Posted at 03:27 PM ET, 01/30/2012

RNC chairman stands by statement comparing Obama to Italian ship captain

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Monday stood by his comment comparing President Obama to the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship, arguing in the wake of criticism by Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and others that the statement was “a fair analogy.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. (Brian Blanco — Associated Press)
“This is ridiculous,” Priebus said on Fox News Channel’s “America Live with Megyn Kelly” Monday afternoon. “The analogy was made — and it was an analogy of leadership — that in a time of crisis, in a time crisis, this president is leaving the White House and campaigning nonstop all the time. I think it’s pretty clear, but you know, if people out there, especially on the Democratic side, want to try to make hay of it, they’re going to be able to do that.”

Priebus added that he thought the Costa Concordia incident — in which 17 people died after the ship ran aground off the coast of Italy — was “awful.”

“People have died, of course — terrible — and our prayers go out to those people, without a question,” he said. “But to take this comment and turn it into something that it was not, that’s wrong too, and that’s political gamesmanship as well.”

Wasserman Schultz earlier Monday issued a statement calling for Priebus to apologize for the remarks, which the RNC chairman made Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney also weighed in on Priebus’s remarks at Monday’s news briefing.

“Well, let me just say that if you are so desperate for attention that you make an analogy that Michael Steele deems inappropriate, you know you’ve probably gone too far,” Carney said to laughter from the White House press corps.

He was referring to the fact that former RNC chairman Michael Steele criticized Priebus’s comments in an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” earlier Monday.

By  |  03:27 PM ET, 01/30/2012

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