MICHAEL STEELE, TIME TRAVELER…. Last week, RNC Chairman Michael Steele insisted that he wrote his new book “before I became chairman” last January. That seemed like an odd claim, given that much of the book includes descriptions of major events that happened throughout 2009.

Yesterday, the time traveling chairman was at it again.

In June 2009, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) announced at a press conference that in the previous year he had “violated the vows” of his marriage by carrying on an affair with one of his campaign staffers, who was married to one of his Senate staffers. It was later revealed that Ensign had his parents pay the couple $96,000 and arranged for his former legislative assistant, Doug Hampton, “to join a political consulting firm and lined up several donors as his lobbying clients.” Ensign and his staff then “repeatedly intervened on the companies’ behalf with federal agencies, often after urging from Mr. Hampton.”

In an interview with RNC Chairman Michael Steele taped this week for “Face to Face With Jon Ralston,” Ralston asked Steele if he would be “outraged” if “a Democratic senator had an affair with a staffer, had his parents pay her off, fired both her and her husband who worked for him and then tried to get the husband jobs.” First, Steele claimed he didn’t know who Ralston was talking about. But when Ralston said it was Ensign, Steele said it didn’t have an “opinion” on it because he “wasn’t chairman of the party at the time all that took place.”

Ralston said, “What are you talking about? It took place last year.” To which Steele responded, “I wasn’t chairman of the party.”

Here’s my follow-up: if it wasn’t him, who does Steele think was the RNC chair last summer?

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.