: that he has neglected major donors. “It just proves the lie,” he argued. Speaking of the donors in the room, Steele noted he was looking to “get them involved politically.” Indeed, many in the crowd liked Steele; several donors came up to him after the meeting to wish him luck at the election on Friday.
During his address, Steele stayed away from the RNC’s internal politics, except for two slight excursions. At the end of his speech, Steele presented a gift to Jarkesy, quipping, “This may actually be a collector’s item if things don’t work out on Friday.” And at the beginning, Steele warned the investors that “you cannot please everyone but you can tick them all off at the same time.”
Other than that, Steele praised the investors for their entrepreneurial spirit and criticized the Obama administration for discouraging it. “How many of you got up today thinking ‘All I want to be today is poor’?” Steele asked. He lamented the fact that “we see policies that encourage that mindset.’”
Concluding his speech, Steele thanked the investors for creating jobs and said the Republican party stood for “what makes America work”: “It’s Main Street. It’s Wall Street. It’s any street where a business can put out a sign that says ‘open.’”