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. cameron

    It's been time for him to step down! He is an embarassment to his party. He always seems to end up putting his foot in his mouth.

    July 4, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  2. denny

    Steele should know there's a price to pay for telling the truth.

    July 4, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  3. Drew

    Steele has a nasty penchant for thinking out loud, which really doesn't suit the GOP. On Afghanistan he's right, we cannot win conventionally and anything that might possibly even look like a win will take decades. Let's declare some sort of "strategic" victory and get the hell out.

    July 4, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  4. Alex

    Typical Republican, rewriting history. FDR was terrible, Nixon was swell, Vietnam was so totally winnable, and Iraq was about spreading democracy. The scary thing is that enough repetition will make any falsehood true.

    July 4, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  5. brian

    I do not like Micheal Steele at all but there is obviously a double standard when a black man makes a comment that rubs the RNC wrong and they want his head and when a white guy makes similar comments and gets to keep his position.

    July 4, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  6. Bob in Kansas City

    Token Steele is the greatest asset to the Democratic Party. This out of touch leader is leading lemmings off a cliff and they are happy to leap!

    July 4, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  7. Keith in Austin

    If Steele was appointed because of his race, who's dat is the Whitehouse?

    Silly Liberals....

    July 4, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  8. Will

    Steele is a loser, and always has been. He is a huge liability to the Repugs. Are Republicans that stupid that they can't see how incompetent and destructive Steele and Palin are? You are the cause of your own demise. And I will look on applauding!!!

    July 4, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  9. vic

    Then and Now Mc Cain

    “I am Maverick” one year later “I am not maverick”

    “We need comprehensive immigration law” one year later “ build the dam fence”

    So I don’t care what Mc Cain say

    July 4, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  10. joshwilson38

    steele,mccain,they're both idiots.we.ve been in afghanistan for 9 years now,bush started the iraq war and moved all the resourses there.meaning that we could had won this war had we attacked it firmly and not given the taliban and alqaeda time to regroup.now obama has shifted focus back to afghanistan and the idiot republicans now say its not working and that obama is not doing his job.what about the 8 years they had to do something for once and did nothing.now all they can do is critize the dems and hope that the idiots sitting at home drinking beer and eating hotdogs reelect them again so they can do what they did for 8 years.NOTHING.

    July 4, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  11. David

    Yep – long past time for brother Steele to stop leading the GOP, although it has been fun to watch.

    For more fun, watch as this flailing party turns to South Carolina (Katon Dawson) to find new leadership.

    July 4, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  12. Gil

    While I do not support anything that John McPain says I find for once his statement is something I can support. However, I think the democrats best chances in November would be if the repuglicans keep Steele running a sinking ship!

    July 4, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  13. Guest

    Who is the white guy that made a comment similar to Steel?

    July 4, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  14. usualone

    Steele was wrong about President Obama causing the war. What is disturbing though is that one wonders if the Afghanistan war is winable. The retoric sounds so much like what was said about Vietnam and we know how that turned out. The world did not crumble when we pulled out of there. Today we buy clothing, etc. made in their country. Not that the same outcome would happen with this current war, but one finds it hard to believe, under the current circumstances, that we will "win" the war. We need to come up with a plan whereby the Taliban do not return there, but keeping them contained in other countries and taking them out little by little. Also, we have got to push people to get educated about the dangers of drugs. That will dry up the crop that keeps Afghanistan going. It will be difficult but perhaps a new generation of people won't be so hopeless or useless feeling that they turn for drugs for their "entertainment." We win then.

    July 4, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  15. Gil

    Ha Ha! Faded Democrat from an x-repuglican! You say can't fix, the economy and win a war. Who the heck messed it all up in the first place? bushwacker! Things in the economy are turning around and you can't win a war against the Taliban when you called them "Freedom Fighters" against the Soviets and now they are called terrorists. They are Afghan civilians and when John MCPain says the "Afghan people don't support them!" he's doesn't know button hooks from a bell free. Taliban are Afghan civilians!

    July 4, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  16. MD Rep

    As a Republican from Maryland very familiar with Michael Steele, he has got to go! This man is not the best the party has to offer. Someone more competent and less of a loose cannon needs to lead the Republicans into 2010 and 2012. Steele is a disaster.

    July 4, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  17. penny

    ""Boehner's ant comment leaves a lot of room for evaluating his brain. At this point his brain is the size of an ANT. Being ORANGE makes him STRANGE. He needs to focus on his tan and how to stop looking ORANGE. The GOP chairman Michael Steele needs to evaluate WHY IS HE THE CHAIRMAN OF THE GOP?. If I was him I would not have ever considerate the association of being linked to the GRAND OLD PARTY IGNORANCE" At this time those people are OLD BLUE HAIRS. Pres. Obama is a young president who has to clean up the problems that the GOP left"

    July 4, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  18. indyreader

    Every time Steele opens his mouth, I can't help but hear "Baby Elephant Walk" playing in the background. What I can't figure out is, who's playing the part of PT Barnum? Who gave Steele his clown outfit and put him in the center ring?

    Obama Derangement Syndrome is too real. All the Republicans are doing is whipping up the frenzy of anyone who wants to hear ANYthing bad said about Obama – regardless of how unrealistic, non-sensical, incoherent or counter-factual it is. This isn't what politics needs, people.

    July 4, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  19. Sherry

    Ha ha ha! When you can't carry your own bucket, dump it on the guy next to you! The Republican's and their spin off's can be such an entertaining bunch... one just has to pay attention to the details! Too funny but sooooo idiotic! Yes boyz & galz, we now have the internetS!!

    July 4, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  20. marxist dogs are out of control

    The God King Obama refused to supply the troops required by the military to WIN (I know that makes Obamists vomit) in Afghanistan.

    To say that Obama has done everything possible to support our military is a total and absolute lie.

    July 4, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  21. James Brooklyn N.Y.

    This is the ultimate example of the pot calling the kettle black.

    The Republican party. The gift that keeps on giving.

    I can't wait for Palin to chime in.

    July 4, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  22. Annie, Atlanta

    McCain slamming Steele. That is rich coming from a man who in a tantrum a couple of months ago said he was going to do nothing for the rest of the year. Like I said, rich. What are we paying this fool for? And to the good people of Arizona, what are you thinking? Of course, being from Georgia, I haven't got room to talk.

    Here's a little interesting tidbit from Maude Barlow that you will never see covered by any of the corporate owned media:

    "On the eve of this G-20 gathering, let’s look at a few facts. Fact, the world has divided into rich and poor as at no time in our history. The richest 2% own more than half the household wealth in the world. The richest 10% hold 85% of total global assets and the bottom half of humanity owns less than 1% of the wealth in the world. The three richest men in the world have more money than the poorest 48 countries."

    I'd like to see what Mr. McCain has to say about this, instead of attacking the GOP's token black man.

    July 4, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  23. marxist dogs are out of control

    The military asked for 50,000 troops. Obama gave 30,000. And he will not publicaly tell Pelosi to shut the hell up. By his silence he encourages the treasonous acts of many of his fellow Progressives in Congress. Mr. Obama has the blood of every American casualty in Afghanistan on his hands.

    July 4, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  24. Peter

    Sounds like McCain and Liz Cheney are jumping off the Steele ship before it sinks! I do think he has been the wrong leader for the RNC and if it were up to me...I'd appoint Liz..she'd be perfect.

    July 4, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  25. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    John McCain and Michael Steele both should immediately apologize to Al Qaeda and the Taliban for the "Chicago Style" shakedown we have been imposing on them since President Obama has been in office.

    July 4, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
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