Steele: Obama ‘Was Not Vetted Because The Press Fell In Love With The Black Man Running For The Office’

RNC Chair Michael Steele closeupApparently unable to learn from egregious mistakes from the recent past, RNC Chairman Michael Steele once again took to the radio airwaves today as a guest host for Bill Bennett. Earlier this week, Steele declared “an end to the era of Republicans looking backward.” This morning, however, Steele revisited the 2008 election to insist that President Obama had never been “vetted” because the press “fell in love with the black man”:

STEELE: The problem that we have with this president is that we don’t know [Obama]. He was not vetted, folks. … 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.” Okay that’s wonderful, great scenario, nice backdrop. But what does he stand for? What does he believe? … So we don’t know. We just don’t know.

Steele lamented the “missed opportunity” in “dissecting” Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s influence on Obama, and “the lessons [Obama] learned at his [Wright’s] knee.” Listen to it:

That Steele would suggest Obama won the presidency because of his race is striking considering that Steele himself has had to face — and bat down — similar allegations. In 2006, when Steele ran for lieutenant governor in Maryland, a Baltimore Sun editorial said that he brought “little to the team but the color of his skin.” Steele slammed the implication as “pure ignorance”:

QUESTION: “Mr. Ehrlich’s running mate, state GOP chairman Michael Steele, brings little to the team but the color of his skin.” Baltimore Sun. … What was your reaction when you read that?

STEELE: Ignorant. It was just pure ignorance. It’s something I had to put up with countless times. … But it was, again, showing a high level of ignorance — ignorance and racism. And call it for what it is. The Baltimore Sun is the Baltimore Sun. I don’t deal with the newspaper. I have nothing to say to the editorial board or –- I barely speak to its reporters, because this is a newspaper that, in my view, has some issues it needs to work out with respect to race.

Earlier this month, also while hosting Bill Bennett’s show, Steele agreed with a caller who declared that Obama “is the Magic Negro.” “Yeah,” Steele replied, laughing. “You read that too, huh?”


Citing ThinkProgress’s post, Politico’s Ben Smith writes:

What happens on Fridays: Michael Steele guest hosts Bill Bennett’s radio show; young staffers at Media Matters and the Center for American Progress listen and compete for the most entertaining sound byte.

Ben Smith is wrong. No disrespect towards the fine researchers at Media Matters, but reporting interesting nuggets from Steele’s guest hostings on Bennett has been the exclusive domain of ThinkProgress.

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