'This Week' Transcript: McCain

Let's remember how the party wound up with Michael Steele. In November 2008, the party was devastated that the Democrats had elected the nation's first black president, while the Republican Party was stuck with being seen as largely the party of aging white people, with good reason, a party that was hostile to people of color, especially blacks and Latinos.

So the party needed a new face, preferably a face of color, and they didn't have very many officials to choose from, so they came up with Michael Steele. And it is very ironic, since the Republicans have been so critical of affirmative action, to watch them stuck with their affirmative action hire that they dare not get rid of, because that would generate even more controversy.

TAPPER: All right. Dan...

SENOR: And I just want to come back to something Al said. I mean, you may be right that behind closed doors many Republicans have great apprehension about Afghanistan. What is, I think, admirable is that despite they have that -- despite that they have that apprehension and despite there -- that there is political liability in sticking with this war for many of these members of Congress, that they're still standing with President Obama and trying to unite the country, actually, behind his war strategy. That's admirable.

And -- and the reason Steele should resign is because he has no business as being the chairman of the party taking on a position that actually in direct contradiction to that.

HUNT: Well, that's one way to look at it. The other way to look at it is, it's Obama's war, so if it goes badly, those Republicans are going to get stuck with it. I think -- I think a lot of it has to do with that kind of calculation, Dan. I don't -- I don't think a lot of them are doing it in order to help Barack Obama.

SENOR: No, they're not doing it to help Barack Obama. I think they're doing it to -- because they support the war strategy, they support our engagement in Afghanistan, they support our troops, and I think the country should be united.

This is a long -- I mean, this idea of opposition political parties trying to hang a war on the president in power goes way back. Tom DeLay famously called the Balkans war Clinton's war. You can -- Grenada was Reagan's war. Panama was Bush, Sr.'s, war. I mean, this goes way back, opposition parties sort of capitalizing on a neo-isolationist politics.

This is unique. This is -- this is an extremely sensitive moment on a war that people are tiring of. And Republicans, despite their fierce criticism of the Obama agenda on a range of other fronts, are actually standing with the president on this. And for the chairman of the party to be -- to be turning that upside down, I think, is -- is dangerous.

TAPPER: And just before we go to break, I want to underline that what -- we're unanimous in Steele's assertion that this was a war of Obama's choosing is just crazy talk.

SENOR: It's actually factually incorrect.

TUCKER: Absolutely.

TAPPER: It couldn't be wrong -- it couldn't -- it's wrong in about 15 ways.

SENOR: Right. Right.

TAPPER: All right, but we'll be back with more of the roundtable. Friday's dismal jobs report, is the jobless recovery turning into a double-dip recession? What will that mean for the midterms? Plus, immigration reform and the Elena Kagan hearings. And later, the Sunday funnies.


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