July 4th, 2010
10:03 AM ET
8 years ago

McCain question's Steele's ability to lead RNC


In an interview that aired Sunday, Sen. John McCain said there was no excuse for RNC Chairman Michael Steele's recent comments about the war in Afghanistan. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)

(CNN) - Sen. John McCain sharply criticized Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele on Sunday, calling his comments on the war in Afghanistan "wildly inaccurate."

In an interview from Afghanistan broadcast on the ABC program "This Week," McCain, R-Arizona, said there was no excuse for Steele's statements that the war launched by former President George W. Bush was "of (President Barack) Obama's choosing" and may be unwinnable.

"I think that Mr. Steele is going to have to assess whether he can still lead the Republican Party as chairman of the Republican National Committee," said McCain, a veteran senator who was the Republican presidential candidate in 2008.

His criticism follows calls for Steele's resignation by Liz Cheney, a former State Department official and the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol and former South Carolina GOP chairman Katon Dawson, who finished second to Steele in the RNC chairman's race last year.

Steele has issued a statement on the matter, saying that Obama had shifted the war effort to Afghanistan since taking office in January 2009.

"That means this is his strategy. And, for the sake of the security of the free world, our country must give our troops the support necessary to win this war," Steele said in the statement.

Filed under: GOP • John McCain • Michael Steele • Popular Posts • RNC
soundoff (140 Responses)
  1. Brad

    McCain...Steele...who cares? They're all incompetent and unable to lead anything.

    July 4, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  2. Chipster

    Willy Brown thinks McCain is a liberal because he told the truth. The war in Afghanistan began under the Bush Administration but this war is not Bush's war. It is not Obama's war. This is OUR war against the people who attacked us on 9/11. The war in Iraq that has undermined the pursuit of those criminals was Bush's obsession, not our war.

    July 4, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  3. But Steele is right.....

    American body bag counts keep rising every day....over 120 just last month....

    The Taliban cannot be beat,,,..further they cannot even be identified as they are woven into the population...

    With Obama's childish strategy of announcing his 2013 withdrawal, the Taliban need only wait......

    This is what happens when you try to make a community organizer your commander in chief....

    July 4, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    Steele must step down. His errors are too many and too flagrant.

    July 4, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  5. proud dem in nc

    Michael Steele is the gift that keeps on giving. He is pathetic and is the token black man for the GOP. Dems need to make hay on this blunder. Obama 2012!!!!

    July 4, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  6. Faded Democrat

    You guys are great bashers. Obama can't win a war can't fix the economy, can't get people back to work . I suppose the Gulf oil leak and cleanup that he can't fix is Bushs' fault

    July 4, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  7. Sam

    It looks like Steele and Palin wake up everyday thinking what stupid statements they can make for that day. Somehow Palin has been able to sell her stupidity to Americans better than Steele can and make money at it. Keep up the good work Palin and Steele, you provide for good entertainment.

    July 4, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  8. malabar

    Haha, democrats say steele was hired bcuz he is black. duh. as if obama was elected for any other reason by a bunch of the worst kind of racists: those who see race and sex 1st and ignore experience and competence (hllry). any1 who thnks obama is more qualified than her is a misogynist. and since u dems r so keen on facts and history- how many more Republicans than Democrats voted 4 the civil rights act? where did al gores father land on that issue? spare us ur hypocritical hyperventilation. learn ur history, today's a great day to start. HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

    July 4, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. Partisan hypocrite

    Ironic that some Dems call Steele a token black.

    July 4, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  10. Kahuna

    Typical of the GOP. We screwed up, so let's rewrite history and not accept blame. Make it all Obama's fault. Let's not own up to the fact that we controlled congress for 12 years and did nothing except cause the biggest financial crisis since the depression. Let's make our miltary strategic blunders Obama's fault.

    Let's not take responsibility for anything. This, from the party that touts personal responsibility.

    July 4, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  11. Partisan hypocrite

    It is an American war.

    July 4, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  12. Ron

    Steele Palin guess the Republicans threw my Republican vote out,along with Charlie Christ.....Guess in order to vote Republican you have to vote independent....

    July 4, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  13. Tony in Maine

    Johnny Metamucil is taking longer to test the wind direction these days.

    July 4, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  14. carh8r

    I'm surprised the GOP isn't letting Steele blame Obama for this war. We'll see what happens after we realize the wars are lost. Then the GOP will be pointing fingers.

    July 4, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  15. mm1200

    It's 4th of July. There's no left or right, only American. Don't forget that....

    July 4, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  16. Josh

    Well to be honest, you have to be pretty stupid to be black and a member of the Republican party in the first place. So there was pretty much no possible way going in that he was going to be an intelligent leader of the RNC.

    July 4, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  17. Mike Smith, New Orleans

    Republicans should be more careful when appointing token Afro-Americans into visible positions.

    July 4, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  18. David

    Wait until we hear the rest of his story....Remember he intentionally says things we may not understand but this is his "Plan". He is a calculating Leader and will reveil his plan in the near future.......

    July 4, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  19. Mark

    Time for Steele to step down ......................................................

    July 4, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  20. Corpsman

    Give us a break, FD. The vast majority of American economists agree that Obama's stimulus actions have prevented a much bigger collapse than we would have had if the republicans had their way. And the war? I don't recall that Bush did anything other than dig a deeper and deeper hole for us and our servicemen and women. Somebody has to clean up that mess, and Obama will likely do a far better job than any right-winger (remember McCain said we might stay in Iraq for 100 years - does that sound like a better solution to you?)

    July 4, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  21. Tony in Maine

    To faded Democrat:

    Obama's wet suit is only good to 5000 feet so he can't get down to the well head. He's trying to get a hard hat to dive that way, but McConnell said no to the appropriation.

    And yes – it is Cheney's fault for gutting the regulatory agency that should have been overseeing the drilling. All that was left were enough inspectors to fill out a poker table on the platform.

    It is not Bush's fault. He was very busy clearing brush in Crawdad.

    July 4, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  22. RonC

    Wow...feel like I have been watching the Comeday Channel after reading all the posts. Am still laughing.

    July 4, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  23. Jack Kegley

    There seems to be a severe lack of logical and intelligent discussion here and a lot of name calling. There need to be an honest discussion of our future in Afghanistan, not only here among the people but in Congress where the impact of these decisions has the most force. President Obama has discussed the current strategy with both the civilian and military and made a decision to pursue a specific course. It is incumbent upon the Republican party to outline an alternative strategy (if they have formulated one) and not just criticize the existing. The Republican party says we should not set a date certain. Has any one heard of Korea? 55 years later, trillions of dollars in expenses and the stationing of nearly 50,000 American troops should give everyone an idea of what an open ended commitment might mean. The South Koreans are a legitimate government, capable of ruling themselves and one of the world dominant economies. And yet we still have thousand of troops there to this day. So did we have victory in Korea? Are we willing to spend the next 55 years in Afghanistan? Is that the commitment the Republicans are asking for? If they say that another 10 years should be enough, then they are setting a date certain as well. We as a country need to decide what we want both in our foreign policy and from our military. Then we will be a common people with a common goal and we can move forward.
    A U.S. Marine Vietnam Vet

    July 4, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  24. Panterazero

    Steele knows that just as the British could not - twice - the French could not, and the Soviets could not, the United States cannot "win" in Afghanistan. What the GOP wants to whitewash at all costs is that OUR NATION IS A NATION LIKE OTHER NATIONS. Their cherished "American exceptionalism" is a poisonous fallacy that is likely to destroy us if we pursue it much longer. The Pentagon consumes 56% of the Federal budget...why, exactly?

    July 4, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  25. Minnesotan

    Oh look: The fossil is criticizing the token. The entire GOP would be considered a laughing stock if they hadn't already proven themselves to be an incompetent, corrupt, greedy and idiotic entity. Can't wait for them to destroy themselves like the snake eating it's tail.

    July 4, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
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