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. glorydays

    Disgusting. Speaking about sinking ships, there seems to be no limit to the depths to which the GOP has sunk.

    January 29, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  2. The Unsub

    This guy is simply a horrible chairman. His comment is plain innapropriate.

    January 29, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  3. jim

    Priebus just demonstrated that he is the Captain Schettino of the RNC

    January 29, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  4. Mark

    That's sad. I thought that was W. He was the one that drove us on the rocks after all.

    January 29, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  5. Roberta L

    What this insensitive jerk forgets–as well as all the Republicans running or being talking heads right now–is that EVERY president runs for re-election. Did Bush 41 or 43 stay in the White House while the opposition ran? Heck no. Idiots like this guy use lies and rhetoric like this when they don't have any other educated points to make.

    January 29, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  6. Len

    And this is why the Republicans will not win the Presidential election: cheap shots about the President "fleeing the American people" then likening it to the terrible tragedy of the Italian ship that sank. The election is nowhere near comparison to the grief the families of the people who died are suffering at this time. Shame on the RNC...

    January 29, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  7. The GOP still doesn't get it!

    That's ok folks. If about over a dozen dead people in this accident is not important to this idiot, then what is? This is why I get further away from the repugs. The mentality is just daunting.

    The GOP's life expectancy is getting shorter and this idiot definitely not helping. I wonder who will conduct damage control? I just cannot imagine Mike Steele or Marco Rubio trying to cover this one up.

    January 29, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  8. Ed

    Shocking...wait...why exactly is this shocking?

    January 29, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  9. Scott

    Maybe next time the RNC will elect a leader whose name you can actually pronounce.

    January 29, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  10. Jeff H

    ust one more insult from the REAL sinking ship. Look at this whimpand he's all the GOP has to offer??? Oh ya din't forget about off shore swiss bank acoount Mittens Obama will win a second term with a breeze look atthis group of Morons. If I was a rebub I would be embarassed by this type of representation......

    January 29, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  11. shut_up

    Obama was not the captain that fled the ship, obama was like one of the rats that fled the ship once all of the cheese was gone. the taxpayers will give him more cheese to support his habit.

    January 29, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  12. Randall Rodd

    This is what happens when a group like the RNC, chooses a no nothing hack as their "voice". They made the mistake with Michael Steele and now with this yocal. It just shows how scared the GOP is that they put this poor excuse for a spokesman in charge. How dare he compare the President with someone who may be accused of murder. It just shows how low the GOP has sunk...but can it sink any lower with some of the other shipmates, Rush "God I am ugly" Limbaugh, Laura "I am not really a man, even though I sound like one" Ingraham, Ann "I will not look my age" Coulter, Sean "I even look as arrogant as I am" Hannity and Bill "we are really dumb" O'Reilly! Sad day for our democracy when someone can sink this low....did Palin write his schtick?? Sounds like her worthless words...

    January 29, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  13. Aaron

    Reince is consistently one nasty piece of work.

    January 29, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  14. Norm

    I guess since the GOP candidates are a couple of clowns, their mascot may as well be a joke too.
    Childish people with money.

    January 29, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  15. noteaparty4me

    Isn't the Amercian couple lost at sea from this guy's home state? What lack of insensitivity and just what plain stupidity by making ths remark. The GOP are the grande ole party of know nothing, don't know how to be sensitive to others' loss or anything. It's a shameful situation for all of them. I would be ashamed of my father if he spoke the words of this guy and I had to go to school and have people saying I read what your dad said yesterday. What a jerk.

    January 29, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  16. Mindie in Indie

    Thank GOD we have Obama as our President. Thank GOD none of the present GOP crazies will be Commander in Chief.

    January 29, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  17. simone

    Shame on you, Mr. Preibus for trying to use a tragedy such as that for political gain. This is exactly the reason the Republicon party is in such disarray.

    January 29, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  18. Valco

    Priebus is as sick as his Party has become. There is no comparison and when someone is as stupid as Priebus the rest of the Party should speak up and show that they have not lost all integrity. The President has never abandoned the ship of State. He may not be sailing it smoothly but he stays with it. He also has been in attendance at every major crisis or catastrophe we have had. He has conducted himself with a lot of dignity. The Ship's Capt lacked that attribute. Lastly, no one with a shred of decency makes light of something as horrible as the Costa going down. When will the Republican Party get back some smart people?

    January 29, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  19. Sf

    Here we sit listening to another idiotic comment by another republican...THESE are the people that are responsible for dividing the country! Then when theyre called out on it...they blame everyone else and we find ourselves saying 'ok its all of us'..NO its not! Its republicans who sparke the flame, create the fire, burn the house down..then act as if they had no involvement in it! I wouldnt vote for ANY republican..cuz they represent the ugly in this country!

    January 29, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  20. joco

    The only difference is Obama is not under house arrest! As long as we get him and his failed policies out, that's what matters.

    January 29, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  21. Rick

    He was using Schettino as a point of comparison – not making light of people's deaths. 95% of the comments below whine about the context of the point of reference but don't argue against the point that Obama is in fact turning his back on his responsibilities as President to campaign for another term. He has essentially given up on trying to pass legislation through a divided Congress – something that a strong leader and mediator should be able to do – but that should be no suprirse given that passing legislation would actually hurt his campaign message: that it is one party's fault that no agreement can be reached. Wasn't his message in his first campaign that HE was the ONE who could UNITE this country? All I see happening in THIS campaign is him throwing the conservative portion of the country under the bus. Finally, I don't see anyone here complaining about how the liberals / liberal media compared Bush to Hitler. Does that make light of the Holocaust?

    January 29, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  22. theman

    Reince Priebus–you coward-your comment comparing Obama to Captain Schettino of the fateful sunken cruise ship,
    is an exercise of political convenience for you, being the idiot president of the national republican committee.
    If I may, I would like to compare George Bush and the every one of your Republican candidate the
    "Pied Pipers" who led the American citizens to wholesale slaughter

    January 29, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  23. HenriB

    Next to Priebus, Newt Gingrish sounds like a very decent gentleman.

    January 29, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  24. bajadelmar

    Reince Priebus and anyone that agrees with this juvenile comparison is a disgrace to this country. Repuglicans don't have a viable candidate so they'll say anything to discredit PRESIDENT OBAMA!!! Obama 2012, money in the bank.

    January 29, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  25. JandJ6488

    Just when I thought it was safe to start donating to the RNC again – seriously, do national political leaders even think about what they are saying before they start to speak? It happens on both sides, and it is really amazing. How much sense does it take for a national party leader to know that it's inappropriate to use an ongoing tragedy to illustrate a political point. About as much sense as it would take for a vice president to avoid using a stereotypical foreign accent on camera, I suppose (or off camera, for that matter). Our government needs a reset button.

    January 29, 2012 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
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