Michael Steele’s comments in a recent GQ interview indicating that abortion should be an “individual choice” has earned widespread attention in the past 24 hours. Another interesting comment made by Steele in the same interview about Barack Obama has gone unreported.
Steele said he once reached out to Obama “brother to brother,” but was betrayed by him. He complained that he was “bothered” when then-Sen. Obama was “the only African-American elected official in the country to come and campaign against me”:
GQ: Brother to brother?
STEELE: Yeah, you know: ‘There are only two of us, Barack, just you and me. You’re the senator, I’m the lieutenant governor.’ ’Cause you didn’t have, you know, the black governors in New York and Massachusetts. It was just us. And I don’t know if it was a staff thing, I don’t know if it was a personal thing, I don’t know what it was. But we never got to meet. And then, when I ran for the senate [in 2006], he was the only African-American elected official in the country to come and campaign against me. Nobody else.GQ: What do you make of all that?
STEELE: I don’t know. One day I’d like him to explain it to me. Because it bothered me. [emphasis original]
Steele clearly has a chip on his shoulder because Obama stumped for his opponent, Sen. Ben Cardin. However, Steele is completely wrong about his assertion that Obama was the only African-American elected official from out of state to do so. At least three other out-of-state black elected officials also campaigned against him:
— The late Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH) rallied a “couple of hundred Democrats” in support of Ben Cardin. [Baltimore Sun, 11/3/06]
— Cardin rallied with minority business owners along with “CBC members including Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) and DC Mayor Anthony Williams.” [The Hotline, 11/1/06]
Steele continues to make the case there’s no reason to trust anything he says at this point.