WASHINGTON - The White House is criticizing comments by the Republican National Committee chairman comparing President Barack Obama to the Italian cruise ship captain who allegedly abandoned his sinking ship.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus (ryns PREE'-bus) said Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation" that Obama was "our own little Captain Schettino (skeh-TEE'-noh)." Priebus accused Obama of abandoning ship in the U.S. and spending more time on his re-election campaign.

Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele told MSNBC the analogy was "unfortunate."

In response, White House press secretary Jay Carney said: "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."

Sixteen people remain unaccounted for and are presumed dead in the shipwreck of the Costa Concordia.

Latest From ...