This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," Dec. 13, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: RNC chairman Michael Steele is making huge political news tonight. He has made a decision! Is he going to run for reelection as chairman of the RNC or not? Yes or no?
He joins us live. Good evening, sir.
MICHAEL STEELE, RNC CHAIRMAN: It's good to be with you.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, I know the answer because I heard it earlier (INAUDIBLE) announcement. But are you? You running?
STEELE: Yes, I am. Yes, I am. I think the work of the party that we began over a year-and-a-half ago, two years ago needs to continue as we set our sights to 2012 and what we hope will be the election of a Republican president in 2012.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, it seems to me that in terms of the criteria for an RNC chairman, there are two questions. One is whether you can win.
VAN SUSTEREN: Whether you win seats.
VAN SUSTEREN: And you did pretty well (INAUDIBLE)
STEELE: Yes, we did.
VAN SUSTEREN: You did pretty well.
STEELE: We did very well.
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, you get responsibility...
VAN SUSTEREN: You get credit and you would also get blame!
STEELE: Yes, well, I -- yes. Absolutely. If we had not won the seats we won, some 64 seats in the House, 21 state legislatures that flipped from Democrat to Republican, yes, then certainly, that would rest at my doorstep because we hadn't put the appropriate mechanisms in place to win or raised the money to win.
In the '09, 2010 cycle, we raised $179 million. A lot of that was small dollar donations because that's the new political playground for committee parties. And we've got to be able to adapt to that, and we did. And we took advantage of opportunities to go out and raise the money and win the election so we have control of the House. And I'm looking forward to referring to Mr. Boehner as Speaker Boehner.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK, so that's -- you actually sort of lead into my second part, is that I think the second criteria that I would look for if I were picking a chairman for a political party is money.
VAN SUSTEREN: So what's the bottom -- what's the bottom line right now? You got any money?
STEELE: Yes, we do. We do have. We have...
VAN SUSTEREN: How much you got?
STEELE: We have resources. I think our last cash on hand was somewhere -- which was probably the beginning of December, and we'll do another report that (INAUDIBLE) give in January to reflect a longer period from that, from December 2nd to January 17th, or so. But about $3.5 million, $4 million cash on hand. We have...
VAN SUSTEREN: What did you have two years ago when you assumed the reins?
STEELE: Well, what we -- when I took over, we had about $20-some million in the bank, but then we went on and raised another $89 or so million.
VAN SUSTEREN: But so you did -- but you were down at $23 million -- I mean, two -- how much did you have two years ago when you became chairman?
STEELE: Well, after the '08 election, there was money a transfer into the committee from the McCain campaign after the election.
VAN SUSTEREN: But how much did you have when you took the reins?
STEELE: About $20-some million.
VAN SUSTEREN: And now you're down to $3 million. So there's -- I mean, so -- and I realized...
STEELE: We spent a lot of money. I mean, but Greta, you can't look at it in terms of where you begin and what you end. I mean, you're talking two different periods. You're talking one election in which you had you know, some $13 million, $14 million spent on governor races of Virginia and New Jersey, Massachusetts and Hawaii. You're talking about helping the other party committees, the NRSC, the NRCC pay off their debt in 2009. So you can't look at it in those absolute terms. You look at the dollars that come in, what you do with those dollars, and then how you get geared up for the next cycle, which is what we're doing now.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why are some gunning for you?
STEELE: Well, I think there's a lot of reasons for that. My style is a little bit different than most conventional Republican Party chairmen. My style is more grass roots-oriented. I'm much more of a street guy. I love hanging out in boardrooms, but I prefer to be in neighborhoods and communities. My first trip as chairman was to go to Harlem. And a number of members asked me, Why are you going to Harlem? Because that's where the votes are. The party needs to get outside its comfort zone and -- yes, and we...
VAN SUSTEREN: Are you (INAUDIBLE) I mean, typically (INAUDIBLE) think that's more of a Democratic environment.
STEELE: Well, look...
VAN SUSTEREN: African-Americans are typically Democrat.
STEELE: We've got to plant the seed somewhere, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: (INAUDIBLE) I'm just asking if you're (INAUDIBLE)
STEELE: Yes, no, we do. We had an incredible candidate in Michael Faulkner, who ran against the machine up there, if you will, but did -- did reasonably well. Yes, he lost, but the seeds were planted. So you plant seeds in places where you're going to lose. You plant seeds in places where you're going to win.
VAN SUSTEREN: Twenty seconds. Is the job fun?
STEELE: The job is fun. I mean, and look, I think right now, we have a chance to move forward in a very aggressive way to take on the Obama administration and his agenda, and that's what we're going to do.
VAN SUSTEREN: Chairman Steele, thank you very much.
STEELE: Thank you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Always nice to see you.