Washington (CNN) – Embattled Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele spent Saturday calling GOP lawmakers and elected party officials to explain his controversial remarks on Afghanistan and to try to build support against calls for his resignation.
“He is reaching out to prominent Republicans, members of Congress, senators and members of the committee,” an RNC spokesman told CNN on Saturday. “And he has gotten strong support from Republican leaders.”
Steele is under fire from fellow Republicans for saying at a fundraiser Thursday in Connecticut that the war in Afghanistan “was a war of Obama’s choosing.” The RNC chairman also said that "This is not something the United States actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in.”
Steele’s statement contradicts the fact that the U.S. led a NATO coalition with overwhelming public support to invade Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Steele’s remarks were recorded and posted on YouTube.
Republicans ranging from Weekly Standard Editor William Kristol to Liz Cheney have called on Steele to step down. Former South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson also told CNN that Steele should resign. On Saturday, The Washington Times reported that North Dakota Republican Party Chairman Gary Emineth was considering challenging Steele when the RNC chairman’s election occurs in January, and Politico quoted Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, urging Steele to step down.
Washington (CNN) – Sec. of State Hillary Clinton said Saturday that she hasn't let her demanding schedule get in the way of what she calls her most important task: wedding planning.
"It's a very happy time for my family," Clinton said during an interview with Polish media. "It [the wedding] truly is the most important thing in my life right now."
Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, is engaged to marry Marc Mezvinsky, the son of former members of Congress Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky of Pennsylvania and Ed Mezvinsky of Iowa.
Asked how she balances her professional responsibilities and role as mother of the soon-to-be bride, Clinton said both are tasks are "serious, important and stressful" but that, "[W]e have email now. I can communicate, and people can send me pictures of flower arrangements or other kinds of decisions."
Washington (CNN) - Another prominent conservative is asking Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele to resign, calling his comments on the war in Afghanistan "deeply disappointing and wrong."
Liz Cheney, a former State Department official and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said in a statement released Saturday that Steele must go.
"RNC Chairman Michael Steele's comments about the war in Afghanistan were deeply disappointing and wrong," Cheney said. "The chairman of the Republican party must be unwavering in his support for American victory in the war on terror – a victory that cannot be accomplished if we do not prevail in Afghanistan. I endorse fully Bill Kristol's letter to Chairman Steele. It is time for Chairman Steele to step down."
Cheney, a founding member of Keep America Safe, a conservative advocacy group focused on national security and foreign policy issues, is not the first to call for Steele's resignation. On Friday, influential conservative and editor of the Weekly Standard William Kristol called on Steele to step down.
(CNN) – A delegation of U.S. senators on a visit to Iraq said they were impressed with the progress the country has made over the past few years, but urged political factions to form a new government soon.
Senators John McCain, R-Arizona, Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, spoke to reporters at a news conference during their visit Saturday.
Vice President Joe Biden also arrived in Iraq Saturday to celeberate the July 4 holiday with U.S. troops.
"Baghdad to us now is a very different city than when we first came here," Lieberman said. "It's thriving, it's clean, there's growth going on, it's great to see."
(CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Iraq with his wife Saturday to celebrate the Fourth of July with American troops, the White House said.
Biden is expected to also meet with Iraqi political leaders, including Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. He will also meet with former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, whose political coalition narrowly won an election in March. Political factions are still negotiating who will hold key posts in the new government.
The vice president and Jill Biden will attend a naturalization ceremony for members of the armed forces, and will participate in a Fourth of July event for Iraqi officials, the White House said.
Washington (CNN) - Sen. Saxby Chambliss says the U.S. debt is "one of the most dangerous threats confronting America."
The Georgia Republican made his comment in this week's Republican address, and come on the same day that, in the presidential radio and internet address, President Obama criticized Senate Republicans for their attempts to delay the extension of unemployment benefits and tax credits to people and small businesses hurt by the recession.
Republican leaders objected to the measure because it would have added to the national debt. They offered alternative bills that would have paid for unemployment benefits with unused stimulus funds.
While never referring explicitly to the legislative battle over unemployment benefits, Chambliss hammers home the GOP perspective.
Released just one day after a Labor Department report indicated a net loss of 125,000 jobs in June, Obama uses the address to announce $2 billion in conditional funding for two U.S. based solar companies.
According to the White House, the two companies – Abengoa Solar and Abound Solar Manufacturing – will use the funding to build new production facilities.
Abengoa Solar will build a plant in Arizona, while Abound Solar Manufacturing will build two new facilities, one in Colorado and one in Indiana.
But Obama acknowledges the economic difficulties of the moment.