Democrats Hope GOP's Michael Steele Survives

Democrats are hoping Republican Party boss Steele survives insider criticism—and keeps making gaffes.

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

Democrats are pulling back on criticizing embattled Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele, eager to see the gaffe-prone GOP spokesman survive. He's the "gift that keeps on giving," said one top Obama adviser. While those Steele has attacked, such as the White House or individual Democrats, are urged to respond, the Democratic Party and its operatives are suggesting that supporters be quiet and not detract from the sometimes controversial or embarrassing things Steele says. "If you looked over the past days, we haven't put out any press releases or statements on Steele," says a party insider. The reason: The party doesn't want to draw attention away from Steele's recent comments on abortion or conservative Rush Limbaugh. "We hope Steele survived because he's helping us," said another Obama ally. Republicans suggested this week that Steele is safe in his post, now that he has begun to staff up the Republican National Committee. However, there were unsubstantiated rumors earlier this week that Republicans were looking for a replacement. One name that surfaced was Norm Coleman, who is in a fight with Al Franken to keep his Minnesota Senate seat.