Hoyer hints support for Afghanistan is slipping

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday that Democrats have "significant" concerns about the direction of the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan, and hinted that party support for the conflict is eroding.

"I think there's a significant concern about Afghanistan," Hoyer said about his fellow Democrats in the House. "I think we all share that concern."

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The majority leader has been one of the most ardent supporters of President Barack Obama's handling of the war on terror and military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, but he noted things haven’t gone as smoothly as the party had hoped.

"I think that, clearly, the president enjoyed broad, bipartisan support for the plan that he proposed in dealing with the counterinsurgency, and to stabilizing Afghanistan and to then having a plan to phase out our involvement and turn that responsibility over to the Afghan government and the Afghan people," Hoyer said in a press conference Tuesday. "Clearly, as is usually the case, it hasn't gone as smoothly as I think we would have liked, or as was contemplated."

Hoyer said the war supplemental spending bill would be "subject to moving" as soon as it is "ready to go," which could be as early as this week, and affirmed his support for the spending levels Obama requested.

"I think the president's plan has had — relatively speaking — very significant success, relevant to the Bush administration," Hoyer said. "And that's good news."

A growing chorus of Democrats — many of whom supported Obama's Afghanistan plan in a March vote in the House — have begun to share the concerns of their liberal colleagues who have argued that the United States is playing against a stacked deck of political corruption and unwinnable fights against insurgent strongholds.

Hoyer confirmed that concern is spreading through the Democratic Caucus.

"Do you hear increasing discussion of it?  I think the answer is yes," he said.