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Steele: 'I've made mistakes'

NEW ORLEANS -- Reading from a speech, sounding more subdued than he has in previous addresses to activists, RNC Chairman Michael Steele used his closing remarks at the SRLC to make some grudging admissions about the gaffes and scandals that have bedeviled his leadership for the past two weeks. He framed all of that as a media distraction, while taking "responsibility" for the scandals -- the details of which went unmentioned.

"The Democrats... know that they have some explaining to do," said Steele. "They'd love nothing more for us to keep point fingers at me and others instead of their radical, un-American agenda. And we shouldn't fall for that tactic. I'm the first here to admit I've made mistakes. And it's incumbent on me to take responsibility, shoulder that burden, make the necessary changes, and move on."

Steele was careful to bind his fate with the fate of the movement. "The one mistake we cannot afford this November," he said, "is to lose."

But he was hampered by the faded energy of the room, which continued to slowly empty as he spoke. When the speech ended, a small group of activists gathered around the stage -- he shook hands and signed autographs while politely declining to answer questions.

By David Weigel  |  April 10, 2010; 6:25 PM ET
Categories:  Michael Steele , RNC , SRLC  
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Next: Romney takes SRLC straw poll by one vote

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