Steele: Don't Use Sanford and Palin to Paint GOPers with 'Broad Brush'

ABC News’ David Chalian Reports: Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele doesn’t want the controversies and scandals surrounding a couple of high profile Republicans to be used as part of a “broad brush sweep” depiction of the GOP at large.

“I don’t buy this broad brush sweep that a lot of folks want to do to take situations involving Sanford or Palin and make it writ large for every Republican in the country,” Steele said on ABC News’ “Top Line.”

Chairman Steele responded to a question about the four Republicans, including former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) and Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) , he cited as rising stars in the party during a Fox News interview last February .

“If I knew what I know now, then, my answer probably would have been a little bit different. I certainly wouldn’t have put Sanford up as one of those stars of the party that were going to be looked to leadership because he’s got other issues he’s got to deal with,” said Steele.

Mr. Steele called former Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R-AK) decision to resign her office in the middle of her first term a personal and political decision he respects.

“She made a very personal, a very political decision for her to get out of the way of her state moving forward because her leadership had become a distraction with all the media attention and the attacks,” Steele said. “She made, I think, a very personal decision. I respect that,” he added.

The GOP chairman argued his point by questioning if Democratic politicians should have had their reputations besmirched in the 1990s by Bill Clinton’s behavior.

“When the president, the former president of the united states is caught with an intern in his, underneath his desk, does that impugn every Democrat in the country?,” Steele asked.

Praising Republican candidates running for office across the country, including his party’s gubernatorial candidates in New Jersey and Virginia, Chairman Steele said he feels good about the current state of the GOP. “We have a lot of work to do. We have a long way to go. But I feel good about where we are.”

To read the transcript of our interview with Michael Steele, click HERE .

ABC News' Teddy Davis contributed to this report.

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