- The Washington Times - Monday, January 30, 2012

A White House spokesman Monday called Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus “desperate” for comparing President Obama to the Italian cruise ship captain who abandoned the passengers of his sinking vessel.

“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,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney. Mr. Steele, the previous RNC chairman, also criticized Mr. Priebus‘ comments.

In a discussion of the presidential campaign Sunday on the CBS show “Face the Nation,” Mr. Priebus likened Mr. Obama to the captain of the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship.

“In the end, 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 is abandoning the ship here in the United States. He’s more interested in campaigning than doing his job as president,” Mr. Priebus said.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democratic National Committee chairwoman, said Mr. Priebus “crossed the line” with his comparison and said he should apologize.

Capt. Francesco Schettino faces charges of manslaughter, shipwreck and abandoning a ship while its passengers were still aboard. The liner ran aground Jan. 13 off Italy’s west coast; at least 17 persons died and more are missing.