How Michael Steele Plans to Shake Up the Republican Party

A 50-state strategy and expanded outreach to African-American and Hispanic voters.

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Michael Steele, the new chairman of the Republican National Committee, has big plans for the RNC. Among his goals is adopting a 50-state strategy to make the GOP competitive even in areas where it hasn't done well in recent years, such as New York and the West Coast.

This sounds like what Howard Dean did during over the past few years as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, when he adopted his own 50-state strategy that paid big dividends in 2006 and 2008.

In an interview with U.S. News, Steele, who is African-American, also said he plans to extend the party's outreach to African-Americans and Hispanics and their media outlets on a permanent basis, not just at election time. He wants to better explain the GOP's conservative philosophy of optimism, opportunity, and economic growth to minority voters and "make folks understand that we'll walk that walk with them."

Other Steele plans: Make better use of the Web and other technology to spread the GOP message to college students and small businesses, make sure Republicans in Congress and around the country have as consistent a message as possible, and take on the Democrats and the media directly when they mischaracterize GOP positions. 

In some cases with his overall agenda, Steele said, "it may be tough sledding, but we're going to get on the sled."