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Petraeus Pick Wins Approval on Capitol Hill

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Gen. David H. Petraeus. (AP Photo) AP

Congressional lawmakers on both sides of the aisle reacted positively to President Barack Obama's decision for a change in command in the Afghanistan war.

"I have great respect for General McChrystal and the job he's done in Afghanistan and elsewhere in service of our country, but I respect the decision of our Commander-in-Chief," said House minority leader John Boehner in a statement.

Most Republicans echoed that statement in a rare show of support for the president. Many said that while understandable, it's unfortunate that the respected General Stanley McChrystal had to resign after showing disrespect for the president in a Rolling Stone article.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said at a press conference this afternoon that the president "had no other choice" to successfully preserve the chain of command with civilian control over the military. "We lost a good general, but the president, in my view, had no other choice, because to keep him there would have blurred a line that served this country very well for a very long time."

The other area of rare agreement on Capitol Hill was praise for Mr. Obama's choice of Gen. David Petraeusto take over as the top commander in Afghanistan. Lawmakers have great respect for the general after he successfully led the "surge" in Iraq.

"General Petraeus is the best that we have," said House Armed Services Chairman Ike Skelton in a statement. "I have great confidence in his ability to bring about a successful outcome in Afghanistan. The Commander-in-Chief must have confidence in his commanders in the field. It is time to move on and return our focus to waging the war in Afghanistan."

60 Minutes: Stanley McChrystal

Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Carl Levin (R-Mich.), told CBS News Capitol Hill producer John Nolen that he hopes to begin confirmation hearings for Petraeus early next week.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who serve as the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, said that while the confirmation hearings will probably be the fastest in history, he still plans to push Petraeus on the president's July 2011 drawdown goal and wants assurance that the date could be moved based on conditions on the ground.

McCain also raised concerns about the reportedly strained relationship between Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) also praised the president's decision and promised to work with his colleagues to make sure Petraeus is swiftly confirmed.

More coverage:

McChrystal Relieved of Duty; Petraeus Tapped
Watch Obama's Statement
David Petraeus Brings Experience to the Job
What Happened in the Oval Office
In Afghanistan, a New General -- But An Old Strategy
Bob Schieffer and Bill Plante React to the Announcement
McChrystal Statement: I Resigned to See the Mission Succeed
McChrystal Situation Imperils War Funding Bill
Washington Unplugged: McChrystal Fallout Shakes Up Administration
Is McChrystal "Damaged Goods"?
Pictures: General McChrystal and President Obama
CBSNews.com Special Report: Afghanistan


Jill Jackson is a CBS News Capitol Hill Producer. You can read more of her posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow her on Twitter.
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