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. bgun2

    Jim in San Mateo, you must be talking about the talking head Wasserman.

    January 30, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. bgun2

    Max, if you are only capable of one thought you should keep it to yourself.

    January 30, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. Ace

    Harsh, insensitive comparison....but completely true. He didn't have to say it, since we all already know it.

    January 30, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  4. Hark

    Thank God for tissue....You libs have got me crying like the babies you are.

    January 30, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  5. shoegazer

    Open mouth,insert foot.

    January 30, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  6. Justin

    And yet when governors and senators take months off to campaign for the GOP nomination that isnt an issue? What about Palin resigning mid-term? If you are going to call people out then you have to include your own team as well or it is just blatent hypocrisy.

    January 30, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  7. Straight Shooter

    Gee- Wow, your dead on examples and statements of supporting facts is overwhelming – to a 2 year old. Do drugs much?

    January 30, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "how low will Republicans stoop?"

    More like squatting over the middle-class' face after the 1% and GOP/Teatroll policies knocked us all down. 40 or so years of trickle-down randian daydreams was a headshot and now they're doing the Halo/Call of Duty teabag dance over the middle class' corpse.

    January 30, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  9. Wonfish

    I am staunch Democrat. But when I listen to Michael Steele for example on the Rachael Maddow Show, I must admit that I come away thinking he is an intelligent, thinking person. I wish I could say the same for other Republicans.

    January 30, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  10. Jo Jo

    SHAME on him for using such an analogy when so many families are hurting due to the loss of love ones on this ship. For him to stoop to the lowest denominator for such a comparison to our president, shows just how heartless the GOP/TPers have become. Again, SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!!!

    January 30, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  11. Rob

    Republicans are sinking lower than a snake in a tire rut.

    January 30, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "One for the democrats and a different standard for everyone else."

    Haha...said like someone who ate their IOKIYAR O's for breakfast.

    January 30, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  13. saywhat

    Desperation showing its ugly fangs. This attempt at demeaning President Obama ranks with the same pathetic attempts which claw at his origin or faith or race.
    God what have we become?

    January 30, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  14. GOP Good ship Lollipop

    The GOP ship has already sank. Life boats and life preservers are not going to help. They keep punching holes in their own leaky ship. It is every man for himself now.

    January 30, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  15. Thomas

    It was Captain GW Bush who was on the bridge when the USS AMERICA ran onto the reef .

    You can never spin that truth !

    January 30, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  16. Thomas

    @ Jim in San Mateo
    The brainless leading the ignorant.
    A new study show that IQ and conservative thinking are linked to racism.

    January 30, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  17. JSatt

    What I get tired of is all of the personal bashing. It totally ticks me off to hear folks bash each other personally instead of fighting things out on the issues. The Grinches of the Past (GOP) kill me with all this rhetoric and once the Convention comes they will kiss but , make up and all back one candidate. RIGHT!!! I think it is pathetic to say anything personally or wish anyone ill just because of how they feel on issues. State what you're going to do if you get the office and let the chips fall where they may. These kinds of personal attacks from your own party turns voters off....Eespecially mine!

    January 30, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  18. Florida Joe


    Dominican mama 4 Obama, The analogy is fair if you consider all the lives that will be lost when Obama drives our nation to bankruptcy and all support systems are gone. If anything I think the Priebus analogy was not harsh enough.
    It is the Repubs that are trying to elimintate the safety net and you talk about losing lives what about the 4000 troops that died for a LIE in Iraq?..........BUSH had this country headed toward bankruptcy yet chose to hide it by fighting 2 wars off budget, unfunded medicare part D, unfunded tax cuts for the RICH.........

    January 30, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  19. Shardik

    Remember when Bush drove the economy off a cliff, did any of the RNC complain about it then? Or compare him to the Captain on the Titanic?

    January 30, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  20. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    Basically Mr. RNC PR BS was proving what the rest of sane Americans have known for the last year. The GOBP deathcult is running off the rails. A party fueled by fear, lies, hate and ignorance, while caring only for the greedy, and not the needy, is not a viable basis for a successful political party.

    January 30, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  21. Tim

    Is there a point when Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus realizes he is just being an arrogant, smug, jerk?

    Or, is he like the rest of the republicans and cannot see the forest for the trees?

    January 30, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  22. lathebiosas

    Reince should just focus on getting his party back on the rails. Time to abandon the extreme right Tea Party influence if they ever want to hold the highest office again. You can't win anything if you let 25% of the population define your platform, the numbers just aren't there. People who used to call themselves Republicans are hesitant to do it anymore........

    January 30, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  23. B from Massachusetts

    Shocking huh??

    However for eight years the left compared Bush to Hitler and called him a war criminal.

    And you guys weren't insulted...

    What a bunch of hypocrites...

    January 30, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  24. Grace

    let the Republican keep up these horrific tactics.. it makes the entire public painfully aware of just how desperate the Republican party has become. I gag everytime one of them talks about VALUES. the decent ones have left the party and become Independents. What you have left are the dregs and the pathetic wannabees.

    January 30, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  25. northof29

    The one who fits the description of not doing his job is Priebus' governor of WIsconsin. Every week Walker is in another state collecting money from his corporate friends to fight his recall.

    January 30, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
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