Conservative David Frum said he was sickened by the attacks on Michael Steele for saying abortion was an 'individual' choice.
During an appearance on "Meet the Press" Sunday, Frum, who served as an adviser to President Bush, was asked whether Steele's view on abortion -- as exhibited during a GQ interview published this week -- was acceptable under the tent of the GOP.
"It should represent a view within the Republican Party," he replied. "It should be permissible to say such a thing. I speak as a Republican: we need Michael Steele. He's exciting. He's warm. He has a marvelous TV presence. That's the face that our party should be presenting to the country and we need to support him. And the very fact that he is opening up, talking to constituencies that need to be reached -- these are valuable and fresh things. And I'm sick about the kind of level of attack he's taking. Because we need him."
Later in the program, Frum argued that Steele's appeal was far more than just racial or political superficiality.
"He's not a black face, he's just a different face," he said. "We need different kinds of people. It isn't 'you put a black face on the party and you get black voters.' You put a different face there ... His knocking down the walls is saying we can have a wider discussion within the Republican Party than we've allowed ourselves.
Frum's remarks come as Steele finds himself on politically shaky ground, under siege from social conservatives and without much support from major players in the Republican Party. And while Frum provides an important defense for the embattled RNC chair, his position is certainly the minority. Many pro-life Republicans are livid. Even pro-choice Republicans are disappointed in Steele, both for his decision to walk back the comments to GQ and for his general lack of clarity and honesty in his beliefs on abortion.