Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Steele: I wasn't surprised Palin resigned

In a juicy, new interview with WIBC in Indiana (click here to listen to the audio), RNC chair Michael Steele defends Sarah Palin's resignation, says he wasn't surprised by it, and that the media's overstating her desire to run for President.

First, the Palin story (ea):

HOST: Before I let you go, I just wanted to ask you about Sarah Palin and her decision to resign. What are you making of all this?

STEELE: Well, I think Sarah made a very personal decision. I mean, clearly this is a governor, a woman, a mother who has been through an enormous transition over the past year.

She's been thrust into the limelight, and quite frankly, the press has treated her like nothing I've ever seen in politics, and I think it got to a point for her where she's looking down the road and saying it's affecting her leadership of the state, it's affecting her family, it's affecting other aspects of her life, particularly if she's trying to raise a son.

So I think that she wanted to take a little break from it and do it a little differently, and I don't blame her. I think that people overestimate her desire to be at the table in 2012, because she hasn't told us what her plans are, in that regard.

So take her at her word at the moment, why she's doing what she's doing. And then wait to see what comes after that, and I think that's gonna be something for Sarah to decide; not the pundits and political insiders who think they know more about Sarah Palin and her life than she does.

HOST: Were you surprised by her resignation?

STEELE: To be honest with you, no. To be very honest with you, no I wasn't, because there does come a point where you say to yourself "Am I getting it done, am I being effective, or am I just a lightning rod for a lot of crazy noise right now. Let me step back away from that, give my state some breathing room, so it can deal with some of the challenges we still have to face, I can get myself together with my family, and then we can reevaluate and assess from there", and I think that's what she pretty much decided to do.

He also talks about Mitch Daniels, whom he calls one of the top 5 governors in the country, particularly in light of the Sanford scandal, which he doesn't mention by name, but strong implication.

HOST: Let's talk about Governor Mitch Daniels. Is he somebody that's shaping up to be somebody you're really going to be taking a closer look at? I know right now he's saying "I don't want to run for President", but is he somebody that's getting attention from your organization?

STEELE: I have to tell you. I've had the pleasure of engaging with the governor on a number of occasions, and I would say -- without hesitation -- he is one of the top 5 governors in the country, if not one of the top 3. That is without doubt, without hesitation. What he's been able to do there is an incredible model for governors all across this country.... his name's gonna get mentioned. I've heard it mentioned more frequently, particularly in light of some of the recent mishaps we've enjoyed in this party over the last weeks or so.

HOST: It sounds like you're saying he'd make a great President.

STEELE: Well, I don't know that. That's not a conversation I've had with the governor, and I'm not trying to start anything by saying what I'm saying. I'm just giving an honest assessment of my dealings with him. He and Governor Barbour and Governor Pawlenty, I think, rank up there as some of the leading governors in the country who have good models of leadership.


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