Republican Party Race: Steele Faces Abortion, Fred Thompson May Run

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 14, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Republican Party Race: Steele Faces Abortion, Fred Thompson May Run

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 14
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — The race for the chairmanship of the Republican Party is heating up and abortion issues are already playing a role as party activists talk about who will keep the party strongly pro-life. Michael Steele has officially launched his bid, but Fred Thompson appears to be a possible candidate as well.

Steele, the former Maryland lieutenant governor and Senate candidate, officially announced his campaign on Thursday.

"The Republican Party must present a vision for the future of America that relies on our conservative values and core principles," Steele said in a statement.

He said it is wrong for Republicans or political pundits to assume that voters are suddenly liberal on issues like abortion because of Barack Obama’s victory.

However, Steele is facing questions about his commitment to the pro-life perspective.

Some pro-life Republican activists are citing an interview Steele gave to Meet the Press in 2006 where it appears he’s less than supportive of overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that allowed virtually unlimited abortions.

Matthew Archbold, a blogger at Creative Minority Report, highlights the interview and says he "fears" Steele may lean pro-life but not be as strong as some other potential RNC chairman contenders.

"Is Michael Steele pro-life? I fear the answer might be no," Archbold writes. "And for many in the pro-life movement, Steele’s comments could disqualify him from receiving their support."

Yet, Steele appeared to be unqualified in his support for the pro-life perspective when he talked with the National Right to Life Committee and its Maryland affiliate during his Senate run.

As Darla St. Martin, the group’s associate executive director tells, "Steele clearly told National Right to Life and Maryland Right to Life when he was running for the U.S. Senate in 2006 that he believes that unborn children should be protected by law and that he supports reversal of the Roe vs. Wade abortion decision."

NRLC endorsed Steele for his Senate campaign and sent out mailings across the state for him.

Steele is one of several Republicans interested in the top Republican Party job.

South Carolina Republican Party chair Katon Dawson, and pro-life former Iowa congressman Jim Nussle are also in the hunt as well as Chip Saltsman, the former Tennessee state chair who headed up Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign.

But another candidate appears to be coming out of the woodwork.

J.P. Freire of the conservative American Spectator publication says Fred Thompson, the pro-life former GOP presidential candidate, could be in the hunt.

"According to my sources, Fred Thompson is in talks with Chuck Yob, a [Michigan] party veteran," Freire writes. "Thompson would play the role of General Chair (the role that typically serves as figurehead), and Yob would be the RNC Chair, taking on the administrative tasks and the day-to-day operations of recruiting candidates."

But whether Thompson is really running or if it is another case of his supporters trying to draft him is another question.

The winner of the contest is important because the new Republican chairman will be a prominent figure responding to the pro-abortion policies of Barack Obama and pro-life advocates hope the new chairman will be a firm abortion opponent.

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