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Steele Takes On Rush Limbaugh: "Ugly," "Incendiary" (VIDEO)

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UPDATE - 6:20PM ET: Michael Steele has apologized to Rush Limbaugh for referring to him as an "entertainer" who can be "ugly" and "incendiary," Mike Allen reports.

"My intent was not to go after Rush - I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh," Steele said. "I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. ... There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership."

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EARLIER:

Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele took umbrage Saturday night when CNN's D.L. Hughley referred to radio host Rush Limbaugh as "the de facto leader of the Republican party."

"No he's not. I'm the de facto leader of the Republican party," Steele said. The RNC chief went on to call Limbaugh, who that very day delivered the keynote address to the Conservative Political Action Conference, a mere "entertainer" whose show is "incendiary" and "ugly."

On his radio show today, Limbaugh fired back, calling the RNC and Michael Steele "so-called Republicans" and saying that they "need a little leadership."

"So I am an entertainer and I have 20 million listeners because of my great song and dance routine," Limbaugh said. "Michael Steele, you are head of the Republican National Committee. You are not head of the Republican party. Tens of millions of conservatives and Republicans have nothing to do with the Republican National Committee...and when you call them asking for money, they hang up on you."

"I hope that changes," Limbaugh continued. "It's time, Mr. Steele, for you to go behind the scenes and start doing the work that you were elected to do instead of being some talking-head media star."

UPDATE: Rush continued firing shots at Steele later in the show.

"I'm not in charge of the Republican Party, and I don't want to be," he said. "I would be embarrassed to say that I'm in charge of the Republican Party in a sad-sack state that it's in. If I were chairman of the Republican Party, given the state that it's in, I would quit."

Rush then mocked those who have criticized him for saying he wants Obama to fail, and directly challenged them to choose: You either want Obama to succeed or fail at his goal of dismantling conservatism.

"So send those fundraising requests out," Rush said in a sneering tone, in an apparent reference to Steele, adding: "Make sure you say, `We want Obama to succeed.' So people understand your compassion."

Some audio from Limbaugh's show:

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