This week on MSNBC, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) — who endorsed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in New York’s 23rd congressional district run-off on Tuesday — refused to say whether or not he’s “glad” that moderate Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) — who voted for President Obama’s stimulus package — is in the Republican Party.
The next day on MSNBC, RNC Chair Michael Steele was asked if there was room for Snowe in the GOP. “Absolutely,” Steele said:
STEELE: Welcome! Welcome! Because–you know why that’s important? Because every footprint of this party is different from region to region, from county to county. I can’t win in the northeast with someone who’d be a better candidate suited in the south….So the reality of it is I’m looking to find my candidates where they are. And I want to lift them up beause they represent those districts. So like New England, Olympia Snowe works there for her. She may not translate in South Carolina. She works in Maine.
But today on ABC’s TopLine, Steele appeared to have a change of heart. When asked if he’s comfortable with GOP candidates who supported the stimulus, Steele said there’s “no justification” for that support, adding, “we’ll come after you”:
STEELE: So candidates who live in moderate to slightly liberal districts have got to walk a little bit carefully here, because you do not want to put yourself in a position where you’re crossing that line on conservative principles, fiscal principles, because we’ll come after you. [...]
You’re gonna find yourself in a very tough hole if you’re arguing for the president’s stimulus plan or Nancy Pelosi’s health plan. There’s no justification for growing the size of government the way this administration and this Congress wants to do it.
While Steele didn’t mention any names, clearly Snowe and fellow Republican Senator from Maine Susan Collins — who both supported the stimulus — may soon be in the RNC’s crosshairs.
Watch Steele’s comments from TopLine here: