His early tenure marred by a series of gaffes, Steele continued a recent re-emergence into the public fray, declaring Obama's first several months "a reign of error" in a speech to RNC members, and adding that the Republican "renaissance has begun."
"We've seen strategists writing memos and doing briefings urging that Republicans avoid confronting the president," Steele said in remarks at a convention center at National Harbor in Prince George's County. "If we have the courage of our convictions, and we do, then we will and we must stand up against disastrous policies, regardless of the president's popularity."
It was Steele's most high-profile speech since a series of controversies left him apologizing to talk show host Rush Limbaugh and assuring Republicans he would reduce his number of mistakes as well as his number of television appearances.
But while encouraging stepped up party action, Steele has also warned against overreaching.
His sharp criticism of Obama came as some members of the 168-person committee pushed for a resolution demanding the Democratic Party rename itself "the Democrat Socialist Party."
Earlier this week, Steele said, "I don't think that that is an appropriate way to express our views on the issues of the day."
His committee allies have sought to soften the resolution's tone, but others said it is likely to pass despite Steele's concerns, though the language might be altered.