March 6, 2009
"Aww, trust me. Not me baby! Nuh-uh. Not happening. No way, no how!"
Michael Steele, Republican National Committee chairman, rejecting calls for his resignation on Bill Bennett's conservative talk-radio program Morning in America
He was supposed to help rebuild a Republican Party ravaged by the November 2008 elections, but a little after a month into office, key party leaders start worrying they made a costly mistake in electing Steele. In his short time in office he engages in a leadership dispute with conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh (and then backs down), suggests he'd be willing to support other Republicans in primaries against the three moderate GOP Senators who voted in favor of the stimulus and confuses his positions on some major policy issues, most notably abortion. But the gaffe-prone Steele rejects calls to resign and steps back from talking to the media while stories questioning his leadership die down.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has to deal with a faux pas of her own. While meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva, she presents a gift box with a button supposed to bear the Russian word for "reset," though Lavrov says the Russian word actually means "overcharge." "You got it wrong," Lavrov says jokingly, though Clinton seems embarrassed. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner struggles through the day as well, after his choices for both deputy and undersecretary for internal affairs withdraw their names from consideration.