At the College Republican annual conference last weekend, RNC Chairman Michael Steele confronted the issue of race and the Republican Party. Lamenting the problem that “a lot of these people don’t have the technology of Internet or television,” one attendee asked Steele, “With you being chairman of the party, what are your strategies for reaching out to African American and inner-city communities?” Steele first responded by sarcastically brushing off the notion of reaching out to African Americans, before pointing to the sole African American attendee to single her out for “special recognition“:
STEELE: What? To reach out to black people? I ain’t doing anything. Black people don’t vote for Republicans, why would I bother with them? […] I’m just messing with you. That is the point I wanted you to get to. Stop it, I know what you meant. But I wanted to illustrate a point. And unfortunately you were at the wrong end of that point. But this is my reality. I look in this room and I see one young black woman here.
ThinkProgress attended the conference and recorded audio of Steele’s speech. Listen here:
Later in the speech, Steele cautioned the GOP students that they should be prepared to hear “vacuous” responses when they first speak to African Americans about President Obama.