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Steele's gaffes continue to pile up

From NBC's Mark Murray
Last March, we compared Michael Steele's first few weeks as RNC chair to Howard Dean's rocky start as DNC chairman in '05. (Remember that Dean received criticism back then for saying the GOP was "pretty much a white, Christian party," and that many Republicans "have not made an honest living in their lives.)

But by now, as Steele's gaffes continue to pile up, there's really no comparison. Just consider what Steele has said on "Hannity" last night as he promotes his new book, "Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda":

-- Steele not only admitted that Republicans probably wouldn't take back the House in November (a view shared by most political handicappers), but more importantly suggested that Republicans might not be ready to govern. "I don't know [if the GOP is ready]," he said. "And that's what I'm assessing and evaluating right now. Those candidates that are looking to run have to be -- have to be anchored in these principles. They have to be -- they have to understand ... these steps, because if they don't, then they'll get to Washington, and they'll start drinking that Potomac River water. And they'll get drunk with power."

-- Per liberal-leaning Media Matters, he also made a comment that some might find inappropriate or offensive: "Our platform is one of the best political documents that's been written in the last 25 years. Honest Injun on that," he told Hannity.

These new gaffes or verbal missteps come after the Washington Times uncovered that Steele has been giving paid speeches in addition to his day job, and after Hotline reported that Steele's RNC gave the Northern Mariana Islands $20,000 -- even though it doesn't have any voting members of Congress or any electoral votes.

An RNC spokeswoman responded to the $20,000 for the Northern Mariana Islands. "The RNC gives money to state parties because the job of the RNC is to help Republicans win elections -- just like we did in New Jersey and Virginia."