Carney throws RNC's ship captain analogy overboard
January 30th, 2012
02:59 PM ET
8 years ago

Carney throws RNC's ship captain analogy overboard

(CNN) - A top Republican's comparison of President Barack Obama to the captain of the ill-fated Costa Concordia this weekend ran aground Monday with the White House as it was sharply denounced by Press Secretary Jay Carney.

"If you are so desperate for attention that you make an analogy that Michael Steele deems inappropriate, you know you have probably gone too far," Carney said in the White House press briefing.

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Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus made the comment Sunday morning on CBS's "Face the Nation" in response to a question about in-fighting during the Republican primary.

"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.

The remarks quickly sparked controversy and prompted former RNC chairman Michael Steele to speak out against the current chairman's statement.

"I think it's an unfortunate analogy," Steele said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Monday. "I mean, people died in that situation."

The ship collided with rocks 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 the captain, Francesco Schettino, is under house arrest and faces possible criminal charges of manslaughter, shipwreck and abandoning ship.

- CNN's Gabriella Schwarz contributed to this report.

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Filed under: 2012 • Jay Carney • President Obama • Reince Priebus
soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    I'm still waiting for Steel to figure out that the Republican Party has almost run out of any use for him. If he keeps up the criticism of his successor, Boehner might fire Steel as his spokesperson.

    [ The remark requires public apology. But, we know Republicans never show any remorse for anything. ]

    January 30, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. Jim in San Mateo

    The brainless leading the ignorant.

    January 30, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Reince Priebus was picked by the RNC to be their "Golden Boy" so what do you expect, nobody said he was smart.

    January 30, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  4. Al-NY,NY

    Will lttle-boy Priebus recant?? Of course not! "It was a joke!. It was taken out of context" Any Republican that doesn't rebuke this horrific comparison is a sorry example of humanity.

    January 30, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  5. DJ Reality

    Reince Priebus is the RNC's attack dog. A little chawawa that yaps, barks, and jumps up and down to get attention. He must have been starved for attention when he was a kid. He must have been a carnival barker before he ran the RNC.

    January 30, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  6. Expat American

    I can’t imagine the last fateful moments felt by those who were lost in that tragedy.
    The Republicans, of course, make light of the loss of life and the grief of the families.
    But then again, such behavior is more than expected from the GOP.
    Well done RNC, truly.

    January 30, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  7. Nathan

    Priebus is oh so gay but still hasn't came out of the closet in his own mind

    January 30, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "If you are so desperate for attention that you make an analogy that Michael Steele deems inappropriate, you know you have probably gone too far," Carney said in the White House press briefing
    While I appreciate the sentiment I found this to be a lukewarm rebuke by Carney.
    Carney should've lambasted Priebus in no uncertain terms. He should've driven home how much in poor taste it was for Reince to use the tragic death of so many innocent people to take a jab at our President. He should've proceeded to cite chapter and verse how often W was seen slinking away from his presidential quarters to go and cut shrubs at his home in Texas. He should've come out firing on all cylinders not using Michael Steele as a measuring rod of what is and isn't appropriate.
    Let Wasserman-Schulz address this issue in the manner in which it should be addressed.

    January 30, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  9. Jake

    how low will Republicans stoop?

    January 30, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  10. shugee

    If we are to stick with the Priebus analogy, Obama was not even on board the ship when it hit the rocks so maybe we could make him one of the coast guard guys who came to clean up the mess.

    January 30, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  11. nick2

    Completely tasteless remark from an over ambitious political hack – still trying to prove himself to his party. Well, they should send him back to the mail room along with his cronies. As if the Republican party were not already at one of its lowest points in history, and this wannabe – just trying to make a name for himself, crosses the line.

    January 30, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  12. Jim

    "I think it's an unfortunate analogy," Steele said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Monday. "I mean, people died in that situation."

    I'm a democrat and this sums it up to the letter. What a pathetic joke the GOP have become. They get worse with every replacement.

    January 30, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  13. Ricardo

    Does republican party have someone with a brain. A bunch idiots in GOP. From the chairman to candidates

    January 30, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  14. king

    i am glad the repubs through steele under the bus, because he is probably the best rnc chairman theyve ever had in their whole entire history. this guy ranks among the worst theyve ever had. he is juvenile and inconsiderate. all he does is throw stone no matter how stupid or inconsiderate his words are. i know he is trying to play to the tea party type but even the tea partiers have some kind of morality about themselves. obama took a ship that was sinking almost a million jobs a month, a economy that was retracting at 9 percent, a housing crisis, a financial crisis, what else can i add, owh two wars. now the ship is almost on the top of the water again. this bliligerant fool must be set straight about our history and stop lying so much.

    January 30, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  15. i want a mega rich Mormon who hides money overseas, and a master tax evader as president

    Racist working overtime.

    January 30, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |

    No surprise.These wingnuts are unhinged and America knows it.

    January 30, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  17. Gee

    If Obummer and his cronies are re-elected, people in this country could very well die...and all of these liberal jerks that say for shame for using a tragedy to political gain; the Democratic party has used tragedies and manufactured emergencies to political gain for the last five years...who do you think you are fooling??

    January 30, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  18. mike

    Instructions to RNC Chair Reince Priebus. 1. Remove foot from mouth. 2. Get paper 3.Get pen.4. Resign.
    5. Walk fast out of the office so the door doesn't hit you on your way out. Belay that #5 You deserve that one.

    January 30, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  19. MTATL67

    I read Reince Priebusthe comment this weekend and laughed at the irony. Because Reince Priebus connection to Gov Walker and his aides that were arrested is much more like the Capt that was arrested.

    January 30, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  20. TMG22

    Priebus is ridiculous to make this comparison. The Republican Party is deranged!! People who make comments like this need to be called out. Every news station should be showing that clip along with a surviving member of someone who died on that ship and ask them what they think of that comment!

    January 30, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  21. MikeH

    Mr Priebus is just upset that Mark Foley broke up with him.

    January 30, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  22. Al-NY,NY

    19 comments as of this writing and you get 1 (from Gee) that actually defends this reprehensible comment.

    January 30, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    You have a serious messaging problem, Mr. Priebus.

    January 30, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  24. Gurgi

    Why is it you socialist guys seem to think you act in a "spiritual" world, while all the while it's assets, coin, or chattels you want to "redistribute"? The 800 pound gorilla in the room is you want "stuff", but want it by proxy, legislation, or whining.

    January 30, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  25. Mikey

    @Gee – "If Obummer and his cronies are re-elected, people in this country could very well die..."
    And they wonder why many people think a big chunk of those on the far right have become completely unhinged? Perfect example. And it always cracks me up that the "more patriotic than thou" crowd on the right continue to be openly disrespectful to the President and the Office of the Presidency with their nicknames for our President. My parents taught me better. I guess we can call these people "Right Trash".

    January 30, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
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