WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele is taking issue with the notion that Rush Limbaugh is the de facto leader of the GOP, calling the conservative radio talk show host an entertainer whose comments can be ugly.
Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, said in an interview with CNN that he, rather than Limbaugh, is "the de facto leader of the Republican Party."
And Steele described Limbaugh as a performer.
"Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. Rush Limbaugh's whole thing is entertainment," Steele said. "Yes, it is incendiary. Yes, it is ugly."
Limbaugh fired back on his radio show Monday that the GOP leader appears to be supporting President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
"Why do you claim to lead the Republican Party when you seem obsessed with seeing to it President Obama succeeds?" Limbaugh said to Steele.
"I frankly am stunned that the chairman of the Republican National Committee endorses such an agenda. I have to conclude that he does because he attacks me for wanting it to fail," said Limbaugh.