Bill Daley on Robert Gates memoir: I never sensed a White House-Pentagon conflict
A former White House insider called into question Wednesday assessments made by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates
in a new memoir on Gates' time serving under President Obama.
In the book, Gates writes that Mr. Obama wanted out of the war in Afghanistan
and did not have confidence in his commanders - even questioning his own strategy. But former White House chief of staff Bill Daley told the co-hosts of "CBS This Morning" that's not what he saw.
"I saw a president who was very committed, obviously, to support the
troops, to support the policy of trying to decimate al Qaeda," he said.
Gates, who served under both Mr. Obama and President George W. Bush, often praises Mr. Obama in the book for his decision-making but describes a White House staff that micromanaged and was extremely controlling, sometimes extending that reach to higher-ups at the Pentagon.
Daley, who is now a CBS News contributor, said what he witnessed between members of the administration and the military was more of a healthy dialogue, one that the president welcomed.
"I never sensed, to be honest with you, in the 12 months that I was there, a conflict," he said.
Gates said there were strong disagreements and that that's natural under the circumstances.
"These are very difficult issues, and there's a lot of tension around the discussions on policy decisions and what's going on in theater," Gates said.
In the memoir, "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War," Gates saves some of his harshest criticism for Vice President Joe Biden. A
Washington Post article describes the feelings he expresses for the vice president
as "outright contempt."
Daley said that, while he respects Gates and supports his right to express his opinions, the publication of this memoir is poorly timed.
"This rush to do books by people who leave an administration while the
administration is ongoing, I think, is unfortunate," he said. "It's one
thing as historians look back on an administration, but in the middle of
it, when you're pursuing a war at the same time and one that is very
controversial with the American people and has been very difficult
on our military, I think it's just a disservice."
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