Michael Steele: White Republicans 'Scared of Me'

Monday, 09 Nov 2009 07:26 PM

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Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is stirring controversy once again with a video interview in which he said that some white Republicans are “scared” of him when he walks into a room.

Steele was responding to TV One’s Roland Martin, who said that “white Republicans have been scared of black folks,” Steele replied: “You’re absolutely right.”

“I’ve been in the room and they’ve been scared of me,” said Steele, the first African-American RNC chairman, Politico reported. “I’m like, ‘I’m on your side.’”

Steele said the party needs to focus on “education and the economy” to better reach black voters. He credited Governors-elect Chris Christie in New Jersey and Bob McDonnell in Virginia for running a message that could appeal to black voters.

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“You saw in Christie and you saw in McDonnell a door open because they went in and engaged,” he said. “McDonnell was very deliberate about spending.”

McDonnell, who secured the endorsement of BET founder Sheila Johnson early in his run, used her as one of his top surrogates on the campaign trail, according to Politico. Both GOP candidates, however, lost the black vote by landslide margins according to exit polls.

“Sheila Johnson was on his team. I mean, that was a big deal,” Steele said. “He engaged her and she helped navigate him through that relationship.”

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