April 28th, 2009
05:55 PM ET
5 years ago

Steele: Specter 'flipped the bird' at GOP

(CNN) - A heated Michael Steele told CNN Tuesday longtime Republican Sen. Arlen Specter essentially "flipped the bird" at the GOP leadership with his decision to bolt from the party he has been a member of for more than four decades.

Speaking to CNN's Gloria Borger and Kyra Philips, the Republican National Committee Chairman said it was "not only disrespectful, but downright rude" of Specter to make this decision after the national party made it clear it would stand behind him in a contentious primary fight.

"[National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John] Cornyn went out on the line for this man," he said. "For the senator to flip the bird back to Senator Cornyn and the Republican Senate Leadership, a team that stood by him, who went to the bat for him in 2004, to save his hide is not only disrespectful but down right rude,"

"I'm sure his mama didn't raise him this way," Steele added.

Steele, who said Specter had not given the party leadership a heads up about his decision, also expressed confidence the Pennsylvania senator would either lose a Democratic primary in his home state or the general election to the eventual Republican candidate.

"I seriously doubt he'll have a scot-free ride on the Democratic side no matter what kind of deal the trial lawyers and Democratic Party have made," Steele said. "[Pennsylvania] Gov. Ed Rendell may not run for the U.S. Senate, but a lot of congressmen will look at that seat - this is an open seat for the Democrats."

"If Sen. Specter survives in the fall - get ready to go to the mat, baby, because we're coming after you and taking you out," added Steele.


Filed under: Arlen Specter • Michael Steele
soundoff (307 Responses)
  1. Patrick

    The Republicans are done. They just cannot stop excluding people from their ranks.

    April 28, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. Realist

    You know, they have now discovered that the cure for the swine flu is to hug a senator or representative :-)

    April 28, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  3. Carol

    Obviously, the GOP chose Steele as their leader because of his professionalism. Keep things above board and on a business-like level.

    April 28, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  4. John

    Very classy with the "finger" Mr. Steele. As RNC head, do you teach classes in bridge-burning, too??

    April 28, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  5. HTW

    Steele sounds like such an idiot. The way he expresses himself is so unprofessional and unbecoming. I don't know who he thinks he's appealing to.

    April 28, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  6. David/Florida

    Steele, I haven't flipped a bird in a long time. Here's one for you.

    April 28, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  7. AndieLee

    Guess Steele is continuing to show the class that is running people away from the GOP in droves.

    "If Sen. Specter survives in the fall — get ready to go to the mat, baby, because we're coming after you and taking you out," added Steele.

    As usual, no chance of them taking the high road or indulging in any self-examination.

    Bless you Sen. Specter for turning away from the party of "no". As in no class.

    April 28, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
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