GOP chief stumbles over abortion topic

March 13, 2009 at 9:40 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 13 (UPI) -- Michael Steele, the beleaguered national Republican Party chairman, seems to have strayed from the party line on abortion rights, GOP observers say.

Steele, who has found himself having to explain what he meant to say on earlier occasions much to the reported anguish of some Republican leaders, had his latest problem in a GQ interview on Thursday, The New York Times said.

He seemed to suggest during the interview that women should have the right to decide whether to have an abortion. He called it "an individual's choice."

He quickly came back with a clarification: "The states should make that choice. That's what the choice is. The individual choice rests in the states. Let them decide."

Earlier, Steele, who has been in the job for only two months, caused party anxiety with such things as tangling with Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio host, and furnishing fodder for TV parodies by Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and "Saturday Night Live."

The Times says the latest incident likely won't spur any movement to recall Steele but could diminish his ability to present his case for his party and raise money.

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