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. Pat in IL

    Get over it Steele, et al. The GOP leadership has gone way too far over the line and have become nothing more than closed-minded bullies who put themselves and their views as a top priority over the needs of the country.

    April 28, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  2. Marcy Spencer

    What a reference to come out of the mouth of the head of a national political party! How unbelievably crude! Steele is the one whose mamma surely didn't raise him this way. I, and others who support the Democratic party's efforts to turn around America, are enjoying every minute of this. I'm embarassed for decent members of the GOP; their party is a lst cause. Let's follow Arlen Specter's example and move on with rebuilding this country.

    April 28, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  3. KathyA

    "Get ready to go to the mat, baby, because we're coming after you and taking you out"? Hey Mike, this is not a wrestling match, this is our lives and representing the american people. I think his mama did a good job!

    April 28, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  4. The Last RINO

    Don't act like this comes as a surprise. You've been allowing Toomey to challenge a sitting GOP senator. You've been complicit with all the RINO-bashing and Limbaugh nonsense since you became our "leader." And Specter is the one flipping a bird?

    Now, you've got what you wanted: a chance to face off a conservative Republican against a (former) moderate ex-Republican, but for the Senate seat, not the GOP nomination. What are you afraid of?

    April 28, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  5. Party Crasher

    I am certain that Steele is a complete idiot.

    April 28, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  6. dmott

    Steeles words carry about the same weight as Bush and Cheney, which isn't much. Repubs are dust in the wind but fail to realize it.

    April 28, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  7. Bothsidesoftheaislekindaguy

    Wow, Steele certainly sounds like a fascist...not sure if he's overdoing it to make up for being scolded about his abortion comments or what...but man, talk about being divisive. "Be Loyal or you will pay dearly"...isn't this America?

    April 28, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  8. Jerzjen

    Michael Steele sounds more and more ignorant every time he opens his mouth. What's worse is that the more he and other Republicans call for Spector's head, the more attention they bring to the already public perception that they don't like or respect views different from their own. NOOOOOO!! Now they have to bring in the drama. How dare Alen Spector disagree with our extreme right-wing views! Who the heck does he think he is thinking for himself? Being all mavericky!

    April 28, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  9. jb

    Is this guy serious. He brought up a senator's (dead) mother.

    He sounds like a professional wrestling promoter. A black Vince McMan.

    April 28, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  10. The Real Slim Shady

    Is Steele capable of communicating as an adult? And why is he bringing Specter's mother into this? Crude.

    April 28, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  11. Tracy---Indianapolis, IN

    I think 69% of AMericans have "flipped the bird" to the GOP because you all SUCK!!!!!!!

    OBAMA 08 & 12

    April 28, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  12. fudge

    Lets just say he flew out of the cooco's nest GoP'er at their finest! Losers, Liars, Party of No use, only to the ignorant and Rich holy than thou sayers.

    April 28, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  13. Ian

    Rediculous.

    April 28, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  14. Helen Franklin

    I believe Specter has the right to choose any political party he wants to belong to, if any, as do all Americans.

    April 28, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  15. Mike

    With friends like John Cornyn, Senator Specter needs NO enemies. As for Michael Steele the faux Republican National Chair, he must not have been paying a bit of attention to the course of the Republican Party in just the past 8 years, let alone the past 20 years. This is a true "realignment phase" and let there be no doubt that unless you are a far right , ultra conservative person there simply is no room in the Republican Party for you. Senator Snowe is correct to call Senator Specter's move devastating. It simply shines a bigger light on the lack of inclusion in the Republican Party nationally and if you're anywhere in the center you are OUT!

    April 28, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  16. Jay Starr

    Why does Steele insist on talking like Mr. T?

    April 28, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  17. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Does Steele think he's on an episode of Starsky and Hutch? I find his attempts at "street lingo" to be hugely insulting and moronic.

    April 28, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  18. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    Michael I'm sorry to tell you this but the GOP is history. They lost their core values and even forgot why they were known as Republicans. A republican was a party that supported the laws of the US Constitution and this nation as a Republic. But under their leadership along with the democrats we have lost our great Republic and became some sort of democracy/socialist nation.

    April 28, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  19. Publius

    So Specter "flipped the bird" at John Cornyn, huh? I've been doing that for years...

    April 28, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  20. Steve

    Switched parties to avoid a loss in the Republican primary.........VERY COWARDLY!

    April 28, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  21. rob

    what is Steele talking about . there is no leadership of the GOP–they are going off the deep end. They represent nobody , but a small group of narrow minded, bigoted people that still think this is 1950

    April 28, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  22. jesse

    the WORLD is flipping the bird to the GOP. get a clue!

    April 28, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  23. Predictable

    And I'm flipping the Republican party the bird right now.

    April 28, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  24. Foster

    "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 WWF mentality – wow! Why doesn't the GOP take a good look within – the moderates have the right idea. Even McCain's daughter is running the media around changing the GOP. It's can't just be about the good ol' boys anymore if you expect to run the country made up of NOT just good ol' boys.

    Go fix yourselves!

    April 28, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  25. Jimmy Jojo

    ooooh. more tough talk from the empty suit. how did 'his mama' raise Mr. Steele, I wonder. hmmmm.

    April 28, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
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