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Steele, Rush In Lock-Step On Specter

After backtracking last month from comments that conservative talk radio giant Rush Limbaugh was "incendiary" and a mere "entertainer," Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is following the firebrand host's lead on the latest issue dogging the GOP.

When asked on CBS' The Early Show Thursday whether his view of Arlen Specter's defection to the Democrats mirrored Sen. Olympia Snowe's (regret) or Limbaugh's (good riddance), Steele was quick to side with the controversial radio host.

"Rush (is right)," Steele said. "I'm sorry, I'm not weeping here."

Steele called Specter's maneuver a "cold, crass political calculation by a senator who could not get reelected through a nominating process in the Republican party."

"This has nothing to do with philosophy and principle and all those wonderful-sounding words."

Specter announced his switch to the Democrats Tuesday, saying he had become "increasingly at odds with the Republican philosophy."

But Steele sees the move as political opportunism.

Steele said that Specter "whined and moaned and groaned" to the White House and party officials to save his seat in 2004, when he faced a primary challenge from former congressman Pat Toomey.

"All this … crazy noise about conservatism, he didn't mind it when his seat was on the line."

Still, Steele acknowledged the GOP faces its share of struggles.

"I'm not gonna sit here with pie in the sky talk about how wonderful things are – they're not."

But he rejected the idea that conservatives are running moderates out of the party.

"This notion that somehow because we're conservative, our doors are closed and we only take certain types of people is just crazy."

Steele said that the GOP's return to power rests on staying true to "core principles" – something he says the party strayed from in recent years.

"What the voters rejected was our failure to lead."

You can watch the interview below, along with an interview with Vice President Joe Biden:

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