MPR News asked the members of Minnesota's Congressional delegation and Governor Pawlenty for a reaction to President Obama's decision to accept General Stanely McChrystal's resignation as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan and replace him with General Petraeus. I'll post the statements as they come in.
DFL Sen. Al Franken:
"I fully support the President's decision. He clearly decided that General McChrystal could not continue in his position after what he did. And that's entirely appropriate. I have a lot of confidence in General Petraeus' leadership and I appreciate his willingness to take on the difficult task of carrying out our strategy in Afghanistan."
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann:
"We owe General McChrystal a deep debt of gratitude for his years of brave and faithful service to his country. Going forward, it's imperative that we keep the safety and security of our country at the forefront of our nation's priorities. I'm confident that once the Senate confirms the command of General David Petraeus, we will stay focused in our war against terrorism."
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison:
I support President Obama's decision to replace General McChrystal.
However, my primary concern remains the fate of our men and women in uniform serving in Afghanistan. Our main objective must be the safety and security of the United States, effectively fighting terrorism, and ensuring and the humanitarian and security needs of the people of Afghanistan.
I have long argued that in order to achieve peace and security in the region, we must have a civilian surge coupled with transitioning our troops out of combat missions and readying them for redeployment.
I continue to call on President Obama and General Petraeus to increase public diplomacy to ensure long term stability, and to bring our troops home from this near decade long conflict.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar:
"I support the President's decision. As the President noted, General McChrystal has served our country bravely and honorably, but the comments in the article crossed the line. General McChrystal was right to submit his resignation, and the President did the right thing in accepting it. I am pleased that General Petraeus has accepted this difficult assignment."
GOP Rep. John Kline:
"When I visited Afghanistan less than a month ago, I met with military leaders, civilian officials, and U.S. troops currently serving in the area. We are engaged in a critical fight against Islamist extremists, and our goal in Afghanistan remains the same - a stable country that denies the Taliban and al-Qaeda a safe haven from which to launch attacks against Afghanistan, Pakistan, or the U.S. and its allies.
"As a fellow veteran, I thank General McChrystal for his decades of decorated service and honor him for answering the call to serve in Afghanistan and around the world.
"Moving forward, I am confident General David Petraeus has proven his leadership in Iraq and is extremely well qualified for this job."
DFL Rep. Tim Walz:
Note: Walz discussed the situation before Obama's decision on Midday.
"I respect our commander-in-chief's decision, and I have full confidence in General Petraeus' ability to transition into his role smoothly and effectively. We all need to work together to ensure that our strategy is successful, and I will continue to ask the tough questions of the President and his team. Our focus now has to be making sure the brave men and women who are serving our country in harm's way have a clear mission, the support, and the leadership they need to get the job done."
DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar:
"As Commander and Chief of our armed forces the President must have complete confidence in the generals who report to him. I support President Obama's decision to appoint a general who can develop and implement a successful strategy in Afghanistan, without getting distracted by the politics and personalities of Washington DC."
GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen:
"Changing military commanders during a time of war is a decision that should never be taken lightly. And while the recent events that led to this decision are certainly regrettable, I have absolute confidence that General Petraeus is the right choice to lead our brave servicemen and women in Afghanistan.
The nomination of Gen. Petraeus will no doubt build on the good work that has already been done in the region."
A spokesman for Governor Pawlenty's PAC declined comment.
A spokeswoman for DFL Rep. Betty McCollum declined comment.
DFL Rep. Betty McCollum:
"I support President Obama's decision. General Petraeus is an extremely capable military leader. I have full confidence in his ability to execute the President's strategy in Afghanistan."
No Republicans mention support of the President's decision, or of the President. They are obviously working on instructions from their leadership. What does it say about the Republican Party when it's representatives are unable to gasp out support for the President of the United States on even such a fundamental executive decision? Are Republicans capable of participating cooperatively in any aspect of government? Was the "Country First" slogan of the Republican Convention in St Paul a meaningless prop?
Really Ralph? They are also not condemning the President's decision either and if the situation were reversed, you know full well the Democrats would still be the same way. EVERYONE supports Petraeus, so please get off your pedestal and stay honest.
@Jake, my comment stands entirely. The Republican Party has been on the President's case since hours after inauguration. Rush Limbaugh said it best, publicly "hoping" the President would fail. To the contrary, I do not "know full well that the Democrats would still be the same way" because that is merely the fictional crutch by which Republicans rationalize their own bad behavior. The strategy of continuous denigration of the sitting President puts Republican political interests ahead of the national interest. As a political ploy it's effective, so it continues. It makes a mockery of "Country First", but you already avoided addressing that point.
I wonder how many people have actually read the Rolling Stone article itself, and how many are reacting only the media coverage of the article. Almost all the discussion has been about the disparaging remarks McChrystal made about Obama, but 80% of the article was about how the mission in Afghanistan is failing.
Isn't the latter point more important? This says some depressing things about American politics' obsession with personalities over issues.