The Americans for Tax Reform hosted the RNC Chair debate with Grover Norquist moderating the debate. There was a large attendance with every major media outlet represented. It was held this afternoon at the National Press Club in Washington DC. C-span broadcasted the debate live The Iowa delegation was present with both Kim Lehman and Steve Scheffler interacting among the crowd. Iowa was also mentioned several times during the debate signifying how important the Iowa GOP is to the national party.
The RNC has five candidates that are viewing for the the Chairmanship, Saul Anuzis State party chair of Michigan, Chip Saltzman Former state party chair of Tennesse and Huckabee campaign manager, Micheal Steele former LT. Governor of Maryland and current chair of GO-PAC, Katon Dawson state party chair of South Carolina, and Mike Duncan Current RNC Chair from Kentucky.
Micheal Steele was very engaging and presented himself well. He could take on Obama and the democrat machine. Katon Dawaon also made a great appearance being the only candidate to stand up and address the crowd. For and underdog he came across as confident and knew what he was talking about. Ken Blackwell came with a very impressive list of endorsements but sounded very dry and canned. He also seamed to be the favorite of the Christian Right. Blackwell was also very critical of the current administration's position on the bailout. Saul Anuzis did a great job talking about his background as a teamster and growing up in a working class family from Michigan. He could really help the party in the Rustbelt in the (eastern) Midwest. Chip Saltzman talked about how he led the Tennessee GOP in 2000 when the national party wrote-off Tennessee because Al Gore was from Tennessee and still led Tennessee to victory. Along with his work at the NRSC and as the Huckabee Campaign Manager he clearly has experience with campaigns. Mike Duncan the current Chair of the RNC, had the best handouts a full 20 book detailing his plan to change the party. (I wonder where this plan was last year) Duncan is also the only candidate that does not use Twitter or Facebook. Duncan was critical of the current administrations handling of the Iraq war.
All of the candidates were opposed to the bailout and had plans to reach out to various coalitions and hold republican candidates accountable to the platform. They all professed to be conservative, pro-life and Reagan was their favorite President. There was a general consensus that we need to reach out to youth and develop our technology beyond capturing e-mails and blasting a message out. Michael Steele came out swinging stating that we need to be a party of more than talk, we need to reach out on state and local levels to grow our party. Michale Steele and Katon Dawson put forthe the grestest and most compelling case to be Chair.
More can be seen at RNCdebate.org