July 4th, 2010
04:48 PM ET
8 years ago

Republicans line up on opposite sides over latest Steele controversy

Washington (CNN) - Republicans lined up on opposite sides Sunday over comments by the chairman of the Republican National Committee that the Afghanistan war launched by former President George W. Bush was "of (President Barack) Obama's choosing" and may be unwinnable.

Speaking from Afghanistan, GOP Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina lambasted Michael Steele for the comments, which McCain called "wildly inaccurate" and Graham characterized as "uninformed, unnecessary, unwise, untimely," while follow Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina said Steele should apologize to the military.

However, conservative GOP Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, in a statement to CNN, supported Steele and said the RNC chairman's characterization of the war was correct.

Updated: 4:48 p.m.

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Filed under: GOP • Michael Steele • RNC
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. johnrj08

    Ron Paul is a utopian libertarian and an idiot. The war in Afghanistan may not be winnable, but the idea that this is a war which President Obama "chose" is preposterous. This is a war that was chosen by Al Qaeda and, its host, the Taliban.

    July 4, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  2. Annie, Atlanta

    Michael Steele has been staying some pretty incredible things since taking over the RNC, and now they're noticing? Come on.

    We have 2 wars going on, our kids are dying (along with women and children in countries far away). We have a disfunctional Senate. We're on the verge of another Depression. Republicans are just saying no so they can ruin us so they can step in and save us. We gave over $8 Trillion to Wall Streeters (who rewarded themselves hansomely and get to write the new legislation), while we're losing our homes, jobs, health insurance coverage, and lives. BP killed the Gulf of Mexico. We may never see it recover.

    And this is what the Republicans are getting all worked up about? Seriously? That speaks volumes, if you ask me. Think about it.

    July 4, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  3. bennie new york

    This is part of a grand strategy by the GOP, and it's a damn smart one. The Democrats have dumbly stood by Obama on the issue of Afghanistan, and the GOP is now trying to cast itself against the war. It shouldn't be a hard sell to the GOP: once McCain and Graham realize opposing the war means opposing Obama, they'll be fine with opposing the war.

    July 4, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  4. joel palmer

    I didn't know Ron Paul was a republican; since when?

    July 4, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  5. maf

    The carnage will be spectacular as The Party of NO eats their own!!
    What could be more divisive? The GOP hell bent on dividing the country is now going to be clearly divided within their own ranks. Couldn't happen to a more out of touch group if it had been planned!!

    Ding, ding, ding round 1!!!

    Should be great fun to watch!!

    July 4, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. Barb

    Where has Steele been living for the past 9 years, under a ROCK??? His rant darn sure isn't helping the Republicans.

    July 4, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    These folks can line up on whatever side they want; we all know it's going to come down to what Rush Limbaugh (with input from Karl Rove) wants.

    July 4, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. Dan in Kansas

    The GOP remains firmly out if touch with both reality and it's constituents. It is time that the American people, regardless of party affiliation, demand more of it's representatives. Enough of party line talking points. They are meaningless and designed to further divide our nation in a time of crisis. The citizens of this great country need to demand action and answers to the difficult times we face not more of the same finger pointing, I didn't do it childish behavior. Bring us productive ideas not divisive criticism. Lead like your country depends on you not like your reelection does.

    July 4, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  9. Linda

    Notice that the ones that are criticizing Steele are not doing so because of his remarks about "Obama's choosing " but because Steele stated the war is unwinnable. In other words, he's criticized because in their minds he's not supporting the troops. And since he's not they believe he's being unpatriotic. Remember most republicans are pro LIFE and pro WAR. An oxynmoron but that's their logic.

    July 4, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  10. Sgt. Bill

    "The reason we came here is to secure America," Graham said..." Sounds like 'Nam era talk to me.

    July 4, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  11. A keen observer

    Steele is an idiot but I hope the republics keep his because he will help Democrats retain seats in the coming election.

    July 4, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  12. Albo58

    Stellar leadership is what the RNC lacks and, based on the Democrat's record of the last 2 years, it really wouldn't take much! Steele is a distraction and he has Biden-like tendencies so he should step aside at once!

    July 4, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  13. JonDie

    "However, conservative GOP Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, in a statement to CNN, supported Steele and said the RNC chairman's characterization of the war was correct."

    That's the Tea Party in a NUTshell.

    July 4, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  14. half as bad...

    gaffs from RNC chairman Steele are half as bad as the ones sliding off Joe Biden's tongue........................................................................!

    July 4, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  15. Get A Grip

    John McCain and Lindsey Graham just need to remove that (R) by their name and replace it with a (D).

    And as time goes on the more I am starting to like this Ron Paul of Texas.

    July 4, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  16. Dave

    Why are Republicans talking about this at all, is beyond me. Whether it is Obama's war or not, it is his "clever" strategy to announce withdrawal before the war strategy is even set up! With such an intelligent president (who understand what libraries are but alas not wars are) there is no need for the opposition to fight internally. Just focus on his high honorable high IQ know nothing president!

    July 4, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  17. Chipster

    Someone should ask Ron Paul to explain how Obama chose for President Bush to send troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. It's Obama's responsibility now to bring both wars to a conclusion and bring our troops home but Paul must have a very poor memory if he believes that Obama made that choice for Bush.

    The Taliban ruled Afghanistan with an iron fist and harbored the cowards who attacked us on 9/11. Bush had every reason to send troops to Afghanistan in pursuit. Shame on him for using the victims of 9/11 and that pursuit to divert our troops to Iraq for his own personal vendetta.

    Obama did not send troops anywhere before Jan 2009. He did not sign the TARP Bill in Oct 2008, nor did he sign the auto industry bail out in Dec 2008. Republicans can keep trying to rewrite history but it's evident that they are misrepresenting the facts.

    July 4, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  18. jass

    We are not there to win any war or rebuild any country. We attacked the two weakest country to simply presure Iran not to nuke attack Isreal or even US. we

    July 4, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  19. Marge

    It's hard to even think what Ron Paul would say nuts come in all sizes.

    July 4, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  20. Gil

    At least they aren't acting like the repuglican zombies they have become to vote no and no and no in straight party lines. Don't any of them think independently?

    July 4, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  21. Julianne

    Ah yes, dueling Republicans. Keep it up and show America your true color–hypocrite red.

    July 4, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  22. Bob of Lompoc

    RNC Chairman Steele and Congressman Barton of Texas, and now, pparently, Congresssman Ron Paul of Texas, have failed to learn a political truism concerning who was in office when the Afghanistan War began ("W" Bush): No whiskey before Noon!

    July 4, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  23. Illinoistom

    Arguing semantics over the politicization of the Afghanistan war is not helpful to the cause or the troops. That being said, if Steele had used the word escalation, rather than war, he would be correct in asserting that it belongs to Obama. This is analogous to the escalation in Viet Nam which turned many former supporters of the effort into critics. While Steele was awkward and used bad judgment in his phrasing, he was basically right in his assessment.

    July 4, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. j

    The Republicans are welcome to him. They deserve each other.

    July 4, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  25. Dennis

    I say let the Republicans line up in whatever line they want. Then let the American people with FACTS in hand look down the line and with the TRUTH test make an informed, intelligent decision on their own which line to vote out.

    Some simple research:

    a. Look up how much of our National Debt of 12 Trillion Dollars was incurred under Republican Presidents vs Democratic Presidents.

    b. Look a the rate of return in the stock markets under Republican Presidents vs Democratic Presidents.

    or if you are too lazy or ignorant you can just listen to Glenn Beck and parrot what he tells you to think. Unfortunately he only has his and his big money interest in mind to protect. He only needs you to support and to continue to finance him. Fortunately, we still live in a free society and can still vote, however, if they can't find enough stupid people to fall out and believe their lies, they WILL find a way to take your voting rights away.


    July 4, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |