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Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who has come under fire for his comments late last week seemingly opposing the war in Afghanistan, is actually attracting praise from one Republican: Rep. Ron Paul, the renegade GOPer from Texas who has long opposed interventionist foreign policy.

"I would like to congratulate Michael Steele for his leadership on one of the most important issues of today. He is absolutely right: Afghanistan is now Obama's war," Paul said in a statement over the weekend. "During the 2008 campaign, Obama was out in front in insisting that more troops be sent to Afghanistan. Obama called for expanding the war even as he pretended to be a peace candidate."

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Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) called for the resignation of Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele over the weekend, in the wake of Steele's comments criticizing the Afghanistan war.

"Frankly, I find Steele's remarks totally unacceptable," said Cole, a former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, in a statement on Saturday. "He should apologize and resign. He undercut American forces fighting in the field, politicized further a war that two presidents of different parties have deemed in the national interest and embarrassed the party he purports to lead. It is time for him to go -- quickly."

This came after comments by Steele late last week, in which he said: "Keep in mind again, federal candidates, this was a war of Obama's choosing. This is not something the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in." He quickly backed away from his denunciation of the war itself, while sticking to criticism of Obama.

Petraeus: We Must Demonstrate That 'We Are In This To Win' Gen. David Petraeus formally took command of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan on Sunday. "We are engaged in a contest of wills," said Petraeus, who also added: "In answer, we must demonstrate to the people and to the Taliban that Afghan and international forces are here to safeguard the Afghan people, and that we are in this to win."

Biden To Iraqi Leaders: 'My Plea To You Is Finish What You Started' Speaking in Baghdad, Vice President Joe Biden urged Iraqi leaders to end their political deadlock. "You should not, and I'm sure you will not, let any state -- from the United States to any state in the region -- dictate what will become of you," said Biden. "So my plea to you is finish what you started through legitimate representative government that meets the needs and aspirations of all Iraqi people."

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If Michael Steele still has a job by the end of the week, he'll ironically have some of his toughest critics to thank. On Sunday, two of the GOP's most hawkish members stopped short of demanding Steele's resignation, after video footage surfaced late last week of the embattled RNC Chairman telling several Republican funders that America will likely lose the war in Afghanistan, and blaming President Obama for starting it.

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What has gotten into House Minority Leader John Boehner lately? First he sticks his foot in his mouth about BP's liability for the Gulf Coast oil spill and then he hand-delivered the Democrats a campaign ad by comparing the economy to an "ant."

For the outside, it didn't seem like a good week for Boehner (R-OH), as he first blundered through a Pittsburgh newspaper interview by belittling economic woes and touching the third rail of American politics by proposing the Social Security retirement age be raised. By midweek a top Republican on national cable was calling him lazy. But to hear the Republicans tell it, things are all going according to plan. If that is just a cover-up for stepping in it, Boehner might have RNC Chariman Michael Steele to thank for capturing the Democrats' attention in an even bigger dustup.

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McCain: 'Mr. Steele Is Going To Have To Assess As To Whether He Can Still Lead The Republican Party' Appearing on This Week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) responded strongly to RNC Chairman Michael Steele's criticism of the war in Afghanistan -- even seeming to say that Steele should consider resigning. "I think those statements are wildly inaccurate, and there's no excuse for them. Chairman Steele sent me an e-mail saying that he was -- his remarks were misconstrued," said McCain. "Look, I'm a Ronald Reagan Republican. I believe we have to win here. I believe in freedom. But the fact is that I think that Mr. Steele is going to have to assess as to whether he can still lead the Republican Party as chairman of the Republican National Committee and make an appropriate decision."

Lieberman: Petraeus Should Changes Rules Of Engagement In Afghanistan Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) called upon Gen. David Petraeus to change the military's rules of engagement in Afghanistan, which are currently designed to minimize civilian casualties by prohibiting troops from shooting unless they are fired at or from firing explosives at targets that are near civilians. "Ultimately, we've got to be concerned about the safety of our American troops here," said Lieberman, also adding that he has heard stories about troops having to wait too long to get air support when under fire. "We can't let that happen."

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Obama: GOP Senators 'Using Their Power To Hold This Relief Hostage' In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama announced the funding of two solar energy companies by the Department of Energy, with nearly $2 billion. He also attacked Republican leaders for blocking his economic relief proposals.

"In the short term, we're fighting to speed up this recovery and keep the economy growing by all means possible. That means extending unemployment insurance for workers who lost their job. That means getting small businesses the loans they need to keep their doors open and hire new workers. And that means sending relief to states so they don't have to lay off thousands of teachers and firefighters and police officers," said Obama. "Still, at a time when millions of Americans feel a deep sense of urgency in their own lives, Republican leaders in Washington just don't get it. While a majority of Senators support taking these steps to help the American people, some are playing the same old Washington games and using their power to hold this relief hostage - a move that only ends up holding back our recovery. It doesn't make sense."

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Embattled RNC chairman Michael Steele may well have been saved by the calendar. On any other day, a leaked video showing him telling funders that Afghanistan is a hopeless war, launched not by George W. Bush but by President Obama could easily have cost him his job. As luck would have it, though, the footage surfaced on a Friday before a holiday weekend with many of Washington's biggest newsmakers out of town or unavailable for comment. But with Republicans and conservative operatives calling for his head, Steele must be wondering whether he'll survive beyond the long weekend.

The news broke unexpectedly this morning. "[T]his was a war of Obama's choosing," Steele was heard saying. "This is not something the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in."

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