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. RINO Bil

    This is very tasteless and classless ... even for a Republican.

    January 29, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  2. JDLB


    Excellent analogy about President Obama being like Captain Sully. They both have the same attributes – calm under extreme pressure, focused and determined. Classy too.

    January 29, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  3. luckjoe

    Wake up America. Like it or not, we have a president who has raided the national debt faster that any president in our history and a bobble head vice president. Yes our great country is sinking. We have 50 percent of people who want something for nothing and the other 50 percent who work. Guess what, the numbers just don't work. NOBAMA 2012.

    January 29, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  4. Judas

    Hey Reince, this is what the Republicans are paying you to do? Using a tragic accident to spew toxic hyperbole worthy of an eight year old, and then twisting it in to a lame metaphor, just so you can take a potshot at Obama? You’re quite the boy genius. When does the hair pulling event begin?

    January 29, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  5. JackWelchHasMoreMoneythanRomney

    Bush took over a good ship from Clinton
    bush let two planes crash into it.
    Bush crashed it on the rocks.
    Bush and friends escaped in luxury boats.
    People died.
    RNC Jerk , thanks for the reminder....

    January 29, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  6. Vanbama

    Obama is sinking America and all these people on this site supporting him must be board with their occupy wall street job. Their only job,,,,,,,, cannot wait until we kick Obama to the curb

    January 29, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  7. Yeah Right

    The Republican party of today is so embarassing. I cant stomach what my party has become and this guy just makes it all the worse. We really are looking to go the way of the dinosaur. Who thought this would be a good comparison?

    January 29, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  8. Captain_IQ

    If Obama is Captain Schettino, the GOP are the N stooges. Except that Mo, Larry, and Curley, were actually likable.

    Every time it seems the GOP can't get any worse, they do. We have Santorum claiming rape babies are a gift from God, Newt claiming a lunar colony will be the 51st state of the Union (I have news for you Newt: the first lunar colony will be set up by Beijing), Romney arguing for and against everything while focusing ever more on his glossy hairdo. Everyone of these jokers is for less Government, unless it's a matter of a woman's body, and then the Government and the Church have every right to intrude. Each of them support lower taxation for their corporate overlords, while the illiterate peasants who support them chant in homage – while struggling to put food on their own tables.

    Obama is going to laugh all the way back to the Whitehouse in 2012, while Newt and Romney take each other down. Santorum? Don't make me laugh any harder.

    Give it up guys. The reign of idiocy ended with W, 2008. It isn't coming back any time soon. Obama 2012.

    January 29, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |

    It appears there is no bottom within the cess pool the right wing of the GOP continues to helplessly swim. What a tasteless, ugly analogy that shows how empty the party leader's sense of decency is. The past chair, Michael Steele, a bright spoksperson for the GOP will surely apologize for the statements and hope to show how using the tragic deaths of so many for policital foddder is indecent at the he very least.

    January 29, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  10. 60's survivor

    This man is the hind end of a donkey

    January 29, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  11. r s kahn

    It's a clear sign of desperation. Stooping that low - making that kind of analogy - is a another example of desperatoion and I'm so pleased to see how many people have recognized. that.

    January 29, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  12. jimbo

    This has got to be the most disgusting reference yet.. How low can Repugnants stoop. The one that this nut should be critizing is your wanna be fakes–either one will not only steer the nation in the wrong direction, but will most certainly arson it to make sure it stays down!!!

    January 29, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  13. Maria

    More then ever Obama 2012 !!!. i just can't wait..

    January 29, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  14. Independent_me

    This is exactly why I left the Rethuglican Party – they have no sense of shame or honesty! Clinton left Bush with a healthy surplus; Bush wasted it by giving it away to the super rich in the form of tax cuts and so ran the economy into the ground and left a shipwreck. Obama has already created more jobs in his first term that Bush did in his 2 terms – and did this without one lick of help from the Rethuglicans...and this man has the gall to make such a statement???

    God will punish these liars and wolves in sheep's clothing big time – they will lose the house and Senate. It is not the nature of God to bless liars, adulterer and fornicators... and all of the idiots who support them will be ashamed when they stand before God...

    January 29, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  15. susan

    i will only support GOP when I am rich enough to do so..................

    January 29, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  16. Eye of Newt

    More cheap, disgusting rhetoric from ignorant, no class republicans. None of these guys, and certainly not this jerk Priebus, are worthy of shining Obama's shoes.

    January 29, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  17. dew

    great story, keep up the good work.

    January 29, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  18. witchiepoo

    How dare this puppet of the 1 % even bring up this tradgey, much less twist it with his failed politics. PEOPLE DIED in this accident, have you no morals? Please take your losing party and PLEASE get lost in your ship going down!

    January 29, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  19. NovShmozKaPop

    Rience Priebus, you've had the House for two years, where are the jobs? You and your friends are America's Captain Howdy.

    January 29, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  20. Solomon

    I think Republican party need to reassess itself to stay as a national party of a country like USA, a role model of democracy for the whole world. Most of the candidates of this year and this guy are far below the standard. Well said by SOUTHERN LADY that how come this kind of political party could be based on Christian values. It is the other way round and always it puzzles me which party should be supported by Christians.

    January 29, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  21. Tess

    The republican party is going down the tube under this guy Preibus and he attempts to make this stupid comparison. Where is this guy from? Really?.

    January 29, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  22. Danny

    Regardless of one's political persuasion this is shamefully bad statement.

    First of all, the use of the word "little" to refer to his president is uncalled for. I am surprised no one comment on this. Furthermore, to say "our little..." is just respectful. It is not meant to sound like "our president" more like "our little boy."

    Secondly, the analogy makes no sense! Even if you disagree with his policies Obama is no abandoning ship. He wants a second term. He has not acted in a cowardly way. He has been more militaristic than the left would prefer. He is not the cause of the economy, things were not good before he took office. Even if you think he could have done better, the analogy with a captain who made a mistake and abandoned ship is poor.

    Finally, it has been remarked upon before, it is in bad taste to refer to the tragedy in Italy this way for some minor negative political rhetoric.

    January 29, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  23. Mike, Albany

    This is just sick and disrespectful to the families of those lost in the shipwreck. This is also exactly the kind of rhetoric I would expect from today's Republican party, which has totally lost its moral compass (since nautical references seems to be their thing now). He should look to his own party's obstructive behavior in Congress and then ask who the real "Capt. Schettino" is, although I would also strongly recommend that Priebus try to be a little more sensitive and foot-in-mouth stupid. But then again, this is the Republican party we are talking about, so....

    January 29, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  24. jim

    that's such a disrespectful comment Capt. Schettino should be offended...

    January 29, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  25. Green Paladin

    As much as i might dislike Obama, I find it very amusing that he is accusing the president of exactly what all the candidates that currently hold an office are doing, which is campaigning rather then doing what he was elected to do....

    The irony astounds me, vote them ALL out, red or blue, donkey or elephant, the only difference between these bought and paid for cronies is who signs the checks... and none of those names happens to be "we the people"

    January 29, 2012 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
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