The Republican National Committee is firing back at its former chairman’s charge that the party has been slacking in its outreach to black voters. Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele told TPM Tuesday that the party’s efforts to expand the party’s reach now consists solely of a “website with black faces on it.”
Even that website, it turns out, doesn’t exist. But what the party does have, the RNC told TPM, is Mitt Romney.
Steele was mocked by Democrats and Republicans alike for his efforts to expand the GOP’s base while he was in charge of the party from 2009-2011, which included calling for party rallies in “urban-suburban hip-hop settings” and saying African Americans “really don’t have a reason” to vote for the GOP because Republicans “haven’t done a very good job of really giving you one.”
In an interview with TPM about the state of GOP African American outreach in the run up to Mitt Romney’s NAACP speech Wednesday, Steele said the party walked away from serious outreach efforts when current Chairman Reince Priebus took over.
“The RNC has done very little since I left office to expand on the work that we had done in this area,” he said. “They’ve got a website, God bless them. It’s always good to put a website up with some black faces on it. Outreach.”
In April, the RNC — under Priebus — promised a new web-based outreach program for black voters, featuring black Republicans elected in the 2010 GOP wave like Reps. Allen West (FL) and Tim Scott (SC). The site cannot be readily found on the GOP’s current webpage, however, and the RNC did not immediately respond to arequest for a link. An official told TPM the RNC doesn’t currently have an African American outreach site — raising the specter that the site Priebus envisioned never came to fruition, or has since been taken down.
RNC spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski said that the party wasn’t so much focused on outreach as it was dedicated to electing Romney.
“We are reaching out to all Americans who know that the failed policies of the past three and half years need a change in direction by electing Mitt Romney, who has the experience and record to get our economy moving in the right direction,” she said.
The PollTracker Average shows Obama leading Romney among African American voters by a margin of 89.5 percent to 7.2 percent.