Obama likened to disgraced ship captain
Washington - Top Republican official Reince Priebus sparked a political uproar on Sunday by comparing President Barack Obama to disgraced Italian ship captain Francesco Schettino.
Commenting on tough exchanges between Republicans vying to face Obama in November, the Republican National Committee chairperson told CBS the focus would soon shift to Obama.
"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 and is more interested in campaigning than doing his job as president."
Asked by the interviewer to clarify his remarks, Priebus went further.
"I called him Captain Schettino, you know, the captain that fled the ship in Italy. That's our own president, who is fleeing the American people and not doing his job and running around the country and campaigning."
Schettino became infamous around the world this month when his Costa Concordia ship liner run aground, killing at least 16 people.
Schettino is accused of being responsible for the disaster and of fleeing the stricken ship before his passengers were safe.
The comparison to Obama prompted indignation among Democrats, with the Democratic National Committee describing it as "shameful".
Democratic strategist Donna Brazile described the comments as "misleading", and "shameful and disgraceful."