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Question of the Day
Newly minted Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” that his party’s long-standing advocacy for strengthening the nation’s borders from illegal immigrants has caused its message to Hispanics and other minorities to be “messed up” in the 2008 elections. But he said the Republican Party doesn’t have to compromise its core beliefs or pander to attract more minority voters.
“We were pegged as being insensitive, anti-immigrant, and nothing could be further from the truth, because you talk to those leaders in the Hispanic community, they will tell you the same thing. They understand the importance of making sure the United States’ borders are secure,” said Mr. Steele, the first black leader of the national party.
“You cannot begin to address the concerns of the people who are already here unless and until you have made certain that no more are coming in behind them.”
When Mr. Wallace asked whether the party needed to improve its outreach to gay voters and pro-choice supporters, Mr. Steele, who is pro-life and supports a constitutional amendment against gay marriage, said that was an “important opportunity for us.”
“The reality of it is, the party has to recognize the diversity of opinion that’s out there,” said the former Maryland lieutenant governor.
But he added that “I’m not going to allow anyone to define the issues for us and say, ‘Well, these are the only two issues that really matter.’ There’s a whole range of issues out there in which we can address the American people and the American people can come to our table.”
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a rising star in the Republican Party, said he has significant concerns that much of the congressional Democrats’ $819 billion economic-stimulus plan is a wasteful use of taxpayer money. But when asked by John King on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday whether he would “take a principled stand” and reject any stimulus money for his state, the governor said he would have no qualm accepting his state’s portion of the package.
“In Minnesota’s case, we have a situation where we pay into the federal government way more than we take out, so we are not going to be bashful about getting our fair share,” Mr. Pawlenty said. “But we do lend voice to how we think this money could be most effectively spent. We hope that those voices will be heard as the debate continues.”
Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm, a Democrat, also appearing on “State of the Union,” said her state desperately needs stimulus-package money to help combat its chronically high unemployment problem.
“We need help. We need it now. And it’s not about budgets, it’s about creating jobs in our states,” she said.
“I think we need to fix some highways and bridges. I never saw a tax cut fix a bridge,” said House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday regarding a need for spending initiatives in the economic-stimulus package. “The fact is, we need a mix.”
“Some parts of this stimulus - extending unemployment benefits, helping with food stamps - you know, we have two purposes here. One is to stimulate the overall economy. The other is to go to the aid of some people who, through no fault of their own, have been damaged. You can’t just look at the aggregates.”
About the Author
Sean Lengell covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at email@example.com.
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