RNC chair: Media didn't vet Obama because of race
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said Friday that President Obama has not been vetted thanks to a complicit media that wanted to see a black man become president.
Serving as a guest host for conservative radio personality Bill Bennett, Steele, who is also African-American, said Obama's political philosophy and principles remain largely unknown.
"He was not vetted, folks," Steele said. "He was not vetted because the press fell in love with the black man running for the office.
" 'Oh, gee, wouldn't it be neat to do that? Gee, wouldn't it make all of our liberal guilt just go away? We can continue to ride around in our limousines and feel so lucky to live in an America with a black president,' " Steele said, mocking what he sees as a biased media.
"OK, that's wonderful, great scenario, nice backdrop," the chairman continued. "But what does he stand for? What does he believe?"
Steele went on to suggest the media should have examined the influence the Rev. Jeremiah Wright had on Obama.
Steele has been on the receiving end of similar suggestions — that he has advanced up the political ladder because of race. Having started off as chairman of the Prince George's County Republican Party and the Maryland Republican Party, then serving as lieutenant governor of Maryland, Steele became a frequent guest on cable news channels and a repeat speaker at Republican National Conventions in 2004 and 2008.
When he ran for chairman of the national committee, Steele frequently pledged to reach out to minority voters who have largely abandoned the GOP in recent years. And when the race came down to a battle between Steele and former South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson, who once belonged to an all-white country club, several RNC members cast votes for Steele with racial diversity in mind.
Steele has repeatedly used language apparently aimed at wooing younger black voters, calling the stimulus package passed in February "bling bling" and referring to a joke Obama made — a joke in which Obama ribbed the RNC chairman for his supposedly urban attitude — as "just good love between two brothers."
The liberal Think Progress blog posted a 2005 interview between Steele and C-SPAN host Brian Lamb in which Steele pushed back against claims made by the Baltimore Sun that all he brought to the gubernatorial ticket was the color of his skin.