Steele Defends O'Donnell's Chinese Takeover Theory: "Do You Know That" She's Lying?

October 06, 2010 12:16 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

Before she became a national sensation, Republican non-witch Christine O'Donnell was a "perennial candidate" and conservative activist with a long record of making outrageous statements.  For instance, during a GOP primary debate in 2006, O'Donnell claimed to have knowledge of a Chinese plot to "take over America." She added, "I wish I wasn't privy to some of the classified information that I am privy to."

Appearing on MSNBC last night, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele defended O'Donnell's comments.  Confronted with the lack of support for her claim, Steele burst out in a fit of uncomfortable laughter. "Christine O'Donnell is fantastic candidate for us for the United States Senate and I can't wait to call her 'Senator,'" he finally said.  When host Lawrence O'Donnell (no relation) directly accused her of lying, Steele became incredulous, asking, "Do you know that?" over and over again.  Watch:

On the whole, it was another poor showing for Steele, whose tenure at the RNC has been marked by repeated gaffes.  During the interview, Steele also admitted that he doesn't know what the minimum wage is and refused to say whether or not repealing it is a good idea.