Rubio, McCain: Gates should have waited to write his book

Former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
Former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates should have waited to publish the memoir in which he harshly criticized President Obama's leadership in the war in Afghanistan, two top Republican senators said  Sunday.

"I would have waited, but as far as waiting until it's over in Afghanistan, I wouldn't have done that," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said on CNN's "State of the Union," though he was quick to praise the former defense secretary.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a potential 2016 presidential contender, made similar comments on CBS's "Face the Nation."

"My preference would be that people would refrain from writing these sorts of things until the president is out of office because I think it undermines the ability to conduct foreign policy," Rubio said.

But the revelations can't be ignored, he added. And they confirmed his "worst fears" about the administration's approach to foreign policy.

In his book, Gates leveled serious charges against the president, writing that Obama was "skeptical if not outright convinced" that the plans for winding down the war in Afghanistan would fail.

Niraj Chokshi reports for GovBeat, The Post's state and local policy blog.
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