April 28th, 2009
05:55 PM ET
9 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. Eric in Chicago

    GOP = WWE? Are they going to start having the GOP caucuses in the Octagon?

    The GOP surrounds Lieberman (Dem/Indp) during the 2008 election like he is the second coming, but trashes a man that has helped them for decades recognizing the divide in their own party?

    I also thought Steele was just a little more educated and articulate. He has become the pit-bull of the party, unfortunately, that does not include fights against Rush. What, Suge Knight wasn't available?

    Steele, you go ahead and use up all of your personal credibility just like Palin for the 'Party', just don't be surprised when you become the headline because you spoke against the uber-godlike-addict Rush.

    By the way, don't republicans understand the reason Rush does not run for office is that he does not care about America's future enough to stop getting rich off of YOU!

    April 28, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  2. Mississippi Mike

    This is why we love Michael Steele. He has the spine to tell it like it is.

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

    That's some big talking from Steele... now excuse me while I laugh hysterically.

    April 28, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  4. J

    Can you blame him?? You bunch of misinformation spreading, fear mongering, Ultra Religious bunch of liars and fraudsters.

    April 28, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  5. JJ in Chula Vista, CA

    Change is happening. This is reality slapping the Republican party in the face and saying, "Wake up! Listen to the world! Listen to the American people!"

    The Republican party has to wake up and face reality...instead of being mired down and being held hostage by anti-Obama hatespeech and fear-mongering.

    This has to happen if the Republicans expect to win back some of the power they lost in 2006 and 2008. I see desperation afoot leading up to the 2010 election and it won't be nice.

    April 28, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. Tim

    You still don't get it do you Mr. Steele? He didn't leave because of fear of losing. He left because anything with more than one head is a monster. That accurately describes the GOP at the moment. You need to step down so we can get someone with some common sense.

    April 28, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  7. Joe

    I often wonder if Steele realizes just how silly he is. Does he really think that all his bluster and fuming really covers up the fact the he is the ineffective "leader" of a defunct political party?

    April 28, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  8. Judy

    After listening to Michael Steele, does anyone wonder why Specter left these hateful fools?

    April 28, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. Filp

    Classy guy that Mr. Steele is.

    April 28, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  10. Philip Grant

    Mr. Steele,
    My mother always told me that when you point your finger there are three others pointing back at you. You and your collogues need to face the fact that you have allowed your party to be co-opted by the far-right.
    As a matter of fact, it reminds me of how our party was back during the Regan years. We were co-opted by our far-left and all our leaders did was blame Regan. His popularity grew. Democratic voters began voting Republican in droves. We kept calling Regan names and loosing ground left and right until Clinton came along and moved the party to the center. If you don't seize control of the bully pulpit you are going to be chairman of party than controls a zealous twenty percent.
    That’s not enough to win the White House or control Congress. Even as a Democrat I don't believe that is good for our country. We need give and take, two sides, and push back to make our nation work

    April 28, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  11. oyaya pie

    Michael Steele is laughable. When all else fails, blame the trial lawyers. Worked for Bush.

    April 28, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  12. urbantexan

    Okay Steele leave his Mama out of it. Lord knows we are wondering what your Mama has to say about you being the token negro of the Republican party . Now take that bird and fry it !!!!!!

    April 28, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  13. Steele Talking Tough...

    Michael Steele is talking tough to try to get back the manhood that Limbaugh stole from him...

    April 28, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  14. Integrity

    specter is fullfilling his spot as one of the anti-christs demoncrates

    April 28, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  15. eric

    I am glad that Specter is gone. There are going to be a lot of true conservatives that will donate pleny of money to oust this former republican(By name only of course). He was going to be the number 1 target by the GOP whether he stayed a republican or democrat.

    April 28, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  16. Wil Welsh

    If they stood behind him so ardently, then why were they funneling so much money to Pat Toomey during the primary in an attempt to unseat Spector from within? All of their associated PACs labeled him a Republican in name only and launched a national campaign to affect our regional election. They only accepted him in default after their guy lost in the primary.

    April 28, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  17. Yoshi99

    "We're coming after you," huh? Isn't that what Steele said about Rep. Murphy (D) ... just before Murphy won the NY-20 election?

    April 28, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  18. Toni - Atlanta

    I'll bet every time Michael Steele opens his mouth, his fellow Republicans cringe. His speaking reflects zero class, and I'll bet his mama didn't raise him that way either!

    April 28, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  19. Jacob

    Welcome home Arlen!!!!!!!!! Unlike the conservatives we welcome people of all view points to our caucus!

    April 28, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  20. ronald leder

    Steele's comments finally align the Chairman solidly with the GOP: morally and intellectually bankrupt.

    April 28, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  21. BooStinky

    You know what job you get when you CAN'T get elected? Party Committee Chairman.

    Michael Steele is a bonehead and a blowhard that is not well liked by either Democrats or Republicans.

    Sen. Specter switching parties after 4 decades? What took you so long...and who's next?

    April 28, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  22. Felonious Monk

    Specter knows that the GOP would cut him down in a heart beat. That is why he probably does not feel any obligation to the GOP.

    LOL, LOL, LOL.
    The cookie crumbles

    April 28, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  23. David Davila

    Come on Steele lets see if you can beat Specter!!

    April 28, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  24. Mario in Texas

    The American people gave the GOP the Bird two elections in a row.

    April 28, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  25. Nero

    May I remind you Mr. Steele that YOU said the seat in New York was within your target area. You said the GOP would win the NY election and that it will count as a vote against the President and DNC.

    You lost, even as you spent millions on that election. Thanks for sending money to NY; you bet a few people was employed by your funds.

    This is a wake up call for you and the GOP; Americans are tired of your "NO at all cost" and the arrogance of the GOP.

    You and your party will enjoy being in the wilderness for several decades. Have fun while you are there and no need to send a post card.

    April 28, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
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