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Top party officials and officeholders have suggested that Mr. Steele name as deputy chairman someone who can run the national committee’s vast operations in fundraising, communications, candidate recruitment and training, and voter identification and targeting.

“I can run this organization just fine,” Mr. Steele told The Times. “There will be no deputy chairman, period.”

Still, the talk among some prominent senior Republicans was that Mr. Steele would need someone with “more experience” to provide guidance and organization. Reminded of this, Mr. Steele told The Times: “People who said I can’t make the trains run on time never gave a reason. I say to them, ‘Stuff it.’ “

“I am not afraid of being held accountable for my leadership,” he said. “The idea I am somehow going to handicap myself before I begin is nuts. I am not going to buy into this mind-set among a few people who probably have never run anything but their mouths.”

Under Mr. Steele’s helm, the “old” may seem inappropriate in the Grand Old Party’s affectionate nickname. He said he is putting a new public relations team into place to update the party’s image.

“It will be avant garde, technically,” he said. “It will come to table with things that will surprise everyone - off the hook.”

Does that mean cutting-edge?

“I don’t do ‘cutting-edge,’ “ he said. “That’s what Democrats are doing. We’re going beyond cutting-edge.”

Mr. Steele has begun weekly meetings with Senate and House Republicans to coordinate strategy, message, policy and tactics but has no intention of trying to give marching orders to Republican members of Congress and their leaders.

“Part of it is being in the same room with them so they hear you, and you resonate to their thinking and strategy,” he said.

”My goal is to listen and to share, when appropriate, insights,” Mr. Steele said. “I think I can be helpful from a political grass-roots and messaging perspective. … I don’t plan to dictate policy under any circumstance. What I can do is tell them how the party base feels about the policies they will have to confront, like the stimulus bill.”