'You're Mister Double Standard,' journalist tells Steele

Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele seems to be suffering from a mild form of amnesia. Or maybe, like the character Billy Pilgrim in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, he's become "unstuck in time."

Whatever the reason, Steele just can't seem to remember the order of events.

Just a week after claiming that his new book, Right Now, was written in 2008, even though much of it deals with political events that took place in 2009, Steele has made another strange distortion of time.

In a video interview with the Las Vegas Sun's Jon Ralston, Steele asserted that he wasn't chairman of the GOP during the scandal surrounding Sen. John Ensign. But the Ensign scandal broke in the summer of 2009, nearly half a year after he took the reins of the Republican Party.

"If you were chairman of the Republican Party and a Democratic senator had an affair with a staffer, had his parents pay her off, fired both her and her husband who worked for him then tried to get the husband a job, you'd be outraged, wouldn't you?" Ralston asked Steele.

"I don't know. Who's the individual you're talking about?" Steele asked.

"The individual happens to be John Ensign," Ralston responded. "You haven't said anything about John Ensign because he's one of yours. You're Mr. Double Standard."

"Really. Is that how you take that?" Steele said. "I wasn't chairman of the party at the time all that took place, so I had no opinion on it."

"What are you talking about?" an incredulous Ralston asked. "It took place last year."

"I wasn't chairman of the party," Steele insisted.

As Rachel Slajda notes at TalkingPointsMemo, Steele may have been referring to the actual time of the events in the Ensign scandal, which happened in 2007 and 2008. But the affair became public knowledge in 2009, when Steele was already at the helm of the party.

Steele has even previously addressed the Ensign scandal as chairman of the GOP, telling Fox News in July, 2009, that he wished the whole scandal would just "go away."

The following video was recorded for KVBC's Face to Face with Jon Ralston, and was uploaded to YouTube by ThinkProgress.