Former Defense Secretary Takes Aim At Obama In New book

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates has written a memoir. The book, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, will be released next week. In it, Gates makes sharp and sometimes profane assessments of the Bush and Obama administrations.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And we expect to interview Robert Gates in the next few days. He was defense secretary for both Presidents Bush and Obama, and the memoir he's soon to publish is making news for his sharp assessments of two administrations. Gates describes a remarkable conversation he witnessed between President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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In it, Clinton admits it was political reasons that prompted her to oppose the troop surge in Iraq in 2007. At the time, she was running for president against Barack Obama, who had long opposed that war. Gates complains about the administration's, quote, "total focus on politics." He also contends that two vice presidents, Joe Biden and Dick Cheney, focused too much on politics at the expense of policy.

MONTAGNE: Robert Gates, a Republican, does praise President Obama at times. At one point in his memoir, he compares Obama's deliberate decision-making to that of Abraham Lincoln.

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