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Comments by YACCS
Sunday, July 30, 2006

Oh, give me a break

Steele's comments likely a plus with black voters

By S.A. Miller
July 29, 2006

Black voters in Maryland yesterday said Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele's run for U.S. Senate was not hurt -- and might have been helped -- by his recently publicized criticism of President Bush.

"Just because Michael Steele disagrees with Bush, I'd probably vote for him," said Bjorn A. Fingal, 19, a pizza-delivery driver and registered Democrat from Mount Rainier. "We're anti-Bush where I'm from."

Johnny Jones, a retired federal worker from Silver Spring, said he didn't think anybody was swayed by the flurry of news reports about Mr. Steele, a black Republican who said he does not want Mr. Bush campaigning for him and that his party affiliation is like a "scarlet letter" in Maryland, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 2-to-1.

"He just speaks the truth," said Mr. Jones, 69, a registered Democrat. "He is a Republican, but he doesn't like everything the Republicans are doing. That doesn't mean I'll vote for him. I'll probably vote Democrat."

More than 150 news organization around the world have reported on Mr. Steele's remarks, which originally appeared Tuesday in a column in The Washington Post. The remarks were based on an off-the-record interview, and the column did not attribute the comments to Mr. Steele.

Mr. Steele almost immediately took responsibility for the remarks, including his criticism of the Bush administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina and the war in Iraq -- positions he has often taken publicly since entering the Senate race nine months ago.

Mr. Steele is expected to win the Republican nomination in the Sept. 12 primary, then face either Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin or former National Association for the Advancement of Colored People leader Kweisi Mfume, the front-runners for the Democratic nomination for senator.

Mr. Steele also reiterated his support for the president and said Mr. Bush was a "homeboy," in the days following the column.

He has not hidden his close ties to the Bush administration, which was instrumental in recruiting him for the Senate race.

Mr. Steele has campaigned with Vice President Dick Cheney and former President George H.W. Bush. Last month, he held a fundraising event with White House senior adviser Karl Rove.

Tyrone Powers, host of a radio news journal on WEAA-FM in Baltimore that focuses on black issues, said black voters are torn between applauding Mr. Steele and dismissing his remarks as rhetoric to win votes. "African-Americans are inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt," he said. "They want an African-American in the Senate."

So what will Cardin or Mfume do? Show how close Steele is to Bush.

Steele only owned up to the comments when the WaPo had him on tape.

I mean the article showed that 90 percent of black Marylanders oppose Bush. Once they show how close Steele is to Bush and his minions, well, you can forget about that vote.

The problem Steele had with those quotes is that his backers didn't appreciate him disrespecting the family.

posted by Steve @ 2:37:00 AM

2:37:00 AM

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