Republican Steele: A New Era of Class
Republican National Chairman Michael Steele, in what his press secretary has billed as "an important speech," will call for civility and a return to the nuts and bolts of party-building at a luncheon for Republican state chairmen in Prince George's County.
"The era of apologizing for Republican mistakes of the past is now officially over. It is done," Steele said in prepared remarks that were provided to the Associated Press. "We have turned the page, we have turned the corner. No more looking in the rearview mirror. From this point forward, we will focus all of our energies on winning the future."
He said Republicans will continue to criticize the Democrats. But, he said, unlike the "shabby and classless way" Democrats took on Bush, Republicans will take on Obama with class and dignity.
Steele, whose early months as RNC chief have been marked by an unusual amount of internal party bickering, assured the Republican state leaders at a private session this morning that he's whipping the national headquarters into shape and has gotten beyond the stumbles that have worried Republicans and provided easy targets for Democrats.
Earlier, in an appearance on "Fox and Friends," Steele said Republicans need to intensify their party-building efforts.
"It's time for us to get our heads out of the clouds and out of the sand and stop moping," he said, "and lay out an agenda that looks forward to the future."
Even as he attempts to refocus attention away from his own gaffes and internal dissent, Steele finds himself on the defensive over salaries paid to staff members.
The Washington Times reports that the RNC is paying former White House aide Angela Sailor, the party's outreach director, an annual salary of $180,000, more than twice the pay of the last person to hold the job.
A rare session of the full Republican National Committee is to be held Wednesday at the conference site, the National Harbor resort on the Potomac River just south of Washington.
One item that had been expected to draw unwanted attention, a resolution by conservatives to have the RNC formally brand the Democrats as a "Socialist" Party, appears to have been headed off. Revised wording, which still must be voted on, would say instead that the Democrats under President Barack Obama are taking the country in the direction of socialism.