By JEFF ZELENY, NYT
In the face of overwhelming criticism about his stewardship of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, the party chairman, declared Monday evening that he has no intentions of quietly stepping aside and vowed to seek re-election to lead the party into the 2012 presidential campaign.
Mr. Steele made the announcement during a conference call with members of the Republican committee, many of whom have already pledged their support to one of the half-dozen candidates vying to replace him. After the call, Mr. Steele scheduled an appearance on Fox News, where he planned to make his case in an interview with Greta Van Susteren.
“Yes, I have stumbled along the way, but have always accounted to you for such shortcomings. No excuses. No lies. No hidden agenda,” Mr. Steele said, according to participants on the call. “Going forward, I ask for your support and your vote for a second term. Our work is not done and my commitment has not ended.”
The decision by Mr. Steele was met with anger and astonishment from an array of Republican officials. Yet it was far from clear that his bid for a second term would be successful or whether he would even stay in the race until Jan. 14, when the committee elects a chairman to guide the party through an election cycle where the chief goal is defeating President Obama. (Continues here)