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. Moderate Democrat

    Let's summarize how "inclusive' the republican party is, and let's take a look at how they get stuff done in their OWN party, with out Democrats to MESS them up, here's the short summary of how well the republicans operate, even with in their OWN party:

    Saying he is "deeply disappointed" in Specter, Gleason made a point of stressing that "the Republican Party has room for conservatives and moderates because we are the party of ideas."
    ------------------------
    "For me personally and then for the party, its devastating," Snowe said of Specter's move. "I've always been concerned about the Republican party nationally, about their exclusionary policies towards moderate Republicans. That's not a secretly held view on my part."
    ------------------------
    "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.

    Nuff said!

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

    If the Republican party entertains any scenario where they will once again become relevant in the national conversation, they first need to get rid of Mr. Steele. He is devisive, delusional and does not reflect the ideals of many Republican moderates who are searching for a new voice and are tired of following the old, tired, sanctimonious, bigoted foolishness of Gingrich, Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, Coulter, Beck, etc. Sen. Specter did what he needed to do and he should be applauded!

    April 28, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  3. Mat of PA

    Steele needs to keep his mouth shut, his party abandoned Specter and treated him like garbage. Specter is a man who is loyal to his country not to his party which is the way things should be.

    April 28, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  4. idiot Steele

    Steele is an idiot. All of the Republicans are only interested in gaining seats. They care absolutely nothing about helping our country recover from the devastating economy. Specter is absolutely correct in switching parties. He cares about what happens to the citizens in his state! Welcome to the Democratic Party Senator Specter!

    April 28, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  5. michaelam

    Oh, this is getting good! Stay tuned for more fun with the Party of No. Wow, Steele has a pulse........or, it may not actually be his own words since he must first get permission from Rush on what to say to the public.

    April 28, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. jerry

    he only switched cause he new he would lose in the 2010 primary,
    not because he wanted to be a Democratic, what a loser

    April 28, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  7. JD in OK

    Spoken like a true Republican. Ignorant but eloquent.

    April 28, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. Irma in North Carolina

    Steele you better realize it that the republican party is done for, as long as they keep going against every thing that the president is doing and the candiates you are throwing out for the General election and listening to Rush, Ingram and coulter telling you what to do. You will not get a republican into the white house for twenty or more years.

    April 28, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  9. The Broker.

    It is much better Mr Steele. Dead-Wood," you can do without. It only causes Fungus­ in your Party.

    April 28, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  10. Outsider

    Great! You are a good man. You made a great decision. Good for our country!

    April 28, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  11. Roger

    Steele is clueless he is one of the reasons the GOP is failing.....The GOP shot the bird at Senator Specter because of his independence...I think it was a very good move on his behalf, he will win PA, they are very open minded people....

    April 28, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  12. Liberal4Obama

    For Michael Steele to make comments about Sen. Specter and how his mother raised him is the hight of disrespect. And they still wonder why the man left their party.

    April 28, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  13. Gallimimus

    Hmm, wonder why he did not discuss this with GOP leadership. Maybe, because they have been gunning for him since he voted for the stimulus package. Gop party is eating it's own young. I don't blame Specter one bit!

    April 28, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  14. Steve

    Whatever happened to our elected officials actually doing their job of representing THEIR constituants rather than posturing for national publicity?

    April 28, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  15. Andi

    After the way he was treated by fellow Republican senators, he should have used both hands and feet to flip 'birds' to them

    April 28, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  16. Jay T.

    Steele's done a bang-up job as RNC Chairman, huh? Way to go Bushies! All you touched turned to crud!

    April 28, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  17. Dave L

    Message to Senator Steele:

    Big winds, even one like you, are usually caused by hot air. You sir, are a windbag.

    April 28, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  18. jj

    Welcome home Senator Spector... Senator Collins and Senator Snow are next.

    April 28, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  19. IndyVoter

    Steele – Do yourself and the rest of us a favor and exercise your right to remain silent, plead the 5th, whatever it takes. But the more you speak, the deeper you dig yourself and the Republican party into a hole.

    April 28, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  20. obama/mama

    LMAO....This dude is intense, ha ha ha ha.....

    April 28, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  21. Caribbean

    My Gosh Steele you sound so much like an angry black monster. You need to wake up and realise that your days are numbered. Go Obama all the way

    Caribbean

    April 28, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  22. Joseph, Los Angeles California

    I don't think the "flipping the bird" comment is very professional for Michael Steele to be saying; what a leader huh? And the threats alone is mind-botteling. Where is the maturity with this Steele individual? Take him out? Are you serious? Did he really say that?That attitude alone is good reason to leave the republican party; no respect!

    Good luck to Senator Spector, I think he made the right decision. The republican party is mentally losing it.

    April 28, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  23. T

    Gotta love that Michael Steele continues to remind people he is a moron. "His mama didn't raise him that way"?

    I wonder if Steele had any issues with what Lieberman did.

    April 28, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  24. Shadysider

    I guess the American people flipped the bird at the Republican Party in the last two elections then, Mr. Steele.

    April 28, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  25. Ken in NC

    Steele, didn't you get the memo? hehehe

    April 28, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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