GOP Chair Takes Flak as Petreaus Takes Command

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WASHINGTON - The president's new general is now on the ground in Afghanistan but there are still plenty of doubts for the war. Some of those doubts are causing a fallout within the GOP.

Now officially installed as the leader of military operations in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus' mission is still the same as the man he replaced: to turn things around and improve conditions on the ground.

Upon taking command, Petraeus warned that this is a tough fight and that it may get more intense before it gets better. But he also demonstrated resolve, saying we are in it to win.

"We must demonstrate to the people and to the Taliban that Afghan and ISAF forces are here to safeguard the Afghan people, and that we are in this to win," Petreaus told the troops over the holiday weekend. "That is our clear objective."

Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele is facing criticism from his colleagues after his recent comments on the Afghan war.  Get more analysis on Steele's comments both past and present here, with Regent University School of Government Dean Charles Dunn. 

His focus will be fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban and protecting the Afghan people so that the Afghan government can stand on its own.

In Washington, Republicans and Democrats unanimously stand behind Gen. Petraeus, unanimously confirming him in the Senate, 99-0, last week.

Leaders are hoping he can replicate the success in improving security there just like he did in Iraq in 2007. And they're giving him some leeway.

"I said to Gen. Petraeus today, 'Don't hesitate, please, to make the case to the commander in chief, to Congress, if you feel it's justified that you actually need more troops, more American troops, here in the short run so that we can win here," Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., said.

But not everyone is as optimistic. Republican Chairman Michael Steele is now lobbying to keep his job after he was caught on YouTube saying Afghanistan was "Obama's war" and is "unwinnable."

"For the chairman of the party to articulate that point of view, to advance that point of view is indefensible," Dan Senor, former Bush administration policy advisor, said.

"Mr. Steele is going to have to assess as to whether he can still lead the Republican Party," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said.

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John Jessup

John Jessup

CBN News Anchor

John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at