Steele: "I Have Not Heard Any Candidates Say That" They Support A Government Shutdown

October 19, 2010 12:14 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

As the midterm elections approach, there is rising speculation that Republicans might force a government shutdown if they win back the majority in the House. This morning, RNC Chairman Michael Steele downplayed the possibility, telling Fox News host Martha MacCallum, "I have not heard any candidates say that" they would support a government shutdown.  Watch:

Most of the government shutdown chatter has come from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — who led two shutdowns in 1995 — and conservative activists like Dick Morris. However, if Steele really hasn't heard any candidates float the possibility of a shutdown, then he hasn't been listening very well. Indeed, multiple GOP candidates and lawmakers are on the record supporting the idea:

  • Joe Miller (R-AK): "I think there's an understanding that the mood of the nation has changed in such a way that there is not going to be toleration of business as usual. If that means shutting down the government, so be it. I mean, we'll do what it takes."
  • Teresa Collett (R-MN): "I think if the stakes are high enough, we might have to do that."
  • Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA): "If the government shuts down, we want you with us. We want you with us. We gotta have you ... because later on you all will call us and say, "Look I didn't get my check. Daddy can't go to the VA." You know, "The national parks are closed."  

Additionally, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has demanded a "blood oath" from Minority Leader John Boehner that he will pursue the full repeal of health care reform, saying that even if it results in a government shutdown, "We must not blink." 

Steele himself acknowledged the possibility of a government shutdown during a campaign stop in Omaha last month. "Anything can happen," he told the Nebraska Watchdog blog. "We'll see who the leadership is, how big the margins are, what the numbers in the new Congress look like." Asked directly whether or not it would be a "good idea," Steele did not say. Watch: