Priebus: Obama's our Capt. Schettino
January 29th, 2012
12:10 PM ET
10 years ago

Priebus: Obama's our Capt. Schettino

(CNN) – The chairman of the Republican National Committee unveiled his latest attack on President Barack Obama on Sunday, comparing him to the captain of the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship.

When asked if the infighting in the GOP presidential primary race would harm the eventual nominee's chances against Obama in November, Reince Priebus said the party would unite by then in an effort to win the White House.

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"In a few months, this is all going to be ancient history and we're going to talk about our own little Captain Schettino, which is President Obama who's abandoning the ship here in the United States and is more interested in campaigning than doing his job as president," Priebus said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

Priebus added the president is "fleeing the American people," just like Schettino allegedly fled his cruise liner.

The ship rolled onto its side in shallow waters off an island on Italy's Tuscan coast on January 13. Seventeen people are confirmed dead and 15 people remain missing while Francesco Schettino is under house arrest and faces possible criminal charges of manslaughter, shipwreck and abandoning ship.

Following the jab, CBS host Bob Schieffer seemed caught off guard by Priebus' comment, asking with a laugh: "What did you just say? What did you call President Obama?"

Priebus was defiant in his response.

"I called him Captain Schettino, you know the captain that fled the ship in Italy," Priebus said. "That's our own president who's fleeing the American people and not doing his job and running around the country and campaigning."

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Filed under: 2012 • President Obama • Reince Priebus
soundoff (813 Responses)
  1. Ray

    I think a better analogy is that Obama took over the ship after it had already half capsize, and while the president keeps trying to right the vessel, republicans keep pumping water into it.

    January 29, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  2. Dan

    Yeah. Because Bush didn't campaign at ALL for his second term. He mostly hid out at his heavily fortified ranch and cleared brush.

    January 29, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  3. John

    It the Republican that has jump ship on America ,and not President Obama. The Republican Control do Nothing Congress Isn't Letting him do anything to get America going again. But he Is still getting It done because thing are getting better slowing but getting better and with out Republican help at all. The Republican only care about the Republican Party and not about America or the American People.

    January 29, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  4. Chris

    Uh..NO. Your precious DUH-BYA was Schettino – HE took the ship onto the rocks, then fled after his term was over. Obama was the Coast Guard captain, trying to get all the republicans responsible back on board, instead of watching from the lifeboats and waiting for America to fail.

    January 29, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  5. snydergal

    'nuff said about the teavangelical repub party...loud-mouthed liars, disrespectful and un-American, ultra-right religious fanatics, etc. This man is the poster child for hate, racism, elitism, and division...through all the rhetoric of the party of "NO" and the ugly face they put on American politics, we Democrats have to do only one very important thing...we have to go to the polls November 6, 2012, encourage our friends and family to do the same, and vote President Obama in for another 4-year term in office. We also need to do everything in our power to sway others to not only vote for the only man for the job, but we all need to get behind any and all Democratic candidates for Congress...we need to clean House, send a message loud and clear, and give President Obama a House and Senate that is forward looking, that is FOR the people, ALL the people, and not just the rich who bankroll the party of "NO" candidates. We WILL take back America from those who would take us all back 50 years!

    January 29, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  6. Dean Blythe

    I'm pretty sure Priebus threw out his back coming up with that analogy.

    January 29, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  7. suzanne

    I believe the GOP has become two parties. Each of there agendas are so different from each other, that to have the losers stand behind the party values and beliefs of the winners, means they will have to "compromise". Imagine that...saying "yes" to something they don't believe.

    The use of the Schettino comparison, besides being in poor taste, demonstates an even bigger problem. The "no" mantra has left this party without the ability to imagine solutions or, in this case, to describe the problem.

    January 29, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. johnfelten

    Respect in America.....R.I.P. It's a sad state of affairs when individuals of apparent importance in American politics can equate the president with such a character as the "runaway ships captain" or wag their finger at him on the tarmac of an international airport. This is really sad.....You don't have to like about just a little more respect for his office.

    January 29, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  9. Brett Sinclair

    Talking about American values...uhhhh!

    January 29, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  10. Chris

    With a name like Rience Priebus, he'd better be producing his man card.

    January 29, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  11. Perilous

    GOP needs to figure out whats its going to be – organized political racist, pro-money with a dash of morality when its fashionable or striaght up stupid. I feel bad for the GOPers who are actually trying to find a middle ground to fix this situation. Those are people who need to organize and step up.

    January 29, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. Steve

    Wasn't the the guy that was captaining the ship when it ran a ground? Remind me who was President when the economy tanked? Remind me again who was President when we started losing 700,000 jobs per month. Now tell me who has been President for the last 24 months of private sector job growth. Sounds like our Capt. Schettino was GW and President Obama is more like Captain Sully who landed our economy after its engines had failed and kept us out of a depression.

    January 29, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. Debbie

    Bush is our captain Schettino.

    January 29, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. Orwell proven

    Greed stupidity cowardice dereliction = republican
    What is wrong captain priebut, can't find the ladder?

    January 29, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  15. KJ

    This guy, it seems, has a lot to learn, making stupid comparisons and meaningless comments.

    January 29, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. Richard

    Yes, you are right, Republicans simply have no shame. And - judging by the RNC chairman's comments - no brains either.

    January 29, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  17. Eric

    This statement is the reason why an independent like me and my independent friends and colleagues will never support this GOP and its leadership. To somehow equate our President with a cowardly ship captain is repulsive.

    January 29, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  18. Bill, NY

    The entire republican congress is our real Capt. Schettino!

    January 29, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. John

    Both the republicans and democrats abandon ship along time ago and have left the American people out to dry.

    January 29, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. ramosdr

    He is a 39 year old fund raising political wannabe who lost his first election. Look at his education and career, he has been grooming himself for political office since birth. These words and the disrespect will haunt him in later elections. He looks and sounds like someone from a large second tier state university young republican meeting.

    January 29, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. Chuck in Jasper Ga.

    There is one constant that occurs with Republicans and conservatives. When there is no controversy or reason to oppose the current administration, they will create one. That does not mean they have to factual, just as long as they create opposition...Obama will be re-elected. A large majority of Americans have made note of the opposition and will vote accordingly. Republicans in the mid term elections ran on "job creation" didn't they? Where are all the jobs? They will remember that fact also..........and they will not blame Obama for business off-shoring funds.

    January 29, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  22. gt

    that is funny...

    January 29, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  23. Joe

    If that's the best they can do, it's not going to win them back the White House.

    January 29, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  24. jeb

    I guarantee you if you were to ask most people on the street what "Reince Priebus" refers to, I doubt most people would know. Their first guess might be a disease or something.

    January 29, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  25. bobg2

    This guy will be crying in his pribus come November.

    January 29, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
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