Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele went on Fox News to carry out damage control Thursday after revelations that an RNC campaign strategy presentation portrayed President Obama as the Joker from Batman and appeared to hold Republican donors in contempt.
A presentation on strategy delivered to Republican donors and fundraisers on Feb. 18 featured a graphic entitled "Evil Empire" that included cartoons of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, with the title "Cruella DeVille and Scooby-Doo."
The presentation also suggested that Republican donors are "ego-driven" and can be made to give money by appealing to their animosity against the Obama administration.
The presentation displayed "an air of disdain for the party’s donors that is usually confined to the barroom conversations of political operatives," wrote Politico's Ben Smith, who originally obtained the document.
The news has outraged some Democrats, with DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse telling the Washington Post: "If you had any doubt, any doubt whatsoever, that the Republican Party has been taken over by the fear-mongering lunatic fringe, those doubts were erased today. ... Republicans across the country have cheered on crowds where these very images appeared."
On Fox News Thursday, Steele described the presentation as "unfortunate."
"This is not the kind of presentation I want to make to staffers, or to our donors, or anyone else, because it cheapens the political process," Steele told Fox's Megyn Kelly.
Pressed by Kelly on whether anyone would be "disciplined or fired" over the presentation, Steele said he had asked RNC financial director Rob Bickhart to "get to the bottom of it."
When Kelly noted that the Politico report had attributed the presentation to Bickhart himself, Steele evaded the question.
And the RNC chairman did more damage control when Kelly said it appeared the Republican Party was "ripping on its own donors" in the presentation.
"The words on paper don't sound appealing." Steele said. "Certainly we love our donors and we thank them for the support that they've given us over the past year and continue to give us."
This video is from Fox News' America Live, broadcast March 4, 2010.