GOP strategist and CNN contributor Ed Rollins told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on his "360" program that embattled RNC Chairman Michael Steele should step down.
“I think for the good of the party, he should step aside,” Rollins said Wednesday night. “I don't think he can be effective in the six months we have for a very, very important election, and his job is to raise money, to be the voice of reason, neither of which I think he can do at this point in time.”
In a follow-up question, Cooper suggested that perhaps Steele had become too much of a distraction.
“He's absolutely a distraction,” Rollins said. “We've spent the last two weeks discussing things that shouldn't be relevant to the American public. What should be relevant is the president signing a — not a very good treaty, I think, with the Russians, the healthcare debate that still needs to go on. And I think we're talking about sex clubs. And I think that goes against our base. I think any donor today who thinks about giving money to the RNC will think about jets and wasted money, as opposed to money that's going to be spent well on a candidate.”
Also on the program was David Frum, a former George W. Bush speechwriter, who disagreed.
“We need some different perspectives inside the Republican Party and at the highest levels, levels that no American history from other points of view, not just from a book," Frum said. “And that is something very precious that Michael Steele brings.
“Michael Steele is also a little bit the victim here of the difficulty of breaking a media narrative,” Frum added. “Look, on my Web site, we broke a story the Democratic National Committee spent not $1,900 but $6,000 at a D.C. strip club called Josephine's. Now, we've been putting it all over our front page and that doesn't get as much traction. And yet, are there calls for the head of the DNC to step down?
“Michael Steele didn't make that strip club decision. It was made by somebody who's been since disciplined. It was a big mistake. There are a lot of problems inside the RNC. Michael Steele should not be made the victim and fall guy for everything that goes wrong.”
‘Total Control’ by Steele
Rollins, however, disagreed: “I have great respect for David. He was a great speechwriter for President Bush. I oversaw it when I was in the White House, director of the RNC. The man at the top has total control of that place. We've had about four or five scandals in the fundraising today. But we're turning donors off.”
“Michael Steele hopefully will go run again someday for office,” Rollins added. “But at this point in time, everyday it's about him. And it's not a good reflection. And he himself making comments about race being involved in this I thought was a very real insult to Republicans.
“And I think at the end of the day, our job is to go take safe Republican seats, which we have 180 of them, find good candidates, who may also be African-American or Hispanic and elect them. And that, basically, would help to long-term broaden. It won't be David and I talking about why you should be a good Republican. It's going to be people like those elected who can do that.”
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