More Heat in Steele's Kitchen

OK, he isn't Bernie Madoff, but Michael Steele is having a tough day.

The verging-on-embattled chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) is under fire today
for an interview he gave to GQ in which he described abortion as an individual choice. He went on and on about it being up to the states, and when the confused interviewer asked him to clarify, asking if women should have the right to choose abortion, Steele said, "Yeah. I mean, again, I think that's an individual choice."

What a surprise: Today Steele is having to backpedal on those comments by several miles, and released a statement saying he is pro-life and always will be and reiterating support for a constitutional amendment.

It wasn't surprising to see the reaction of Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council: "I read the article last night, so I am familiar not only with his comments about the life issue but also about the efforts to redefine marriage and 'mucking' up the Constitution. I expressed my concerns to the chairman earlier this week about previous statements that were very similar in nature. He assured me as chairman his views did not matter and that he would be upholding and promoting the party platform, which is very clear on these issues. It is very difficult to reconcile the GQ interview with the chairman's pledge."

But it was a bit surprising to see Steele blasted by Mike Huckabee, who always ran as the pleasant noncombatant in the GOP field of presidential contenders last year but this year has become quite the spotlight-seeker by way of his zingers.

"Comments attributed to Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele are very troubling, and despite his clarification today the party stands to lose many of its members and a great deal of its support in the trenches of grassroots politics," said Huckabee.

Kinda makes you wonder if Huckabee has 2012 plans ... oh dear.

The Steele issue is no small one for the GOP — many people believe he should be given more than a month to settle in and are hoping for improvement. But others are furious. If Steele doesn't catch on, doesn't raise money and doesn't overhaul the RNC for the better, the party will lose two critical years in the wilderness.

Veteran GOP strategist Roger Stone makes a good point in his NewsMax interview, which is that Steele perhaps isn't grasping just what it is RNC chairmen are supposed to do.


SHOULD OBAMA BE PUSHING EUROPE FOR MORE STIMULUS THERE? Ask A.B. returns Tuesday, March 17. Please join my weekly video Q&A by sending your questions and comments to askab@thehill.com. Thank you.