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Gates: Obama and Clinton admitted opposition to Iraq surge was due to ’08 campaign

In his new book, former defense secretary Robert Gates says both President Obama and Hillary Clinton have admitted -- to varying degrees -- that they opposed the 2007 surge in Iraq because they faced each other in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary.

According to Bob Woodward's review, Gates writes the following:

“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.”

The exchange, which Gates says was "remarkable," didn't seem to color his opinion of Clinton too much.

He wrote earlier in the book that he "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 has much tougher words for Vice President Biden, whom he accuses of “poisoning the well” against military leadership.

"I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades,” Gates wrote of Biden, according to the New York Times.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.



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Sean Sullivan · January 7, 2014

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