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. Brian

    Blah-Blah-Blah-BlahBlah-Blah-Blah-BlahBlah-Blah-Blah-BlahBlah-Blah-Blah-Blah

    It just never changes over at the GOP. Launching the "off the hook" campaign? This was the nail in the coffin. Steele is just as big a bigot as the rest of these windbags.

    "Flip the Bird"

    "I'm sure his mama didn't raise him this way," Steele added

    I can't wait to hear Rush tomorrow!!!! hahahaha.

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

    I think it is the GOP that flips the bird at moderates in the party.

    April 28, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  3. ram11

    Wow, chill out! How about a little emotional control! Oh, I forgot. That's not a trait Republicans admire.

    April 28, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  4. Cincinnatian

    threats? anger? the far right has hijacked the Republican Party and is trying to scare it's membership into towing the line...no wonder more and more of the American public sees you clowns as irrelevent.

    April 28, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  5. SlowGun

    He is only doing his job.
    Which is to represent the people who sent him there.
    And maybe Mr Steele has caught on yet, but those people have been flipping the republican party the bird for a while now.

    April 28, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  6. julie

    Senator Spector is within his rights to switch parties but he owed it to the Republican voters who elected him to his current office not to have made the change until after he was no longer in office. I am a Democrate but I also believe in doing what is fair.

    April 28, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  7. Adam

    Michael Steele is a cartoon character. Not even Republicans take anything he says seriously.

    April 28, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  8. miken

    Good riddens!

    April 28, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  9. Heather

    He certainly doesn't hold back on that colorful language, does he?

    April 28, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  10. stellaman

    Mr. Steele just shows how politicians only care about their party, not the people that they represent. It is like watching school-yard bullying when you hear Mr. Steele say "get ready to go to the mat, baby, because we're coming after you and taking you out."
    What a pathetic person Mr. Steele is.

    April 28, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  11. bt

    ". . . We're coming after you and taking you out" Are you kidding me, Mr. Steele? And you call yourself the leader of a party. Pathetic arrogant and way, way out of line. YAY for you, Repubs! And by the way, why does it matter how a person's mama raised him or her? It seems that no matter how someone was raised, the Repubs will attack and throw you overboard if you don't agree with everything they say, and condemn those who go against the almighty power of Rush and Steele. Goog Lord, I need to shower after reading this venom from Steele.

    April 28, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  12. wishing

    Does this guy realize how much of a fool he sounds like? What about the GOP flipping the bird at the American people?

    April 28, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  13. Cerena

    Steele.....wake the hell up and stop living this illusion you and the other Rushpublics have been living.....your party is dying....the writing is on the wall, stop self-postering and try to come up with an intelligent strategy to save yourself....you are all not complete idiots....we need a viable 2nd party....if you have all retreated to your far-right corners and have given up the fight for the AMERICAN PEOPLE then say so and stop with the big bully stupid speeches and being super-negative about Pres. Obama and his plans to try to positivley turn around the economy- the domestic and foreign policies which your party all but eradicate!! HE WHO KNOWS, BUT KNOWS NOT HE KNOWS, HE IS ASLEEP....WAKE UP!

    April 28, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  14. Steele is Weird

    "I'm sure his mama didn't raise him this way," Steele added.
    _____________

    So weird the leader of the RNC is. Whatever happened to his idea of bringing "hip hop" to the Republican Party? Is he coming out with a new single soon? Call it: "Missing My Baby Specter"

    April 28, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  15. Len in Washington

    This typical attitude of the current Republican leadership is exactly why their numbers are dwindling. If anyone has any doubts about where this party is headed under this leadership they need only re-read the comments in this article. They have lately been referred to as "The Party of No." That label should also include "The Party of Revenge" if you don't fall into lockstep with the more radical side of their party.
    They have become mean, vengeful idealogues that have nothing left but their own toxic saliva in which to wallow.

    April 28, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  16. Jay

    I think Steele better rethink how he's approaching Specter's decision. The kind of hard language Steele's using is what's turning American's off to the GOP.

    April 28, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  17. Jay

    What kind of language is Mr. Steele using. "get ready to go to the mat, baby, because we're coming after you and taking you out". This exactly the point made by Sen. Snowe who does not like the exclusionary stances the Republican party utilizes. Why would anyone want to be part of party that has a frat like mentality. This man, Mr. Steele, needs to learn how to speak like a professional worthy of his position. The Republican party is almost dead in this country. I suspect there will be a 3 party system in the future (the Conservatives, Independents, and Democrats).

    April 28, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  18. Lisa B

    Yes he did "flip the bird" to you Mr. Steele. And all you other right wing obstructionists and I for one wish more Repugs had the gonads to do the same. See, this is what happens when religion, sexual orientation and inclusion become the framework of a political party. So, now what? Looks like it is going to be a long, long, long time before the GOP gets its spot on the shining hill again....kudos and kisses to Mr. Specter for doing the right thing.

    April 28, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  19. Alex Kaye

    Good. Finally. The republicans and media are treating Obama like some kind of political baby with cascades of condescending remarks to the effect of his not having enough experience. Maybe they and the media will learn their lesson as people ABANDON the party and it's inherent stupidity. Republicans have been mucking up the country year after year. It's about time they felt the same pain they are inflicting upon everyone other than themselves.

    April 28, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. john from NJ

    If Mr Steele lives to be 100, he'll be lucky to have the class & dignity of Mr Specter. And, I don't believe Mr Steele will ever be close to the American that Mr Specter is on a daily basis. It's says something about the man that Mr Steele has to resort to name calling and threats.

    April 28, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  21. fielding mellish

    What a ridiculous, ignorant commentary by Steele...

    April 28, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  22. John-Sturgis, S. Dakota

    The republican party has no one to blame but themselves. The GOP is hanging on to the far right philosophy with evangelical christian extremism defining their position. Closed government, religious fanaticism (anti abortion, anti stem cell R&D), and strong arm tactics that wreaks with self-righteous arrogance, this is the GOP theme, and its vision of America. The GOP sounds more like Iranian politics with everyday that passes.

    April 28, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  23. David, Chicago, IL

    Join the crowd, there's a lot of people flipping the 'bird' at the Republican Party, which is largely irrelevant today. Congrats Phil!

    April 28, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  24. carlo

    The GOP needs to get rid of Steele before they lose the 125 Republicans they have left.

    April 28, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  25. Maryann Rose

    '...coming after you and taking you out"

    Really???

    Really...

    Sounds like a 12 year old bully on the playground.

    No wonder the GOP is falling apart.

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