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Michael Steele must resign. He has lost all moral authority to lead the GOP,” Erickson said.

RNC spokesman Doug Heye said in a statement that Steele “clearly supports our troops but believes that success of the war effort in Afghanistan requires the ongoing support of the American people. The responsibility for building and maintaining that strategy falls squarely on the shoulders of the president.”

Democrats, who earlier in the week pounced when House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio compared Democrats’ efforts at Wall Street overhaul to using a nuclear weapon to deal with an anthill, were clearly in campaign mode ahead of November, when voters will pick 37 governors, 36 senators and the entire 435-member U.S. House. Every time a conservative figure questioned Steele, Democratic operatives highlighted the division to reporters.

Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse said it was “simply unconscionable that Michael Steele would undermine the morale of our troops when what they need is our support and encouragement. Michael Steele would do well to remember that we are not in Afghanistan by our own choosing, that we were attacked and that his words have consequences.”

Steele has been prone to gaffes that have enraged congressional Republicans. In the last year, he predicted the GOP won’t win House control this fall. He also drew GOP ire when he criticized fellow Republicans in a book that party leaders didn’t know he was writing until it was published. His GOP critics were irked further when he told them to “get a life” and “shut up.”

Earlier this year, his oversight of the RNC was called into question because of lavish spending, including money to entertain donors at a lesbian bondage club in Los Angeles. That incident led to the departure of a key Steele adviser, the party’s finance chief and the top committee staffer.