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. Larry

    Steeley 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." Obviously Steeley missed the point. Its got to do with the republican party's Nazi policies and not the next election. And what the heck is a black man doing as the Republican National Committee Chairman. I guess the members who voted didn't see the movie Putney Swope.

    April 28, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  2. Tom Erskine

    I read with total, absolute and utter disgust the comments of Michael Steele, RNC Chairman! ‘"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.’ What kind of gutter talk is this to come from a man who supposedly leads the Republican party? To threaten this man with such disgraceful and repugnantly public remarks is beyond characterization! What has the Republican party done to itself in putting this man at the helm? Has the party become suicidal, besides all the other adjectives and analyses in the media?? And who is he and what is he to comment about Mr. Specter’s Mother and insult that woman who gave this great Nation a true American... "I'm sure his mama didn't raise him this way," Steele added.

    And to characterize Mr. Specters decision in such a crude way by referrring to it as “flip(pin) the bird” is at best the crudest, basest of gutter talk. Such talk does not lift the Republican party or its adherents in any way? It makes all of them look like street people. Who is and what is Michael Steele, and how does he think such crude, bawdy and misplaced language can in any way improve the image of the Republican party ?

    April 28, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. Mike in NYC

    Steele really needs to change his oratorical style. That "flava" just ain't cutting it. Many, myself included, find it downright annoying and juvenile.

    April 28, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. Moonbeam

    Good for Specter! As far as know, by the way, Specter's mama raised him to be a Democrat. Too bad she can not see him now.

    And did Steele's mama raised him to use this rude language ? He seems to believe it makes him more appealing to the "common people".

    April 28, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. Pat from Texas

    If Cornyn went out on a limb for him then he must have wanted something in return....I was about time someone had the guts to "flip the bird" at Cornyn.

    April 28, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  6. jeff jackson, alabama

    If you are a sitting senator or congressman you are
    there as a result of a free election. If you ran as a dem.
    or a rep.,then you should maintain that political status
    until the next election. You are there to represent your
    constits philosophies, not your own.
    If you have a change of heart after your term is over,
    then change parties at that time. But you don't run out
    on the people who voted you into office.

    April 28, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  7. johns

    Senator Arlen Specter is right.

    Deserting the burning GOP house.

    I truly believe that more senators and congressmen and congresswomen will Senator Arlen Specter...

    April 28, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  8. Proud American

    Ha Ha......... Hey Steele so did the rest of the country..

    April 28, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  9. Cleatus

    The whole planet is giving the bird to the GOP.

    April 28, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  10. Common Sense

    Good! He should have flipped it with BOTH HANDS. One "bird" is not enough for the GOP!

    April 28, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. phil s.

    Can this guy stop pandering and speak like the educated black man that he is...ok, baby? Yo' mama must have taught you better, Steele.

    April 28, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. Obama aka Barry

    Good, I would have flipped the bird at GOP too! Steele needs to resign as RNC.

    April 28, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. Omar Baez

    This comment is from the same idiot who said when Spectre voted for the Stimulus Bill that the RNC would probably not back him with money for relection.

    You "dissed" him first Steele so why should he give you any respect.

    What is up with this idiot Steele and his "black man-hood" talk to try and make himself look tough?!!

    Steele...please shut the hell up and go away!!!!

    April 28, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  14. Emily

    Oh Michael Steele, perhaps he just couldn't stand being called "baby" one more time.

    April 28, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  15. David

    Again, look how out of touch the GOP is. Specter will be re-elected in PA, because we have no room for fear and people like Michael Steele. Some insight for the GOP, start acting with some compassion, you may wake to a better world.

    April 28, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  16. Ia Guy

    Steele is going about this the wrong way. Droves of Republicans have left the party due to it's far-right positions and quite frankly, they do not address the important issues at hand (focusing on gay marriage, and other issues that have zero impact on the lives of the average american).

    Either they step into the 21st century or their influence will contine to dwindle as a younger generation takes over.

    April 28, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  17. JFK

    Just what I would expect from GOP leaders. Classy!

    April 28, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  18. cb in Austin

    Wow! I'm really starting to like Michael Steele. He's got some fire in his belly after all!!

    April 28, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. HouseDiva

    Good for you Specter!

    April 28, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  20. Rick CT

    This is a guy who's biggest cause celeb was trying to get a Congressional investigation of whether the Patriots spied on the Eagles and caused the Eagles to lose the super Bowl. A total waste.

    April 28, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  21. WI Vet

    Wow it's like Steele is taking it personal that others are making choices for themselves. SO let's get this right, if you leave the Reps. you are on a hit list and they want your soul. Not "Well he didn't see eye to eye with the party and in the comming election the people will show who that want to rep them."

    Wow Reps are mean

    April 28, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  22. Mike M

    The republicans have been flipping the bird to the American people for long enough.

    April 28, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  23. B

    Good for Specter. Even he can see the GOP is dysfunctional. Look at some of the comments Steelem ade about him. Steele is pathetic.

    April 28, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  24. Enrique H. Trejo

    After reading the comments from Michael Steele, is there any reason to wonder why he changed parties. Spector was on their hit list. He was one of the last elected moderate Republicans in the Senate. Notice their are no liberal Republicans. On the Democratic side, there are liberal, moderate and conservative members. The Democrats are truly the big tent party. There is no room for liberal or moderate voices in the Republican party.

    April 28, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  25. David Newport, OR

    This is beautiful...keep opening your mouth Mr Steele. Every time he does it benefits the Democratic Party. Good "choice" of leadership GOP.

    April 28, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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