GOP Chairman Michael Steele and Pundit Rush Limbaugh in War of Words

Steele told CNN Limbaugh was an entertainer.

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BY Michael Saul
DAILY NEWS POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT

It's an elephant-on-elephant slapfest - and the White House is likely loving every minute of it.

The Republican rumble pits conservative talk icon Rush Limbaugh against new GOP boss Michael Steele in an increasingly nasty war of words.

"I would be embarrassed to say that I'm in charge of the Republican Party in the sad-sack state that it's in," railed Limbaugh yesterday, adding he "might get out the hari-kari knife" if he had Steele's job.

Limbaugh lashed out at Steele on his radio show after the party boss slapped the talk legend's style during an interview Saturday.

Steele had insisted that he - and not Limbaugh - was at the helm of the party.

"Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer," Steele said on CNN. "Rush Limbaugh, his whole thing is entertainment. Yes, it's incendiary, yes, it's ugly."

That was enough to set off Limbaugh.

He accused Steele of being "gutless" and afraid to challenge President Obama.

Last night, Steele tried to call a truce. "I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh," he told politico.com. "I was maybe a little bit inarticulate...there was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership."