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. Ken

    It must be extremely upsetting for the Republicans that Steele gave such a very clear example of how they distort things and about how bold-faced their lies can be!

    July 4, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  2. Clint, Wa.

    I must be reaching the end of the line, getting close to meeting my maker, pushing up daisies, I agree with McCain, never thunk I'd see the day.

    July 4, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  3. Dent

    Cannot stand this guy and his party. Nothing but lies and revisionist history. They run the country into the freaking ditch, and leave the passengers to fend for themselves. Now they want the keys back again to take us for another ride.

    July 4, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. Dale

    Ooo all this Republican spin is making me dizzy....

    July 4, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. BillyBlanks

    I suppose the GOP no longer has any use for their token negro. I'm surprised he lasted as long as he did as RNC chairman.

    July 4, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. Jack Kegley

    Had Michael Steel phrased it a little differently, there would be no criticism today. Had he said: "Although this war was started by President Bush as a response to the attacks of September 11th, President Obama has chosen to implement a strategy of his own design, therefore making it very much his war today. As we all know from history, success in Afghanistan is difficult to achieve. While our troops may be the finest fighting men and women in the world, fighting an enemy that is indistinguishable from the existing population creates challenges for any president. Whether this is a winnable war must be viewed from that perspective and the commitment of the American and Afghan people" I don't either side would have disagreed with those comments.

    July 4, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  7. Buckeyefan

    Why did the Republican Party select Mr. Steele as their chairman? I was shocked. When I saw the convention I saw very few white people in the crowd. It seemed to me like this was a tactic to combat a Black President. Now we all see that this has failed and now you want to get rid of Mr. Steele. Many members of the republican party have left and joined the Tea Party.

    This party is in trouble.

    July 4, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  8. unshrub

    When has the republican party been concerned about the truth?

    July 4, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. Kim F.

    How would you like that packaged this time? In plastic wrap or butcher paper for that Republican Party of yours? 😀

    July 4, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. Paul Llewellyn

    Micheal Steele's comments are truly Orwellian.

    July 4, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. PA 4 Obama

    I definitely hope the republicans keep Michael Steele!

    July 4, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  12. Frederick L May SR

    Michael Steele should get his facts straight before he opens his mouth. When he was Lieutenant Governor of MD I thought he had left the state. I heard very little of him.

    July 4, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  13. cardog

    To all of you that have commented on how outragous Mr. Steele's comment about President Obama is, please continue to see beyond this comment and remember the other comments from other tea baggers/republicans when it comes time to vote.
    Everything that's been said by the party of "NO" has either been half truths, out and out lies, and worst of all no cooperation at all to better American lives.
    The Republicans are hanging their hats on the fact that there are no jobs and during a downturn like we are in, people always get angry and want to blame someone, anyone. That has been the republicans plan all along. Listen to what they say daily.
    The only, I repeat the only way to stop this nonsense being put out there day after day by the likes of Boehner, Steele, Paul, (Ilove oil companies) Barton, Bachmann is to get up off our butts and vote in November as well.

    July 4, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  14. B

    I am amazed that EVEN the GOP can tolerate this moron Steele and his comments concerning Afghanistan. The Republicans could go along way dumping both of these fools.

    July 4, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  15. Michael

    Steele is a tool of the extremist right; always has been. He is no different from the rest: so desperate now, and clueless, that all reason is out the window.

    July 4, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  16. JonDie

    And when someone like McCain (who himself has a limited command of the facts) criticizes you, you're really out of touch.

    July 4, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  17. William A. Schaedler

    I agree with Steele. The ridiculous war in Afghanistan is unwinnable. It's another Vietnam. You would think the U. S. would have learned from Vietnam, but no! On and on and on it goes. Tremendous expense. Wasting of lives. Obama, if he were smart would have ended it. Looks like he's not that smart.

    July 4, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. Dale

    Every day I am grateful we have an intelligent man as president. No, the world is not perfect, but at least I don't wake up wondering what foolish new war we will start today. Iraq and Vietnam, two huge wars were as far as I can tell completely unneeded and pointless. Afghanistan, at least there is a real connection there to 9-11. If we had focused on Afghanistan, maybe we could have gotten BinLaden and got the heck out by now. But no... we "took our eye off the ball" to quote Obama.

    July 4, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  19. Hawk in Texas

    Don't you just love the republican in fighting? let go on an destroy their party. it is obsolete anyway. no one wants them but the very rich and corporations. they have never ever been for the common people. the only way they know how to stay in power is to lie, cheat and steal. all republicans know that bush never won the presidency but they acted like he won with a land slide. since Obama was elected they have done everything the could to destroy this country.all of you on social sercuity listen, the republicans want to do away with it. and allways have. if you are not filthy rich they have no use for you.

    July 4, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  20. Dale

    No Jack, nobody would have disagreed with those comments if that is what Mr Steele had said. But that is not what Mr Steele said.

    July 4, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  21. DemiRepub

    Michael Steele was our answer to Obama. He was not qualifiied to lead the party, and they knew that. He has been the spokesperson for the party. He never spoke with his own voice. He only stated what he was told to say. Now that we have the momentum, we don't need him. It is a shame, but we never needed Michael Steele, so this may come back to bite us, if it stays in the media.

    July 4, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  22. Nadeem

    Why does the GOP hate America?

    Why does the GOP cheer for our enimies?

    Why do they hate poor people?

    Why do they want the president and by extension our country to fail?

    July 4, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  23. SuburbanBob

    Only a truly insane person could support the gop...

    July 4, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  24. thor

    Don't agree with the comments by Michel Steele but it was Obama that was going around calling the war in Afghanistan the"good war" and it is Obama that has sent nearly 60,000 more troops there since becomming president.He is the one that has put into policy to keep the troops there until at least july of 2011.Obama can not have it both ways.Either he brings our troops home now or he is responsible for keeping them there.Bush is out of the equation.

    July 4, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  25. Jilli

    Was Steele every really leading?

    The republican party is a mess – pandering to the far right fringe is bringing out the whack-job candidates – and those voters with any intellectual capacity are running from the gobp as fast as they can. If I was a republican, I surely wouldn't be counting my election wins just yet.

    July 4, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
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