RSS
Michael Steele's 6 most memorable apologies
After little more than a year on the job, the RNC chairman has become well-practiced at offering his regrets
Michael Steele.
Michael Steele.
Getty

"Michael Steele is getting good at this apologizing thing," says Yael T. Abouhalkah in the Kansas City Star. A controversial figure since taking the helm of the Republican National Committee early last year, Steele issued his latest mea culpa over the weekend, addressing charges of "financial sloppiness" at the organization — including expenses billed at a sex club. "I'll be the first to admit I've made mistakes and it's been incumbent on me to take responsibility, shoulder the burden, make necessary changes, and move," Steele conceded at a GOP gathering. Following, five other occasions when Michael Steele has practiced the fine art of regret:

1. For portraying Obama as a comicbook villain
"It was unfortunate... those are cartoons that were pulled off the internet, they've been out in the public domain for a while... This is not the kind of presentation I want to make to staffers, or to our donors, or anyone else, because it cheapens the political process."
- March 2010, after an RNC campaign strategy presentation portrayed President Obama as the Joker from Batman and Nancy Pelosi as Cruela DeVille (watch the video here)

2. For employing a hoary, racist colloquialism
"If it is [offensive], I apologize. It was not intended to be a racial slur. I wasn’t intending to say a racial slur at all."
- January 2010, after being chastised for using the term "honest Injun" in an interview

3. For his suggestion that abortion ought to be a woman's choice
"I am pro-life, always have been, always will be. I tried to present why I am pro-life while recognizing that my mother had a 'choice' before deciding to put me up for adoption. I thank her every day for supporting life."
-March 2009, after saying in a GQ interview that a woman's right to have an abortion was "an individual choice"

4. For endorsing the view that GOP leaders are a "joke"
"While chairman Steele doesn’t agree with all of the statements made during the interview, he does believe that we need to move beyond unnecessary and overhyped distractions and continue earning back the trust of Americans by discussing the real and immediate concerns facing American families, like the economy and health care."
-August 2009, RNC statement after Steele failed to defend the GOP's Congressional leadership during a radio interview. Talkshow host Vincent David Jericho called John Boehner and other Republican leaders an "absolute freaking joke," to which Steele replied, "I'm with you. I'm 1,000 percent with you"

5. For describing Rush Limbaugh as an "entertainer"
"My intent was not to go after Rush – I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh... I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. … There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership.”
-March 2009, after describing conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh as an "entertainer," whose show could be "incendiary"

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week