Instead, he is likely to be, at least until the presidential race starts in two years, at the leading edge of his party as it makes its case against Mr. Obama.
“It’s time for something completely different, and we’re going to bring it to them,” Mr. Steele said. “We’re going to bring this party to every corner, to every boardroom, to every neighborhood, to every community. And we’re going to say to friend and foe alike: ‘We want you to be a part of us. We want you to be with us, and for those of you who are going to obstruct, get ready to be knocked over.’ ”
Offering a hint of the tone he would take as his party’s spokesman, Mr. Steele said the Republican Party had been unfairly caricatured by Democrats “and the media” as racist and insensitive to the needs of ordinary Americans.
“We have an image problem,” he said. “I think how we begin to correct that image problem is defining ourselves to the people of this country.”
“We’ve been misidentified as a party that doesn’t care, a party that is insensitive, a party that is unconcerned about minorities,” he said, adding, “Nothing can be further from the truth.”
But taking some of the wind out of the GOP sails, the Obama administration purposely leaked that another Republican, Judd Gregg from New Hampshire, would be nominated for a Cabinet position, to replace the embarrassment of Bill Richardson.
"If the senator accepts and is confirmed, he would be the third Republican appointee in Mr. Obama’s cabinet, after Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, who also served under former President George W. Bush, and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman from Mr. Obama’s home state of Illinois.
Mr. Gregg’s selection could also open the door to a significant shift in the balance of power in Congress. There are currently 58 Democrats in the Senate; the number would rise to 59 if Al Franken of Minnesota is seated after the court challenge to his race is completed.
If Gov. John Lynch of New Hampshire, a Democrat, replaced Mr. Gregg with a member of his own party, that would put the Democratic majority at 60 — a magic number in the Senate, because 60 is the number of votes needed to control the legislative agenda and block a Republican filibuster.
But there are no guarantees that Mr. Lynch will pick a Democrat: New Hampshire is a state that prizes its political independence, and Mr. Lynch is a moderate. Some analysts say the governor could turn to a well-regarded Republican — the name of Warren Rudman, a former senator from New Hampshire, has been mentioned — to serve as a kind of “caretaker senator” to fill out the remainder of Mr. Gregg’s term, which expires at the end of 2010."
"But it's not over, because Blagojevich could still go to jail. In fact, he'll be the first Illinois governor to go to jail since the last one, and the one before that, then there were a couple more." --Jay Leno
"Oh, boy, the Illinois senators were mad -- 59-0. Not only was he Blagojevich convicted, his hairdresser was given the death penalty." --Jay Leno
"So now, the lieutenant governor of Illinois will move up and he'll be sworn in. And Blagojevich still doesn't get it. Like when he heard the lieutenant governor was going to get his seat, he said, 'You mean for free?'" --Jay Leno
"As you know, President Obama has outlawed torture. Although, he said, 'After listening to Rush Limbaugh, maybe I was a little too hasty.'" --Jay Leno
"Ooh, it's getting nasty now between President Obama and Rush Limbaugh. In fact, Limbaugh told his radio audience he's not going to 'bend over' and grab his ankles just because Barack Obama is black. Well, you know, let's take race out of it for a minute. Now, honestly, regardless of who's president, do you think there's any chance in hell Rush Limbaugh could bend over and grab his ankles?" --Jay Leno
"President Obama says he needs nearly a trillion dollars to help kick start the economy. That's a lot of money. Do you realize with that money, you could give every man and woman and child in this country $3,300? Or you could buy shoes for everyone in South America for life. Or you could cover the New York Yankees' payroll for a season and a half." --Jay Leno
"And former secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, is readjusting to life as a private citizen. God, you think after eight years of tense talks with hostile tyrants, she would have had enough, but no, today, she was on 'The View.'" --Jay Leno
"There's now growing proof that some of the relief money that was supposed to help victims of the huge earthquake in China was actually siphoned off by corrupt officials. In fact, one corrupt official, Chang Blagojevich, was arrested today." --Jay Leno
"On this date in 2002, President Bush, do you remember this, the axis of evil speech? Do you remember his axis of evil? Do you remember what the axis of evil was? Iran, Iraq, Dick Cheney. That was the axis of evil right there." --David Letterman
"Blagojevich was impeached today back there in Springfield. And he spoke in his defense at the impeachment proceedings, spoke for 47 minutes. And it really took its toll on the guy, because afterwards, they had to rush him to the emergency room at Supercuts." --David Letterman
"Oh, here's good news. I guess the House of Representatives has passed President Obama's stimulus package. And then I guess it goes through the Senate. And if that's passed, then that $800 billion, just disappears. Have no idea where it goes." --David Letterman
"You know it's interesting, when Bill Clinton needed stimulus for his package, he just called an intern." --David Letterman
"According to a new study, there's been an increase in the number of illegal Mexican immigrants living in Canada. Yeah. Yeah, you got the hand it to them. That must be some tunnel." --Conan O'Brien
"ABC says they will probably cancel the sitcom 'According to Jim,' which means Barack Obama's message of hope is already working." --Conan O'Brien
"Actually, Rush Limbaugh's stimulus package is just a package containing a big bottle of stimulants." --Craig Ferguson
"Blagojevich showed that a high-ranking politician in the United States can be disgraced without hookers or gay sex in a public bathroom and I think that's refreshing, right?" --Jimmy Kimmel