RNC chairman Michael Steele has a penchant for putting his foot in his mouth. But confessing ignorance about the federal minimum wage in the midst of a campaign where Republicans are shouting “Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!” from every rooftop may rank among his recent highlights.
In an interview on Lawrence O’Donnell’s new MSNBC show last night, Steele first tried to change the subject before admitting he has no idea what minimum wage workers (Republican campaign ads refer to these folks as among the “average Americans”) are paid in the country Steele and the rest of his party is so desperate to “take back.”
“The reality of it is, that is not the most paramount issue that voters out there are facing,” Steele explained to O’Donnell after he was asked what the federal minimum wage is. “When you’ve lost your job, whether you know what the minimum wage is is not relevant.”
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Eventually, Steele — who many say will likely lose his job as RNC chair when his term ends — conceded that he is among those who thinks the minimum wage is irrelevant in the current political debate.
“That’ll be your headline,” Steele tells O’Donnell. “‘Steele doesn’t know the minimum wage.’”
For those feeling a little Steeley themselves, here’s a quick reminder. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.
This is not the first time a prominent Republican has stumbled when asked about the minimum wage. Last week, self-funding CEO-candidate Linda McMahon, the GOP nominee for Senate in Connecticut and one of those job creator-types Steele and other Republicans love to talk about, admitted she didn’t know what the minimum wage was, either.