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Gates on Reid: ‘I Do Denigrate Him,’ But ‘I’ve Tried to Critically Appraise’ People in Washington

Also defends Hillary: "I never once heard her mention domestic politics as a factor in her recommendations" on foreign policy.

by
Nicholas Ballasy

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January 21, 2014 - 11:30 am
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WASHINGTON — Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates shot back at Harry Reid’s criticism of his new book Duty on Thursday evening in Washington.

“I’m surprised he would in effect denigrate everybody he came in contact with in an effort to make a buck,” Reid reportedly said.

“He denigrates everybody, everyone, Secretary (of State Hillary Rodham) Clinton, the president, (Vice President) Joe Biden, me.”

Reid said he has not discussed Gates’ book with President Obama but he spoke with Biden and “we just lamented how disappointed we were.”

“It’s obvious it’s to sell a book,” Reid added.

“Well, first of all, you know, it’s common practice on the Hill to vote on the bills you haven’t read,” Gates said to laughter from the audience at Politico’s Cocktails event at the Mayflower Hotel on Thursday.

“It’s perfectly clear that Senator Reid has not read the book. He will find that I do denigrate him but I think he will find that in fact I have a lot of positive things to say about virtually everybody I wrote about – but as with myself in the book, I’ve tried to critically appraise others. I called attention to mistakes that I believe I made as secretary of Defense – things I could have done better and I think I have positive things to say about virtually everybody else,” Gates also said.

The former secretary of Defense under presidents George W. Bush and Obama said he has decided to donate most of the income from his book to charity.

“I’ve already decided that a substantial part of whatever income might come from this book I will give away, including to organizations dealing with wounded warriors,” he said.

Politico reporter Mike Allen asked Gates to respond to critics who argue that the timing of his book is wrong since his former boss is still in office and the war in Afghanistan is not over.

Gates, who left the Pentagon in July 2011, said he was loyal to Obama by not taking any of his concerns public during his time in the administration.

“Until we got to the Arab Spring and Egypt and Libya, I supported every single decision the president made on national security and foreign policy including the outreach to Iran, the outreach to Russia, obviously all of his decisions on Afghanistan,” Gates said.

Allen also asked Gates why he thinks the American public does not hear Obama speak much about the war in Afghanistan.

In response, Gates said Obama should explain to the troops why success in Afghanistan is important and why their cause is just and noble.

“I once told Rahm [Emanuel] – I said I don’t object to the president’s speeches about exit strategies but the troops need to hear the commander in chief tell them why he is sending them there and why their sacrifice is worthwhile,” Gates said.

Gates, the former director of intelligence under George H. W. Bush, also addressed his experience serving with Clinton.

“In the entire two and a half years that I worked with Hillary as secretary of State when I was secretary of Defense, I never once heard her mention domestic politics as a factor in her recommendations or in her thinking about what we should do in foreign policy,” he told the audience.

“It really underscored for me the difference between somebody campaigning as a senator and somebody who has been given national security responsibilities and in a way it paralleled the president.”

At the end of the day, Obama set politics aside on national security issues and did what he thought was best for the country, Gates added.

Gates wrote in his book, though, “Hillary told the president that her opposition to the [2007] surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary.  . . . 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.”

Nicholas Ballasy is a video journalist based in Washington, D.C. His interviews with prominent politicians and celebrities have been featured by media outlets including Fox News, NBC News, ABC News, Access Hollywood, Inside Edition, the Washington Post. Follow his work at www.nickballasy.com.

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Top Rated Comments   
Gates's book has given valuable intel to those who view POTUS as anti-American. See http://clarespark.com/2012/04/06/diagnosing-potus/. Meanwhile, NPR continues to support the Green movement probably as a support to man-made global climate change. They will never cover our disastrous foreign policy.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Has anyone read the last paragraph? That Clinton's and Obama's opposition to the Iraqi war was for political reasons? Remember that the press managed, while denying it, to make most of the entire country believe something no informed person would - that Bust had lied (intentionally) about WMD's.

These people have severely damaged the long-term security of the US, by awakening the isolationist beast, and simply to get elected.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
If Bob Gates is defending Hillary Clinton on any level, I humbly submit that he is a total wimp.

Not far removed from the senators and representatives who bowed down to her when she finally deigned to lie about Benghazi to them, January 23, 2013.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (11)
All Comments   (11)
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Gates allowed himself to be used as a pawn by an Unconstitutional government, he is a traitor and no amount of white washing and sugar coating can change that. He is the pot calling the kettle black.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
I very much doubt that it is even possible to denigrate Harry Reid because the lowest things you can think of him are in all likelihood true. He is a crooked leftist scumbag and that is better than he really is so is no denigrating!
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bob Gates is a good man-too bad he didn't punch Reid in his scummy face when Reid said "the war is lost"
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gates's book has given valuable intel to those who view POTUS as anti-American. See http://clarespark.com/2012/04/06/diagnosing-potus/. Meanwhile, NPR continues to support the Green movement probably as a support to man-made global climate change. They will never cover our disastrous foreign policy.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gates must be worried that he might become one of the Clinton's "victims." What a display of tap-dancing.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Has anyone read the last paragraph? That Clinton's and Obama's opposition to the Iraqi war was for political reasons? Remember that the press managed, while denying it, to make most of the entire country believe something no informed person would - that Bust had lied (intentionally) about WMD's.

These people have severely damaged the long-term security of the US, by awakening the isolationist beast, and simply to get elected.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
If Bob Gates is defending Hillary Clinton on any level, I humbly submit that he is a total wimp.

Not far removed from the senators and representatives who bowed down to her when she finally deigned to lie about Benghazi to them, January 23, 2013.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Here's a hint for you Bob. Hillary didn't have to say politics influenced her decisions. It just did and everybody knows it. And if she gets elected she's not going to give you a job.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Speaking of Hillary, since Gates has her back,

Clinton-Christie: 46-38
Clinton-Rand: 49-39
Clinton-Cruz: 50-35
Clinton-Jeb: 49-38

http://www.quinnipiac.edu/institutes-and-centers/polling-institute/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=1998

Christie used to look like he had a chance. But now? Ruh roh...
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Polls 2 and a half years out are really relevant. Nice try, fake Marine.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Polls can be so manipulated I don't know a single person who has told me they would vote for this souless automatron, in your dreams she gets elected.
What difference does it make indeed.
We are going to find the one who made that video.
I think I'm, going to be sick
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
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