Robert Gates: Obama White House ‘offended’ Hillary Clinton
By: Katie Glueck
January 7, 2014 05:37 PM EST
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saw the Obama administration as deeply “controlling” on national security issues, Defense Secretary Bob Gates wrote in an essay published Tuesday and adapted from his forthcoming book.
“The controlling nature of the Obama White House, and its determination to take credit for every good thing that happened while giving none to the career folks in the trenches who had actually done the work, offended Secretary Clinton as much as it did me,” Gates writes in the piece published in The Wall Street Journal.
His new book, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War,” is set for publication on Jan. 14.
“The President deeply appreciates Bob Gates’ service as Secretary of Defense, and his lifetime of service to our country,” a White House statement reads. It continues, “As has always been the case, the President welcomes differences of view among his national security team, which broaden his options and enhance our policies.”
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According to an early writeup of the book by Bob Woodward of The Washington Post, Gates at times writes reverently about Clinton, who is expected to decide later this year whether to pursue a presidential bid.
“I found her smart, idealistic but pragmatic, tough-minded, indefatigable, funny, a very valuable colleague, and a superb representative of the United States all over the world,” Gates wrote.
At another point, Gates writes that both Clinton and President Barack Obama opposed the troop surge in Iraq out of concerns that it would negatively affect their 2008 presidential candidacies.
“Hillary told the president that her opposition to the  surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary,” writes Gates in his forthcoming memoir, according to the Woodward excerpt. “… The president conceded vaguely that opposition to the Iraq surge had been political. To hear the two of them making these admissions, and in front of me, was as surprising as it was dismaying.”
The White House took exception to Gates’ descriptions.
“It’s well-known that as a matter of principle and sound policy, President Obama opposed going to war in the first place, opposed the surge of forces, and then ended the war in Iraq as president,” a White House official wrote in an email. “Any suggestion to the contrary is simply wrong.”
While as a senator Clinton voted for military action in Iraq in 2003, during the 2008 primary she took a more dovish approach amid fierce criticism of the war from the left.
A spokesman for Clinton would not respond to POLITICO’s requests for comment.
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