Steele hints critics motivated by race

Critics of Michael Steele's tenure as Republican National Committee chairman are motivated by racism, Steele suggested in an interview published on Tuesday.

Speaking to Washingtonian magazine (no online version), Steele wondered why his Democratic National Committee counterpart doesn't get the same criticism he does.

"I don’t see stories about the internal operations of the DNC that I see about this operation," Steele said. "Why? Is it because Michael Steele is the chairman, or is it because a black man is chairman?”

The RNC has experienced significant staff turnover since Steele became chairman, especially in the communications shop. That has prompted speculation about Steele's management style.

Steele's comment about racism, however, will only further anger his Republican critics, who have lamented his repeated gaffes. 

UPDATE: Steele clarified his remarks in an interview with ABC News:

"It's not because of my race, but race is more of a factor than it ordinarily would be -- just as it is for Barack Obama," Steele said in response to a question following up on the Washingtonian piece.

"Look," he added, "I've been in this political world for a long, long time. And it was no different when I ran for lieutenant governor, no different when I became state party chairman. There is a different way of looking at how, particularly as a Republican, how we approach issues, how we approach problems. The general mindset when you see, hear or read about an African American, you think, politically, Democrat. And all of a sudden, you've got this brother who's a Republican and you go, 'OK now, what does that look like and how does it manifest itself?' That's it. More curiosity than anything else. It's just one of the things you've got to live with."