- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Republican National Committee chairman candidate Michael Steele, who became the first black lieutenant governor of Maryland, said that if he gets the RNC job the media will ridicule it as a race-based attempt to piggyback on the election of the nation’s first black president.

“If I’m elected chairman … many in the media will dismiss it as tokenism by the Republican Party, trying to play their form of the race card … and it will speak to a general disrespect they have of guys like me,” Mr. Steele said Tuesday with reporters and editors at the Washington Times.

Mr. Steele, who said he was called a “lawn jockey” for the Republican party during his unsuccessful 2006 run for the U.S. Senate seat from Maryland, nonetheless had praise for the people who have surfaced as President-elect Barack Obama’s first two likely cabinet choices: Eric Holder and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

He called Mr. Holder, who is reported to have been chosen for attorney general, “a good man … a smart man.”

“I always found Eric Holder to be his own man, a principled individual and he will, like Hillary, be a very good choice for the job he’s being chosen to do,” Mr. Steele said, speaking of reports that Mrs. Clinton will be named Secretary of State.

Mr. Steele, who is now chairman of GOPAC, a Republican political action committee, also talked at length about how the GOP has been left “standing still” by the Democrats and by Mr. Obama when it comes to the use of technology and outreach to young and minority voters.

The RNC candidate said that Mr. Obama, with his unprecedented coalition of new voters, “is already laying down the seeds for his reelection.”

Mr. Steele said he is the only candidate for RNC chairman who has a national profile and can also make the GOP do a better job of organizing at the state level in a way that attracts and advances good candidates into national office, and that builds relationships with minority voters.

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