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. Peteyboy

    I think a better comparison would be with our illustrious, intelligent, articulate (not) former Pres. Bush in this case. I think Mr. Priebus' smug, limpy smile will fade fast when he drops out of the 1%...

    January 30, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  2. Lynne

    I can't believe this is what Priebus thinks is being witty! For this statement alone he should be fired from being the chairman of the GOP. Such blatant disrespect for the loss of life, disrespect for the grieving families, disrespect for those injured and traumatized by the ship sinking.

    But then again I guess that's what makes him perfect for the job! The GOP doesn't really care about people, they only care about corporations!

    January 30, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  3. post commenter

    This is a pattern really. A Repulican says somthting borderline to stupid that the general media (and moderate to left people) will get outraged about. Meanwhile, the fact that center&left are pissed further energizes their base. People in comment sections repeat the stupid statements ad nausium – in a netative way. However, the statement gets repeated 1000s of times – getting it higher in the web ratings (the fact that one says: the guy is a moron to have said – is lost in the ratings) Then everybody gets upset about this and the focus is off of the Republicans. Seems to happen every few days...

    January 30, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  4. Jaun in El Paso

    Technically, you could say that leading from behind is the same as jumping off the ship and leading from the shore while the shiip sinks.

    January 30, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  5. Thing55

    The real Captain Schettino would be George Bush, of course. He is the one who steered the economy into the rocks and then was planning his own political rehabilitation strategy as the economy was sinking.

    January 30, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    Walter, its not a question of "if", but " by how much". The only reason we have had gridlock is that a Democrat in the White House runs counter to the alternate reality the GOP lives in, where cutting revenue and increasing spending results in a balanced budget: thats what the GOP has advocated for over 30 years, even though they are incapable of cutting things they support. Its obvious the GOP love fiction, since dealing with the real world, with all its inconvenient problems and issues is beyond their ideology/theology. Thier answer? Create a world where the president is plotting to destroy the world, the Democrats are both devious and incompetant, and where millionaires with offshore accounts are heroic-NOT!

    January 30, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  7. ClarasBeau

    So magnificently thoughtless.

    January 30, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  8. mw

    I have been a registered Republican for years. Today, as a result of the vitriolic personal attacks and lack of positive information on plans for improvement of our national condition by the candidates and the kindergarten mentality of the RNC, I will reregister. (My apoligies to kindergarteners everywhere).

    January 30, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  9. Luke Brown

    This is a disgusting lack of respect for the President of the United States. We are all Americans first and foremost.

    Clearly the Republicans have nothing constructive to offer the American people this year. Somehow, I think they are going to need something a little more compelling than this character. Obama may not be a superstar, but he offers a lot more than these people.

    January 30, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  10. FLIndpendent

    I am so sick of these Repubs coming up with all these derogatory names for our President. When I heard him say this on TV yesterday I was livid as it was his party that caused the economy to crash and President Obama is the one steering it back on track. They are getting desperate and trying anything that will stick. President Obama will be re-elected!!

    January 30, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. Cedar Rapids

    "Bruce Bryant – Why did CNN say this was shocking????? Seems obvious to me"
    Yep, its obvious to anyone as to why this was shocking, though apparently not to you.

    "Wake up – if he would only not think he's above the law and just submitt to the request of georgia courts"
    Jeez, still a birther huh? too funny. Here is a prediction for you......absolutely nothing will happen.

    January 30, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  12. klur

    Funny coming from a Republican whose party is more interested than seeing Obama fail than governing.

    January 30, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  13. A Moderate

    Priebus ? Sounds like a poorly made hybrid from N. Korea.

    January 30, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. Anonymous

    Just like Gingrich sent out a list of "key words" to plant in the lemmings of their party's heads this guy is continuing with the words of failed economy – when it is getting stronger, losing jobs when they are slowing coming back. If you believe and use those words to continue the ludicrious republican patter you lose credibility among those of us who can see the facts.

    January 30, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    ThisSerious wrote:

    This guy is a coward. He knows they can't beat the real Obama, so their method to defeating President Obama is to create this fictional character to run against when it comes to his policies and character.
    Which is exactly what they did with the ACA, Affordable Care Act, and health reform. They even gave the myth a phony name that contains the Presdient's name. And, I'm scared of it. We should all be scared of the mythical monster. It has death panels. Takes over my life and all of government., Etc. All manners of evil stuff. Good thing I know it's just as a myth.

    January 30, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  16. scoto

    Tasteless and obscene comment from yet another Republican dope

    January 30, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  17. SAC

    These horrible people can say what they want – they are pathetically flailing about in their own impotence. Their attacks are bald-faced racism. And all those who follow this heinous party line – remember you will be judged for your hearts and words too, and you will have earned it too.

    January 30, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  18. The Left Wing

    This shows the level that the Republican Party has sunk to. If you want to make this kind of comparison a more appropriate one would be Reince Priebus and Joseph McCarthy who accused many honest Americans of being communists in the 40s and 50s. Priebus leads a party that likes to call people names based on their paranoia just like McCarthy. Thank goodness they don't have the power that McCarthy did. Americans need to make sure that they never get that power so they cannot reinvent a era based on some of our ugliest history. The politics of dirty one liners can, has and is doing damage to this country. Stop it now. Don't let it get out of control again. Vote for intelligence over red meat.

    January 30, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  19. Dom

    He is absolutley right. 1-21-13 cannot come fast enough with President Paul.

    January 30, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  20. DENNA

    Old Rancid Peaches speaks again. You are the captain of the Titanic, a.k.a. GOP. I would not be talking I were you.

    January 30, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  21. Claudia

    Mr. Priebus: Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

    January 30, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  22. Alexandria

    RNC Chairman Priebus's stupid, insensitive analogy is an outrage. In obvious contrast is President Obama's classiness, intelligence, and devotion to the betterment of our society. Obama continues to impress me every day. When he was introduced at the State of the Union address, I thought to myself, "Whatever the Republicans do or say, they can't take this away from you. You are our President. " Obama makes me proud again to be an American. The Grand Old Party isn't so 'grand' anymore. Oftentimes, their behavior is vindictive, selfish, and mean-spirited. This may help re-elect a President I admire, but they shame themselves and embarrass me in front of the rest of the world.

    January 30, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  23. Anonymous

    Really? Obama is Captain Schettino? Wasn't Bush at the helm when the ship began to sink? Didn't Obama board the sinking ship and try to plug it with stimulus packages that brought back our car industry and reversed the downward trend in economic growth? Isn't America growing again? Last time I checked, it was. No thanks to the GOP, whose only accomplishment is to say no to everything. And shame on you for this type of rhetoric. Why don't you spend some time on proposing solutions that have a good chance at obtaining a consensus in both houses, rather then pathetic extreme proposals that you know are dead on arrival.

    January 30, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  24. Jim Caldwell

    The people who believe this guy are probably the same people who believe that were Gingrich to be elected, job growth and capital investment would happen overnight – just because a Republican was elected. Pretty ridiculous

    January 30, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  25. max

    I find it interesting that the party of "Christian Values" continually shows that they aren't Christian at all! I would say they are more like Darwinists with no conscience. His comment about the tragedy in Italy exemplifies their values and the lows that they will sink to for their own ends. The really sad part is that many people buy this rhetoric hook line and sinker. I agree with many of the Republican ideals, but I have yet to see a Republican in congress or running for president be an example of those. And this rat race of an election is just getting started. Sad!

    January 30, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
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