Steele Backtracks on Punishing GOP Senators Who Voted For Stimulus

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Josh just posted the video of Michael Steele’s appearance on Fox News yesterday, when the national Republican chairman suggested that he would be open to denying political funds to the three GOP senators who supported the economic stimulus law.

See more at Foxnews.com.

It sounds like a brash bit of moxie from Steele. But when I asked him about it today — the RNC chief joined ex-Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) as an official lunch guest of Senate GOPers — Steele backtracked.

“It’s totally up to the state parties,” he told me, in a stark contrast to his comment on Fox that he would “talk to the state parties” about withholding funds to the three stimulus-supporting Republican senators. (The three in question: Arlen Specter, up for re-election in Pennsylvania next year, and Mainers Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both out of cycle in 2010.)

Incidentally, the Senate Republican campaigns chief, John Cornyn (TX) was also bearish on Steele’s initial vow. When I asked if he was open to blocking party aid to the three Cornyn said simply: “We’re going to support incumbents.”

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