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. Kay

    FAILED! lmbo

    July 4, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  2. Annie, Atlanta

    "marxist dogs are out of control," please tell me what a win in Afghanistan looks like. There are less than 100 Al Qaeda in the country now. We went there after Al Qaeda. Looks like a win to me. So why do you propose we're still there, and what would you have us to to keep winning?

    July 4, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. mcneil

    Throughout its history Afghanistan has never lacked enemies who wanted to conquer it – But not one has ever succeeded. Russia was the last one to be defeated. The US will be the next one to be defeated. The Afghans can almost taste their victory, coming in 2012. In that sense Mr. Michael Steel is absolutely right – The Afghanistan war is unwinnable.

    July 4, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  4. Dewey, Cheathem and Howe

    Michael Steele was right in saying no army or any other country has been able to successfully take and hold Afghanistan in over a thousand years. It's funny that people don't want to hear the truth. The U.S. won't win in Afghanistan and it's time to stop waisting money on that war and put it to the betterment of this country. For FYI, I don't like nor do I support Steele, his neo-con buddies and those crazy tea-baggers, and I don't care for democrats none the less but I'm glad someone finally stood up and said what needed to said, "Afghanistan is not a winnable war"

    July 4, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  5. hobart

    Steele's problem is that he's a moderate at heart, speaking to a moderate CT audience. Unfortunately for the Party of Lincoln, it's been taken over by "my way or the highway" radical authoritarians who would turn on their own mothers for political gain. Unfortunately also, McCain was forced to move to the right by JD, and he's senile. Unfortunately, today's Party of Lincoln would banish Lincoln himself as a RINO.

    Why do Republicans so hate America, that they feel they have to cram a Nazi-esque brand of authoritarianism down everyone's throats?

    July 4, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  6. PHinMiami

    GOP depends on the short memories of their voter base. Do the thinking people of these United Stated need to remind them who catapulted us into war??? Those 'TeaPartiers' must have been asleep for the Bu$h debacle.

    July 4, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  7. Heywood

    Nice editing, CNN. Question's? What kind of grammar is that?

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

    Annie in Atlantie seems to have been getting her updates from Nancy Pelosi.

    A win is when there is a stable government in Afghanistan that does not allow radical Muslims (with my apologizes to the AG) to reform and attack the U.S. again.

    It is the blatant ignorance of folks like Annie in Atlantie that strike fear in most patriotic Americansw.

    July 4, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  9. Indy Jim

    I think Michael and Howard Dean should go on the next edition of Survivor together. Hard to believe he would make such stupid comments.

    Stop tying our troops hands behind their backs and lets fight this war or come home.

    July 4, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  10. marxist dogs are out of control

    mcneil – many have conquered and succeeded in Afghanistan. Go back to Ghengis Khan. You are yet another receipient of the Obamist kool aide.

    July 4, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  11. tcaros

    "Pdidly" Steele is started to alienate himself from his idiot buddies. That's what he get for talking that jive.

    July 4, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. mf57

    If he does his job, which is electing Republicans, he can say all the stupid things he wants. He has blown it in PA earlier this year. If he can't handlt 1 seat, how can he handle the other 434, plus senatorial elections? Too much money spent on parties and weekends, and not enough on campaigns.

    July 4, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. SteveB

    All the negativity around Steele all of a sudden from everyone just tells me the the agreed upon time to end the "We like black people. See, we made one our leader! Really, we like black people!!"-charade is very near.

    July 4, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  14. Sharon-NC

    That's the smartest thing John McCain has done since before right before he decided on Sarah Palin as his running mate. Steele (and Ron Paul) should both resign. This Republican wackiness in its leaders is not just at the national level. It's at the local level as well. Sad for Republicans.

    July 4, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  15. mk

    FINALLY! Someone speaks the truth.

    The only war we should have ever fought is in Afganistan, Iraq did nothing to us on 911, Bin Laden and his saudi friends did. Bush couldn't invade saudi arabia, his daddy is their kissing cousin (hand holding freak), so he went after the guy who tried to kill his "daddy", remember all you revisioninist's of history? I hate all involved in these wars and the coverups to the wars. Bush and Cheney are war criminals and belong in jail. President Obama is at least trying to clean up yet another of their messes, too bad american men and women have to die because of it.

    July 4, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  16. DC from NJ

    This is an interesting opinion from the man who picked Sarah ("Brainless") Palin for VP. Although I agree that Steele is incompetent, I don't need John McCain to tell me that.

    July 4, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. Bill

    The war is already over. We are now just propping up a corrupt, drug peddling dictator that only controls about 5 blocks in Kabul. Enough.

    Let's not finally bankrupt the United States in this place. It is not worth it.

    July 4, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  18. Mat Prior

    Michael Steele was chosen to be the leader of the Republican Party as a "BLACK FACE" to quell the anti black sentiment. Now he has served his purpose and they want him out of his post.

    July 4, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  19. Phil Muse

    Well, so much for the GOP's token Black! The wonder is, the party got 13 percent of the Black vote in 2008. I guess those voters won't make the same mistake again.

    July 4, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  20. Edwin

    @marxist dogs: maybe you should study history again. The Mongols did indeed conquer and decimate Afghanistan, but they did not control it long. They held it less than a hundred years, which is pretty short by the standards of the time.

    Afghanistan has been conquered and re-conquered over and over again. It is not easily held by any foreign or local authority.

    July 4, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  21. SJB

    Mr. Steele surely knows that independent thought and speaking one's mind is not tolerated, nor has it been for decades, in the republican party.
    On the other hand, we doubt if he lost much sleep after being "slammed" by McCain.

    July 4, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  22. JoeJack

    I guess these republicans are scheduled to attack one of their own so they all don't do it at one time. Wonder who schedules that so they make sure they keep stretching it out.

    Please people – if this is all that matters, than you're more brain dead than I previously thought. Get on with things – get on with turning this country around not having your petty membership only fights.

    July 4, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  23. Roger

    Steele is entitled to his opinion, whatever it is worth, but he certainly cannot change the facts. His gaffes continue and if he doesn't voluntarily resign he should be removed unilaterally. Sometimes, I wonder if the "Washington Influence" leads so many to being brain-dead. If Steele is the best the RNC can produce, then it is blowing a golden opportunity to remove the current crop of incompetents in D.C.

    July 4, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. Limbaugh is a liberal

    If a democrat calls a war unwinable it is 'treason' but if the head of the RNC calls it the same thing it is somehow a reasonable opinion?

    July 4, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  25. Peter E

    Has Steele said anything during his entire tenure that he didn't have to retract/make excuses for/explain away/apologize for within 24 hours? No? Didn't think so. He should have been thrown out within two weeks of him starting. He has done more damage to the republican party than all of South Carolina's scandals put together!

    July 4, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
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