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. petena

    Wight ship – wrong captain. My Captain Obama is setting sail real clear. He has rescued the sinking ship Bush left us. Have people really forgotten where we were just just 3 years ago. Yes, I said three. Obama has NOT been in office 4 years yet.

    January 29, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. Josaphat Daniels

    I'm a Christian but I have to admit that sometimes even my fellow christians scare the hell out of me. I just don't know how
    some people would call themselves CHRIST likes but behave like the pharisees and the sadducees, people that spoke ill will of JESUS and even conspired to kill him. rick santorum, newt gingrich, michele bachmann, mitt romney, herman cain as
    well as others including this vitriolic chairman priebus are not true Christians, they are more like the pharisees and the sadducees because no matter how sanctimonious they claim to be they have the same characteristics towards Obama
    just like the pharisees and sadducees have towards JESUS CHRIST.

    January 29, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Marie MD

    I wonder how the families of the victims would feel, heck, the world would feel, to know that this strange name sounding man has compared our President with a captain who left the ship when it was sinking and people died.
    To me that sounds like the previous president, but hey, that's just me.
    Just because that out of the millions of Americans who call themselves, shamefully, teapublikans you people couldn't find one candidate worthy to be our president doesn't mean that you need to resort to name calling. Then again, since 2008 and that witch from AK this is all that you people can come up with.
    A agree with mccallen23 – stay classy party of hell no!

    January 29, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. Cati

    Republicans = pathetic little people

    January 29, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  5. Vicky

    WOW! What a disgusting, disrespectful piece of work Mr. Priebus is. The GOP is clearly imploding before our eyes! Time to step back and regroup for 2016. My prediction is the House and the Senate will lose a significant number of seats in the upcoming election. The GOP will have to reinvent themselves if they hope to remain viable in the future.

    January 29, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  6. Roberto

    How in god's name do you make a political statement about a tragedy that is still unfolding?!!??!

    January 29, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  7. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    The shipwreck is the GOP, which has run aground and is listing heavily under the weight of Tea Parrty extremists who are far out of touch with common-sense Americans. When in doubt, play the fear/stupidity card. It's all they got. He forgot to call Obama the Anti-Christ.

    January 29, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  8. LMC

    A laughable comparison, since it was George W. Bush who helped steer our country into financial danger! The collapse occured during Bush's watch and President Obama has been trying to pick up the pieces. I sincerely doubt anyone could have done better, especially since the Republicans in Congress made it their job to try and make the President fail, even if it meant failure for the citizens of our country–that's how much they care about us–not one bit!

    January 29, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  9. Jill-IN

    Reince Priebus is low mentality, devisive and hateful tool of the GOP. What a disgusting fool. Serious news shows shouldn't even consider interviewing him. There is nothing important he has to say and he is a terrible example for our children and grandchildren.

    January 29, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  10. John J

    Obama 2012. My greatest satisfaction will be the millions of DUMB GOPers, so out of touch with reality, that they will be scratching their heads how they lost. The reason you lost is because you guys nominated newt and romney. hahahah how dumb are you people?!!

    January 29, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  11. fairtrade

    Not really much you can say about an idiot talking like an idiot. At least he is entertaining. I will say that he and the rest of the republicans will hopefully realize that America is made up of two parties and independents. We all don't vote republican and we sure don't all like them.

    January 29, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. Seattle Sue

    Rience Priebus is a total jerk. I Want him to show his birth certificate, with a name like that, he can't be an American. His name sounds French.

    January 29, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  13. judith

    Such a statement just demonstrates the utter desperation of the GOP. They know Obama will win and are running scared. Priebus is the worst chair they've ever had and this statement proves it. The "shocking news" is that Obama leads all the opposition. A new poll shows him 9 points up on Romney in the critical state of Florida. Expect the GOP to act in even more vile, extremist language throughout the year, but Obama will be reelected.

    January 29, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    I don't care if your state is red or blue, if you believe in trickle down, or bottom up and I don't care if you like the President, whether he's Republican, Democrat, or Tea Party, you don't show this kind of disrespect in a public forum toward the President. It shows no class and makes us all a little less than we otherwise could be. This isn't the first time this has happened during the Obama administration. It would be nice if it were the last.

    January 29, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. Casual Observer

    "Reince Priebus said the party would unite by then in an effort to win the White House."

    So they will get together for the photo op of an election and then get back to their self-serving agendas, and that of their rich supporters.

    January 29, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  16. Ken Andrews

    Priebus is our country's Vidkun Quisling.

    January 29, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. luvmycountry

    This is an appalling comment, regardless of what party or politician is is being disparaged. This disrespectful idiot should be ashamed of himself. Anyone around him should be outraged. This is an example of the depths to which our political process has plummeted. Have we lost all sense of honor? The Republicans have raised 'hate talk' to an art form. Just look how they speak about each other, let alone about their 'enemies.' I hope Priebus toads a long Mediterranean cruise...and very soon. Find a party chair with some dignity, for our country's sake.

    January 29, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. DC Observer

    Not a shocking comparison but rather a shocking similarity between two heads of ship who abandoned their commands - one casued losss of life on the high sees; the other caused loss of hope, lose of faith, loss of jobs, loss o fhomes. loss of savings, and in some cases – loss of lives.

    January 29, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. jimatmadison

    Mr Priebus was just named as one of the people caught communicating on an illegal wireless router set up 25 feet from governor Scott Walker's office when Walker was Milwaukee County exec and Priebus was Wisconsin Republican Chairman.

    The problem was that the router was used for illegal campaign work by Walker aides while they were supposed to be doing work for the taxpayers.

    I suspect that Mr Priebus will be deposed soon (if he hasn't been already) to see whether he knew that what was happening was illegal.

    If he knew, he may be implicated himself.

    January 29, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  20. BeverlyNC

    And this from the Party of George W Bush and Dick Cheney – who ran up our debt to its present level, murdered more than 5000 soldiers in a fraudulent war to grab Iraq's oil. Committed treason and international war crimes on torture. Karl Rove outted a CIA agent because her husband would not lie before Congress about non-existent WMDs. That's a federal crime of 20+ years. Destroyed our economy and the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans. The GOP really thinks we would vote any of them back in office again? They are insane extremists. I will stick with President Obama who stands up for ALL Americans and has accomplished great things for the PEOPLE. President Obama has something no Republican has – honor, character, integrity, real values, and actually works for the PEOPLE every day. He is and will continue to be my President.

    January 29, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  21. NoTags

    "Caribou Barbie" Palin is more Like Schettino. If I recall correctly she abandoned her office before the end of her term. The big difference is Schettino left a tragedy, and Palin's leaving was a blessing to the citizens of Alaska.

    January 29, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  22. Dean

    Read the yahoo news story about how conservative thinking, prejudice and low IQ are linked...

    January 29, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  23. Diet

    That is such an AIRHEAD comment. No question that the current regime messed up quite a bit by throwing too much money around without having any control in place. BUT I suspect that the Republicans would have done no better and based on history substantially worse.

    January 29, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  24. hwy9

    "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..."

    Good lord – and I thought Michael Steele was an idiot! Why can't the GOP find a guy with half a brain to chair their little party?

    January 29, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  25. conoclast

    Well that settles it. If that's what the GOP's paid spokesman says, we just have to accept the truth of the matter: republicans simply have no shame.

    January 29, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
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