|November 4, 2010|
|Meet John Boehner's Media Chief|
|By Greg Hazley|
|With the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives and likely ascension of Rep. John Boehner to Speaker, the Ohio congressman's press secretary will likely see a lot more action.|
Michael Steel, not to be confused with Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele, is a former National Journal reporter who's worked the GOP caucus since 2003 as a press secretary and communications director for Rep. John Shadegg (Ariz.), Rep. Jim Mcrery (La.), and the House Ways and Means Committee, which McCrery chaired.
Politico has described Steel as "socially bipartisan," profiling him as one of D.C.'s top 50 "Party Animals" -- those who throw the best and show up at the most events -- in 2009. When the Hill pub last year asked Steel where he'd be in 10 years, he presciently said: "...in two years, I'd like to press secretary for Speaker Boehner."
He took over press duties for Boehner in 2008 when McCrery retired from Congress.
Steel's most partisan moment was perhaps fueling (starting?) a rumor that $30M of federal stimulus money would go toward protecting marsh mice in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's congressional district. The push has even landed on Steel's sparse Wikipedia entry. As quoted in the Washington Times in Feb. 2009: "'So can Speaker Pelosi explain exactly how we will improve the American economy by helping the adorable little' critter."
So what does he think about the next Congress? Here are a few quotes since the midterms on Tuesday:
On Boehner and Obama: "There's no animosity, but there's not much of a personal relationship or a working relationship." (The Hill)
Lobbing a partisan grenade: "It's not a referendum on one person - it's a referendum on Washington Democrats' job-killing agenda." (Wash Post)
And another: "Given Washington Democrats' unprecedented spending binge, this is like announcing you're going on a diet after winning a pie-eating contest." (NY Times)
On the GOP agenda: "There's nothing more urgent than stopping the tax hikes, cutting spending and repealing Obamacare." (Fox News)
On the BP oil spill: "BP was clearly responsible, and must pay for the cleanup. But before we talk about new legislation, Congress should find out exactly why this happened, what it will cost and how we can best prevent future accidents." (The Hill)
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