Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele said today that Arizona's controversial immigration measure does not reflect the beliefs of all Republicans.
Speaking to Spanish-language television network Univision, Steele said this: "The actions of one state's governor is not a reflection of an entire country, nor is it a reflection of an entire political party."
Steele's reference is to the decision by Arizona Republican governor Jan Brewer to sign the bill.
"The governor and the people of Arizona made a decision that they thought was in their best interest, and that's the beauty of a republic, that's who we are," Steele added, as The Hill reports. (The Hill has posted video of the exchange, though it is overdubbed in Spanish.)
Last month a judge put on hold the most controversial aspects of the law, among them requirements that law enforcement must check a person's immigration status in certain situations and that immigrants carry their identification papers in public.
Steele's comments are somewhat off-message from a GOP that has largely embraced the immigration measure,.
President Obama has criticized the measure as potentially discriminatory, and Latino leaders haveSome Republicans have worried that while its rhetoric around immigration could help the GOP in the short term, it could alienate a key voting bloc in the long run.