'This Week' Transcript: McCain

I think many Americans and politicians would be hard-pressed right now to -- to know exactly and to explain, what are we doing in Afghanistan? I know obviously we invaded Afghanistan after 9/11. Obviously, we didn't want the Taliban to be supporting Al Qaida and other terrorist groups.

But at the same time, what are we doing right now in Afghanistan? I don't think that's very clear, and I think that's -- that's clearly setting up other questions.

TAPPER: Paul, the spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, Brad Woodhouse, made a comment that aroused the ire of some liberal bloggers. Woodhouse said about Steele's comments, "The American people will be interested to hear that the leader of the Republican Party thinks recent events related to the war are comical and that he's betting against our troops and rooting for failure in Afghanistan. It's simply unconscionable that Michael Steele would undermine the morale of our troops when what they need is our support and encouragement."

Liberal writers such as Greg Sargent at the Washington Post, Glenn Greenwald at Salon have -- have criticized that, saying that the DNC is using Karl Rove-like tactics.

KRUGMAN: Yes, and this was wrong. I mean, there's an understandable frustration among Democrats with the hypocrisy, right? All during the Bush years, any criticism of Bush's war policy was unpatriotic, and now the Republicans are happy to criticize the war policy of -- of President Obama.

But the way you -- you deal with that is by condemning the hypocrisy, not by turning into the Bush people, not by going back to it. So this was a -- this was a bad misstep. It was a cheap shot, when what you really needed was to talk about it seriously.

TAPPER: Al, I wonder if Chairman Steele is an outlier or if he is giving voice to a concern that a lot of Republicans legitimately feel about this war, which is now America's longest war?

HUNT: Yes, Jake, I think that's a good question. First of all, I think Michael Steele -- I wonder if he's a Democratic mole. If he had to resign every time he said something silly, he'd be gone about 15 times by now.

But I do think there's a larger point here, and that is that a senior member of the House told me, if there had been a private vote on that supplemental bill for Afghan funding, it would have lost by a decisive majority. Many Democrats and more Republicans than you think -- there's tremendous anxiety. Nobody thinks this war is going well right now. No one sees the light, if you will, at the end of the tunnel.

So I think even though Michael Steele is not a very good or very articulate or very credible spokesman for much, if anything, I do think that those reflected that -- that anxiety.

TAPPER: Cynthia, you once called -- and let me underline -- you once called Michael Steele an affirmative action hire gone bad. What's your take on this?

TUCKER: Well, Michael Steele is a self-aggrandizing gaffe-prone incompetent who would have been fired a long time ago were he not black. Of course, the irony is that he never would have been voted in as chairman of the Republican Party were he not black.

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