Michael Steele said he brought African Americans into the GOP fold during his tenure as chairman of the Republican National Committee and predicted the new House majority will cooperate with President Obama on certain issues.
"What I tried to do [as chairman] was to broaden the landscape over which we could play, go into neighborhoods where we needed to be in, but hadn't been in generations, and I think it made a difference," he said, citing the election of African-American Reps. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottDOJ announces agencywide limits on chokeholds and no-knock entries Lobbying world As Biden falters, a two-man race for the 2024 GOP nomination begins to take shape MORE (R-S.C.) and Allen West (R-Fla.).
"I'm very happy with what we got done," Steele added during an appearance on MSNBC Monday.
After "Hardball" host Chris Matthews noted he rarely saw groups of blacks congregating at Republican conventions, Steele replied with his usual candor. "We could have used a few more brothers in the house, there's no doubt about that."
Steele lost his bid for a second term as RNC chairman on Friday, with Reince Priebus emerging as the new party chief after seven rounds of balloting.
Looking ahead, Steele predicted the president would maintain the tone of his recent speech in Tucson in the upcoming State of the Union address.
"It's an opportunity for the administration to lay out an agenda," he said.
"He doesn't have Nancy Pelosi in the House driving the agenda the way she did over the last two years. Now it's a different drumbeat. The real question is whether or not the president has the mind set to be the kind of leader that people are looking for."
Steele said the GOP House leadership will work with Obama. "I really believe they will run with him on certain issues," he said.