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. neel

    Just for a moment consider this. What if the Repulican Party does not want to be in power? Would you blame them if they didn't want to take the responsibility of America right now? Look and analyze their actions through this lens. Well, what if the Democratic party is not too keen either. It then becomes the classic scenario where the game is passing around the ball until the music stops. So, the loser is the one who ends up with the ball. Are we all playing the same game? One thing is common, everyone wants money and thats the bottomline. You do whatever it takes. The poorest earn their living by cleaning the rich man's mess. Thats the law everywhere.

    January 30, 2012 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  2. Steve

    It is so sad to watch the level to which the Republicans have sunk in their hatred of Obama. The Good Ship America was wrecked by Captain Bush and his crew. The Republican congress and Republican senate with a few exceptions are the ones who abandoned ship by refusing to do their jobs. Talk about cutting your nose off to spite your face.
    It appears that they are so blinded by hatred of the president that instead of helping to bale water, they are punching holes in the buckets. You see, they are so intent on drowning Obama that they will sink the ship with all aboard just to achieve that goal. How sad and shortsighted.

    January 30, 2012 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  3. Rosa, b'ham al

    That is the stupidest thing I ever heard. I anything George W is more like that captain than Obama. Obama has been trying to steer the ship clear but the Republicans have been blocking every turn to head us right into the rocks.

    Seriously if you think things are bad now wait till the GOP gets its way with us.

    January 30, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  4. Ben

    The next story is "Obama to Host Google Talk-in." Now how is the comp to an Italian ship captain shocking...and how is it racist?

    January 30, 2012 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  5. Obamabus

    Looks like he's taking a page from Rahm Emanuel here & not letting a serious crisis go to waste. Surprised the Chicago Machine didn't think of this first. Oh well, fight fire with fire I guess. There'll be much worse in the coming months from both sides.

    January 30, 2012 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  6. Purush

    Why do you have to remind us again and again that GOP is a party full of people without grey matter. Not only we in US but the whole world knows. We learnt it when Bush was president. We learnt it when Sarah Palin was going gung ho (shooting from her hip and mouth simultaneously and not to be seen when action is actually happening), we learnt it during all the debates and actions in trying to block the Obama administration, we have learnt it now once again in the Primaries where all the dirty linen is getting washed in public.
    Obama has been able to get the country out of a very difficult and trying situation. But it requires brains to understand that which unfortunately GOP guys do not have. So Sir, go to your ranches and tend the weed and animals there. That is all you guys can do.

    January 30, 2012 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  7. coy4one

    Anyone who will stood so low as to compare a President to a very sad disaster, is sick! Maybe he was trying to be funny, but I am sure there are plenty of families that would disagree. What other disaster is this nut going to compare with? His lack of intelligence is embarrassing....

    January 30, 2012 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  8. Stephen

    Running around the country campaigning? These fools are totally lost in space. What have we been forced to listen to for the past year? Seven dwarfs, soon to be reduced to three stooges, all clamoring for a shot at the Presidency. As if...

    January 30, 2012 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  9. asm_ith

    It's reasonable for people to have disagreements on policies, so it would be okay for him to say that he believes the President's policies are not good for the country. But to equate the President's behavior with an act of cowardice is totally absurd. If the guy can't intelligently add to the political discourse, he should just keep his stupid mouth shut. Instead, like too many Republicans, he will do and say anything to hurt the President, even if it hurts the country, since their avowed goal and only priority is to defeat Obama.

    January 30, 2012 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    What a class act Previously Rinsed has turned out to be eh? Who was the braintrust that came up with that analogy, using a tragedy to try and take a poke at our President? I'm sure the family of those that perished in said tragedy really appreciated his sensitivity to their loss.
    Reince should realize that he came across as a callous, disconnected member of the GOP elite for nothing, as the GOP's dissappearing, and insulated base is probably not even aware of the event that he is referencing.
    Meanwhile, how about those cuckoos in Georgia hellbent on keeping the POTUS off of the ballot in November 2012, huh?! You gotta hand it to those unibrow Birthers, they are nothing if not pitbullish, no matter how mistaken,in their endeavors.
    Obama 2012.

    January 30, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  11. Bruce Bryant

    Excellent comparison. Why did CNN say this was shocking????? Seems obvious to me

    January 30, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  12. Seaturtle

    Shame on the RNC for making such an analogy. The American people see that the GOP doesn't want to benefit the American people, they only want to win the White House back. They are doing this at the expense of the American people whose votes they are courting, all the while they have blocked any progress by being the party of NO!

    January 30, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  13. J. Crobuzon

    Someone needs to rinse his priebus out with soap. Another disloyal neo-conservative.

    January 30, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  14. gwedwards

    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."
    Please, you were OK with all of the things Dems called Pres Bush? You're not really an independent, are you?

    January 30, 2012 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  15. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    If President Obama is Capt. Schittino, then President GW Bush was Capt. Hazlewood of the Exxon Valdez.

    January 30, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  16. Anonymous010

    Blah, blah, blah...more baseless accusations and diatribe from the Republicans. I get tired of the hypocricy of Washington. If a Democratic President campaigns to win his next term, the Republicans say he's ignoring his duties. If it's a Republican President, it's the other way around. It must be nice to be blind to your own parties faults.

    News Flash, politicians: We're not that stupid. We can see right through your petty, selfish games that BOTH of you play. Only people that are drinking the kool-aid from one side or the other believe anything that either political party says anymore. Priebus had a chance here to stop this trend and be the better person by acknowledging that Presidents on both sides campaign for their next term and that it's perfectly normal, but he blew it.

    January 30, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  17. Andrien

    I can't believe Michael Steele was replaced with this little snagapus of a GOP chairman. It's comment like his that will ensure Pres. Obama's re election.

    January 30, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  18. gary

    That's the problem with a drowning man. He always tries to drag someone else down with him. Good luck with that strategy.

    January 30, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  19. Willie K.

    This guy's name sounds funny to me. May I see your birth certificate, Mr. Probeus? You don't act like a real American. You must be from France or some foreign country like that where the men carry purses.

    January 30, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  20. Dadster

    Fleeing the ship? You must mean the Republicans who sole purpose the last 3+ years was to find a way to defeat the president. Nevermind that the US economy was in trouble or that millions of people were out of work or that you caused it. You're just concerned about you're wealthy puppeteers getting more money for themselves. Bush cut taxes, cut capital gains tax and let corporate america repatriate $360 billion. Where are the jobs the American people were promised. The Republican answer to the job situation today? Why it's to cut taxes, eliminate the capital gains tax alltogether and letting corporate american repatriate $1-$2 trillion! This love affair that you Republicans have with making the wealthy more wealthier in order to create jobs will be your downfall not in just the Presidential election but in other elections as well.

    January 30, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  21. Northeastern Lady

    To Southern Lady
    So well said about the current Republican Party. How can we vote for a Party whose purpose is "to do everything to make the President fail knowing full-well that the country will also fail". GOP does not deserve our respect, let alone our vote.

    January 30, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  22. Gene Cole

    The comparison is apt; Kudos to Mr. Priebus for coming up with this description. I suspect Bob Schieffer was simply caught off guard and was trying to remember who Captain Schettino was.

    I don't know why the tag labels the comparison "shocking". It doesn't hold a candle to the things that the leftist Democrats were calling George Bush.

    January 30, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  23. Tom

    "It begins with us!"
    Obama/Biden 2012

    January 30, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  24. Billy X

    The GOP must be really getting desperate. It's finally dawning on them that no matter if if it's Mitt or Gen-grinch their starting the race with a 100 pound handicap. And lord help 'em if Ron Paul goes 3rd party – the few votes they would've gotten will be split into tiny fragments.

    January 30, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  25. Robert

    You want Obama's pipe.

    January 30, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
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