Carney: RNC chairman 'desperate for attention' comparing Obama to Italian ship captain

"Let me just say that if you're so desperate for attention that you make an analogy that Michael Steele deems inappropriate, then you've probably gone too far," Carney said Monday's White House press briefing when asked about the comparison.

Michael Steele, the former head of the RNC, called Preibus's comments "unfortunate" in an interview earlier Monday.

"I think it's an unfortunate analogy. I mean, people died in that situation. I think it's, again, cute by nowhere," said Steele on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Priebus originally made the remarks on CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday, where he said, "We’re going to talk about our own little Captain Schettino, which is President Obama who’s abandoning the ship here in the United States and is more interested in campaigning than doing his job as president."

The RNC chairman has come under fire for his controversial remarks, including from his counterpart, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.).

"For the RNC chairman to compare the president of the United States to someone who has been charged with manslaughter shows a dramatic level of insensitivity to the families of those victims," Wasserman Schultz told Fox News Monday.