The video: Michael Steele, the gaffe-prone chairman of the Republican National Committee, is under fire again, after admitting in a tense televised exchange that he doesn't know what the federal minimum wage is. (Watch clip below.) In a discussion about the constitutionality of a federal minimum-wage policy on MSNBC's "The Last Word," Steele was asked to specify the amount, and laughed, saying it isn't "relevant" to the unemployed whether the minimum wage is $7 or $10. Host Lawrence O'Donnell said, "It's okay to say you don't know," eliciting more laughter from Steele.
The reaction: Michael Steele has put his foot in it before, says Evan McMorris-Santoro at Talking Points Memo, but "confessing ignorance about the federal minimum wage in the midst of a campaign where Republicans are shouting 'Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!' from every rooftop" is as bad as it gets. GOP leaders who want ordinary Americans to think you care, jot this down — the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. This is a smokescreen, says William Teach at Stop the ACLU. Liberals can't defend their record — Obamacare, the stimulus, the Bush tax cuts — so they are trying to turn the minimum wage into a big campaign issue. What a pathetic "scare tactic." Watch the video: