Steele touts RNC efforts, but says wave was 'team effort'

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele went to great lengths on Wednesday to detail his committee's successes in helping the GOP take control of the House in Tuesday's midterm elections.

Steele spent more than 30 minutes running down a laundry list of ways the RNC helped get out the vote for GOP candidates.

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"We played on a field that, quite frankly, the RNC had not played on in a long time," Steele said on a conference call with reporters. "It was a very exciting night, but also very humbling because you appreciate just what it takes to win in this country."

The Republicans' net gain of 60 seats in the House is welcome news for Steele, whose tenure has been dogged by verbal gaffes and questions about the committee's fundraising and financial management. 

But when asked if the chairman wanted to take credit for Republican gains, he demurred, saying it was a "team effort."

"That's kind of the game here in this town — I really do believe in the team effort, I really do believe that no single person or committee can do this alone," he said. "It takes all of us working together, we contributed our part ... I don't want to get into this game of me, me, me."

But Steele touted the fact that the RNC's fundraising total of more than $175 million was the biggest total for a committee whose party is out of power. He also boasted about the party's outreach to more than 1 million new donors and 45 million voters. In addition, the chairman highlighted his party's contributions to other Republican committees, such as the Republican Governors Association, which at times have appeared to be wooing donors away from the RNC. 

Steele said the RNC spent $13 million on the RGA in 2009 to help Republicans win governors races in Virginia and New Jersey, and helped the National Republican Senatorial Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee retire their debts from 2008.

Competing committees are an "important attribute in the party," Steele said.

When asked if he plans to seek reelection and if his standing has improved in the party, Steele said that he needs to take time to decide — but hopes committee members remember the job the RNC did this cycle. 

He described RNC activists as the "Marines of the party: we are the ones who will go where no one else will go and do what no one else will do" to win victories for the party.

"I hope the members who elected me are satisfied with the effort that we've done, and they are the ones who decide who happens next," he said, adding that "the learning curve was steep and quick, but I got it."