Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is stepping down in a little more than a month and appears quite willing to rate the eight presidents for whom he’s served.
He appeared on“60 Minutes,” Sunday and in a Web-only segment that didn’t make it to air, he’s asked by Katie Couric to briefly describe his bosses, beginning with Lyndon B. Johnson.
As you can see in the video clip above (or here), Gates says Johnson was the only one he didn’t know personally, Richard Nixon was the “strangest” president he worked for, Gerald Ford was “underrated,” Jimmy Carter “could not establish priorities,” Ronald Reagan was “a historic president” and “much more sophisticated in his view of the world” than he was given credit for.
George H.W. Bush’s “understanding of tactics” helped bring the Cold War to an end, according to Gates. George W. Bush was an “easy decisionmaker,” but Gates says he was in his administration towards the end when he wasn’t running for reelection. “He was prepared to put his case in the hands of history,” Gates says, meaning the White House was less political at that time.
As for his current boss, Gates calls him “very thoughtful, analytical and an easy decisionmaker.”
“He takes his time to get all the facts, and to do the analysis and to make sure he understands everything about a situation, but he doesn’t shrink from the really tough decisions,” Gates says.
Gates is set to retire June 30, and, as one of his aides recently told The Federal Eye, “that’s a hard deadline.”
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