Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele today backtracked on comments that his party would "come after" Republicans who support the stimulus or health care reform.
Steele made the comments last week to ABCNews.com.
"You do not want to put yourself in a position where you're crossing that line on conservative principles, fiscal principles. Because we'll come after you," he said.
"You're gonna find yourself in a very tough hole if you're arguing for the president's stimulus plan or Nancy Pelosi's health plan."
Today on Fox News, he backpedaled, saying, "I know a lot of folks have taken it out of context."
"It was not me going after anybody. It's what your grassroots activists out there are saying to elected officials," he said.
"It's not going after people," he continued. "It's really helping people understand" our principles.
Steele also mentioned the NY-23 election, in which the Republican candidate withdrew from the race and endorsed a Democrat, while a Conservative party candidate stayed in the race with support from national figures. The Democrat won.
He said that example proves the need for primaries.
"We see what happens, for example, in NY-23, when a handful of folks get out of control and do not pay attention to the process," he said.