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Obama: I'll Decide on Firing McChrystal After Meeting

Updated 7:15 p.m. ET

President Obama said late Tuesday afternoon that he will decide on whether or not to fire the top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, following a meeting between the two men in Washington tomorrow.

Mr. Obama summoned McChrystal to Washington to address derogatory comments made by the general and his staff about members of the administration in an incendiary magazine article made public yesterday.

Speaking to reporters following a cabinet meeting, the president said McChrystal showed "poor judgment" in connection with the Rolling Stone article in which the general expresses concerns about President Obama, appears to mock Vice President Joe Biden and is described by an aide as seeing Richard C. Holbrooke, Obama's senior envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, as a "wounded animal."

The president said Defense Secretary Robert Gates will also meet with McChrystal tomorrow.

Addressing a shouted question about whether he will fire the architect of his Afghan war strategy, Mr. Obama said McChrystal "showed poor judgment, but I also want to make sure that I talk to him directly before I make any final decisions."

He also stressed that his decision on McChrystal "or any other aspect of afghan policy" will be based on making sure "we have a strategy that justifies the enormous courage and sacrifice" of the members of the military fighting the war.

CBS News has confirmed that McChrystal has offered to submit a letter of resignation to Mr. Obama. As a military man, McChrystal would pro forma give his boss the choice of accepting or declining his resignation.

Earlier in the day, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs made clear that the White House was frustrated with the general, saying "all options are on the table" with respect to McChrystal's future.

Gibbs said Mr. Obama was "angry" about the comments in the article and that McChrystal made an "enormous mistake in judgment."

The press secretary added that "the magnitude and greatness of the mistake here are profound" and amounted to "distractions" to the war effort.

At the meeting tomorrow, according to Gibbs, McChrystal will be asked to tell the president and top officials, many of whom came under criticism from the general and his aides in the story, "what in the world he was thinking."

Top House Democrat David Obey has called for the "dangerous" McChrystal to be removed, while Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), and Lindsey Graham have called McChrystal's comments "inappropriate"and said the president should make a decision about his future.

MORE COVERAGE:

Will McChrystal Be Fired? White House Says "All Options Are on the Table"
McChrystal Ordered to W.H. to Explain Critique
Top Democrat David Obey Calls for "Dangerous" McChrystal to be Relieved of Command
McChrystal, Staff Disparage Team Obama
Washington Unplugged: Fallout From General McChrystal Comments
Ambinder: The McChrystal Fallout
General McChrystal Clearly in Four-Star Trouble
Gates: McChrystal Made a "Significant Mistake"
Hamid Karzai Backs McChrystal amid Uproar
McCain, Lieberman, Graham: McChrystal Comments Inappropriate
McChrystal Apologizes for Critical Remarks
Pictures: General McChrystal and President Obama
CBSNews.com Special Report: Afghanistan

Brian Montopoli

Brian Montopoli is the national reporter and political analyst for CBSNews.com.

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