If Republicans are afraid of the chairman of their own party -- as GOP Chairman Michael Steele claims -- then it may have more to do with the things he says than the color of his skin, says Daily Show host Jon Stewart.
On Tuesday night, Stewart played a clip of Steele appearing on Washington Watch with Roland Martin, in which Steele said he has personally felt that white Republicans are afraid of him.
In a discussion of how Republicans could win more black votes, Martin commented that one of the major complaints he hears from the black community is that white Republicans are afraid of black people.
"You're absolutely right," Steele said. "I mean, I've been in the room and they've been scared of me."
After pausing and staring quizzically into the camera, Stewart responded: "Michael Steele, I don't think they're afraid of you because you're black. I think they're afraid of you because of the stupid shit you say on television."
As Raw Story reported earlier this week, Steele has developed a track record of saying controversial or unusual things since he was elected chairman of the Republican National Committee earlier this year:
A selected sampling of prior Steele statements that have caused a ruckus include referring to Rush Limbaugh as a practitioner of "ugly" entertainment, claiming he went from "pro-life his entire career" to believing abortion is an "individual choice," offering "slum love" to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, hinting that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney lost in the 2008 presidential primaries because he was Mormon, and suggesting that the GOP was in dire need of a 'hip-hop' makeover.
Other "he said what" quips include his hoping to attract more blacks to his party by offering them "fried chicken and potato salad" and joking that the GOP needs "to uptick our image with everyone, including one-armed midgets.”
In March, Politico reported Steele was "[s]teadily becoming a dependable punch line" due to his frequent gaffes.
This video is from Comedy Central's The Daily Show, broadcast Nov. 11, 2009.