April 28th, 2009
05:55 PM ET
6 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. Wayne H.

    Sorry Mr. Steele, but a drowning man will always grab for a life ring instead of an anvil...

    April 28, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  2. tigerakabj

    The party is over for you GOP. You think your obstruction of progress and your teabagging is winning any new voters?

    One by one, people have had it with the GOP and the destruction they have wrought. The last 8 years with Cheney and Bush at the helm proved that.

    And it is only going to get worse for the GOP going forward.

    April 28, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  3. WDM

    Yea, that's what Steele said about the NY 20! He has a big mouth, but is totally impotent.

    April 28, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  4. Jevaris Johnson

    I have flipped them the bird for the past 10 years! This is not nothing new. Steele on the other hand should sit down with his mother and learn manners and take a few more lesson on public speaking on the national stage.

    He will apologize tomorrow!

    April 28, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  5. dotjet

    I'd be willing to give Steele a $1 if he will use it to buy just a teeny bit of class!

    April 28, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  6. Scott

    Senator Steele, you're a perfect example of why people can't stand Republicans anymore.

    April 28, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  7. J.P.

    Spector to those who voted for him for 30 years: Drop Dead.

    Dude, you've been politically doomed since you voted for the Porkulus bill.

    April 28, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  8. Tulsa

    lol... as the whole country has done to the GOP..

    PS.. Steele, "we're coming after you?"..."taking you out?"
    You have confirmed everything I thought about the Republican party. A bunch of hateful power hungry crybabies.

    Come on Steele, any Democrat could take you out... even the women.

    April 28, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  9. Patty in the CA mountains

    No different than what Steele and the rest of the extremists do to the Democratic party every day....there's a reason for the labels "conservative" and "liberal"....look those words up in the dictionary and then decide which you would rather be.....stuck in a rut or moving foward

    April 28, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  10. Wayne, Greenville, TX

    Hey, Michael Steele –

    How many fingers am I holding up???? :-)

    April 28, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  11. Bobby tray

    Steele is the one who needs to wake up and grow up.

    April 28, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  12. Veronica

    Keep talking, Steele. You're giving comedian's worldwide awesome material!!

    April 28, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  13. Barbara - Atlanta

    People like Steele in the GOP is exactly the reason the Senator left!

    April 28, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  14. David

    "I'm sure his mama didn't raise him this way"
    "Flipped the bird"

    This is the head of the RNC speaking about a man who is in his sixties. This is the reason why the Republicans are in a tailspin. The people who represent them in at the highest levels are idiots.

    April 28, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  15. Chris

    Steele couldn't even engineer a victory in NY's most conservative district when their own candidate was up 21 points.
    He is a joke and a bitter whiner.

    Welcome Arlen! :)

    April 28, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  16. indy voter

    The republicans are fast becoming a party of southern rednecks.... :)

    April 28, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  17. reggie

    He was going to loose his reelection for sure as a republican. Now, he has a chance of getting reelected, but it's still doubtful. People are growing very weary of Obamas spending and controling.

    April 28, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  18. Mark

    Michael Sleete's comments about Spector are typical of the rwpublican party and their image of intolerance for anyone who disagrees with their narrow minded thinking. They are completely out of touch with the American people. Mr. Steele should be ashamed of his comments but unfortunately, he isn't.

    April 28, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  19. Dont blame Obama for where Bush took us

    Steele is a real class act.....NOT!

    April 28, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  20. David

    I am a republican but Steele SHUTUP...you are only making stupid liberals vote...think about it dude...this is the only way liberals win elections...they get stupid people fired up over something and all issues go out of the door so these dumb citizens will vote democrat based on some hate towards a republican because he went to colleg and got a job (I know its terrible to go to college and get a job and try and be successful...thats just not American anymore).

    April 28, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  21. Really?

    Steele is simply ghetto. He has no professionalism whatsoever and is an embarrassment to all people of color.

    April 28, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  22. DrMan

    Specter saw the writing on the wall. He would have changed to the Communist party if it would have gotten him re-elected. Let's get Franken in there so the Dems have their filibuster proof majority. Then, when the economy is still in the toilet next November, let's see how the libs try to blame Bush for the debacle we'll find ourselves in that they, and only they, will be the cause of.

    April 28, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  23. Mike

    "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.

    Nice to see that the NRC Chair is acting like an adult about the situation.

    Sen. Specter said changed parties because the party left him not the other way around.

    Maybe Chairman Steele and the Repulican leadership should take this as a sign that their party is becoming increasingly marginalized and look for ways to reverse that trend. Instead with comments like these it looks like they are determined to dig their heels in and keep falling further and further to the right.

    The Republican party is in its death throes and about as relevant as the Whig party these days.

    April 28, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  24. Seth in Jacksonville, FL

    Steele is such a poser. Spin this any way you like – the GOP is hemorrhaging support in a big way.

    April 28, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  25. Jane

    I wouldn't consdier having Cornyn on my side an asset. What benefit is that? Sen Specter sees that the GOP Party can't support him – just maybe the GOP should look at why almost 80% of the country doesn't align with them either. It's pretty simple match, Mr Steele.

    April 28, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
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