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From the NY Times:

WASHINGTON — Michael Steele was hardly the consensus choice to become chairman of the Republican National Committee, scrambling to the top early last year after surviving multiple ballots in a crowded field.

Mr. Steele’s supporters rallied around him as a compelling advocate at ease making the Republican case on television and someone who would be the first African-American to lead the party. His opponents were apprehensive about Mr. Steele’s equally strong reputation as a showboat, an inexperienced manager given to advancing his own ambitions and prone to bursts of indiscretion. Even as the committee settled on him at the end of hours of balloting, Republican leaders were never quite sure which Michael Steele they would get.

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Fourteen months later, the answer has become clear. At a time when the Republican National Committee is looking to take advantage of Democratic troubles and make gains in Congressional elections, Mr. Steele is commanding attention mostly for questionable expenditures by the committee, lagging fund-raising, staff defections and dismissals, an aggressive round of paid speeches and speaking appearances and politically inopportune remarks.

On Monday, confronting criticism of the committee for picking up a $2,000 tab for donors and staff at a West Hollywood strip and bondage club, Mr. Steele said in response to a question on “Good Morning America” on ABC that he and President Obama were being held to tougher standards because they were black.

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