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Michael Steele: GOP Candidates Will Have to Take Focus Off Hillary

By    |   Tuesday, 12 May 2015 08:12 PM

Republican presidential candidates eventually will have to take their focus off Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton and distinguish themselves from each other, former RNC Chairman Michael Steele told Newsmax TV's "Hard Line" on Tuesday.

Clinton's campaign has shown itself to be "wholly inept" so far, Steele told host Ed Berliner, and Republicans are taking the chance to fire away at her, but eventually, they will have to set themselves apart from the crowded field.

"I don't see a wholesale slaughtering at the altar of political correctness within the GOP, if you will, but there will be some battle scars that come from this because that's just the nature of the beast," Steele said.

"We need to be honest about the fact that if I'm a candidate running for president, I'm on stage with 12, 15 other people, I've got to carve out my space, and if I'm going to do it with a little bit of your hide, I'm going to do it."

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Steele said Republicans need to focus on jobs.

Despite the rosy forecast from the Obama administration, the undercurrent that still exists within the economy is this lack of trust, he said.

"Yes, I have a job; how long will I keep it? I've still been unemployed for 18 months; will I get a job?" Steele said people are asking.

Underemployment is an enormous problem for a complete recovery to take hold, he said. GOP candidates should be talking tax reform, banking reform or whatever else clearly delineates them from President Barack Obama, he added.

"The second piece is on foreign policy, and this is where you're going to see some of the hide come off some of these candidates potentially," he said. There is this hard swing to interventionism in the party, but the country isn't there yet, Steele said, so a nuanced approach will be needed.

Steele says former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will have to clarify his words in an interview aired Monday on Fox News Channel in which he said he would have gone to war against Iraq just as his brother, former President George W. Bush, did.

Bush appeared to have misunderstood the question, Steele says, answering it as if he were using the information on weapons of mass destruction available at the time rather than going on "what we know now," as Fox's Megyn Kelly said.

A clarification is needed to prevent other Republicans from jumping on him, Steele said.

The issue of law enforcement and the black community should be part of the GOP conversation, said Steele, who was the Republican National Committee's first black chairman.

"I want to see all the Republican candidates for president take a position on it," he said.

"Certainly one of the leaders who have been on this for well over two years has been Rand Paul. He's not new to this conversation, everyone else is."

Hillary Clinton will have to deal with the issues her own husband had a hand in creating through is policies as president, Steele said. Those problems have been exacerbated by Democratic mayors such as Baltimore's Martin O'Malley, who also is expected to seek the Democratic nomination.

"You've got to include this as part of that conversation because it's pound-for-pound a big part of what ails the black community, how our criminal justice system marginalizes and even puts them on this very devastating track that includes poverty and poor education, this cycle they can't seem to get out of," Steele said.

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Republican presidential candidates eventually will have to take their focus off Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton and distinguish themselves from each other, former RNC Chairman Michael Steele told Newsmax TV's "Hard Line" on Tuesday.
michael steele, republican, president, candidates, hillary clinton
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2015-12-12
Tuesday, 12 May 2015 08:12 PM
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