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. Annon

    Here is a perfect example of what a large portion of the country has done..migrate to the left. Michael Steele sounds almost childish in his comments and hostile as well. Ironically, this is what the country dislikes about the Republicans at this point.

    Screw up, pass blame, leak secrets, leave somebody else holding the bag and still sit on a high horse. How long could this really last?

    I wouldnt be surprised if we see some more defections.

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

    Good going Arlen!!!! Hopefully more Republicans with a lick of sense will do the same. Good riddence to the so-called 'GOP' They got no one to blame but themselves.

    April 28, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. Lofterson

    Steele = Mush Mouth! I now get it

    April 28, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  4. SB

    Michael Steele's "trash talk" is really unattractive.

    April 28, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  5. Jeremie

    My word, who picked Steele to lead the RNC. This guy has zero political ability.

    April 28, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  6. Zac

    I am glad to see that in dire political times, Chairman Steele rises to the occasion, with a remarkable amount of immaturity that would astound even the most hardened or political cynics.

    April 28, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    "...we're coming after you and taking you out," added Steele. Typical Republican way of dealing with things. Soon, hopefully, the voters will 'take out' all the Republicans, and they'll be extinct as a party. Not soon enough after how they trashed the US during W's eight years!

    April 28, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  8. Leslie W.

    The question is really this: How bad has the Good Old Party become that someone left it after serving on it for 30 years?

    It must be pretty bad.

    Steele- stop your childish whining, man up & start being realistic!

    The GOP needs to stop pointing fingers at others when they have more fingers pointing back at themselves. They're their own worst enemy.

    April 28, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  9. Ronna

    Michael Steele sounds more like a dejected coach who just lost the big game than the head of the Republican National Committee. I sure wouldn't want him running my party.

    April 28, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  10. rick

    I flip a bird to the GOP everyday.

    April 28, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  11. Skeeve

    And after this speech Steel is still surprised why moderate republicans are running from his party...How clueless one can be? Apparently very clueless

    April 28, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  12. Michael

    Michael Steele: Did Rush Limbaugh tell you how to respond to Specter's switch?

    April 28, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  13. jr

    "...we're coming after you and taking you out," added Steele. Typical Republican way of dealing with things–blunt force and no finesse. Hopefully the voters will 'take out' all the Republicans, and they'll be extinct as a party. Not soon enough after how they trashed the US during W's eight years!

    April 28, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  14. Tony

    Like this is surprise?

    Please, he has been a Demoncrat in thought all along. Now he has come out of the closet.

    April 28, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. HM

    Michael Steele is precisely why I am no longer a republican. What's with all the threats? Can you please act educated? What a right wing nut job.. this is the future of the GOP? Please? To the moderate republicans.. wake up, please :).

    April 28, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. Dennis, Millbrae, CA

    Senator Specter "flipped the bird" at the Republicans?!? How 'bout the Republican Party flipped the bird at Senator Specter and continues to "flip off" the American people! Whether Democrat or Republican, we need more legislators like Senator Specter who vote their thinking conscience rather than their political affiliation.

    April 28, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  17. President Obama could walk on water and the Party of NO would still complain that he left footprints!

    I am from Texas believe me Cornyn deserved the bird! He was doing nothing but luring Specter in so, during the primaries you repubs could club Specter and get Tumi in altho, he would have lost in the general.

    Besides, Chairman Steele I saw this interview and your panties were in a knot.

    You wanted an "off the hook" approach to rebuilding the party, Senator Specter has shown you the way, not that you will believe any of the reasons given in Specter's prepared statement.

    April 28, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  18. Lee from Maine

    Spector, guts. Stelle, idiot.

    April 28, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  19. Jamey

    The GOP currently has no leadership, so it would be really hard for Spector to flip the bird at something non-existant.

    April 28, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  20. N D pin dent

    Steele is truly one tacky indiviual. Heis quotes and sound bites make my skin crawl. He is a terrible representation of the Republican Party!

    I hope the Republicans can get back to doing business that I can support.

    April 28, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  21. nctwitter

    Steele sounds like a raging lunatic! Its about the ppl not the party …

    April 28, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  22. gl, Pittsburgh

    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.

    Sorry Mr. Steele we in Pennsylvania loved Specter even when he was a Republicans and we really love him now. So there is no Repubican that will bet Specter in 20120. Sen. Specter is a very smart man and he know what he is doing so Steele shut up.

    April 28, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  23. Cleaning up after W

    LOL! I love Steele. The guy is a riot to listen to. GOP, please keep this guy as your leader.

    And I don't think that Specter flipped the GOP the bird (even though he as every right to), I think the GOP flipped Specter and any other moderate Republican the bird for having the audacity to form their own opinions. Can't have that, now can we...

    April 28, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  24. bern

    I wonder what the chances are of Steele switching his stupid mouth off. It seems everything he says just makes whatever he is trying to fix worse.

    The fact is the GOP has been effectively reduce to a primarily southern white, out of touch, fringe party. Talk of secession and the like only prove how really deep the ditch Rush, Rove and the rest have dug is.

    I am happy Arlen Specter, who is by all accounts a fine gentleman, has decided to turn away from the right wing GOP fascists. It is the right and honorable thing to do.

    April 28, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  25. RayinIN

    Really Steele? Did you stand up for him when he voted for Obama's budget? Didn't think so...hypocrite!

    April 28, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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