Woodward: Obama Wrestled with Military Leaders

Longtime Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Scheiffer Thursday his book "Obama's Wars" is designed to be a "window into the way President Obama's mind works."

The heart of Woodward's newest book is how Mr. Obama came to decision to send additional troops to Afghanistan while also setting a deadline for pulling out, which wasn't fully supported by military leadership.

"It covers 18 months in detail," Woodward said. "You see that he is in a wrestling match with the military. The military wants 40,000 [troops] and they want kind of an open-ended deal. He lays down the law and says no, I'm not going to do that."

"There are electric moments described here in the situation room," Woodward said of the book.

Since "Obama's Wars" was released, Woodward says two schools of thought about the president's decision have emerged. "Some people think that the military rolled Obama by getting 30,000, which is almost what they requested," Woodward said. "Others say no, he slapped the military down."

In conflict with his Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, Mr. Obama turned to former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

"Powell said, Mr. President, you are the commander-in-chief. Just because the military in unanimous doesn't mean they're right. There is one commander-in-chief. There are other generals, but only one commander-in-chief. In other words, do what you think is best," Woodward said.

"Washington Unplugged," CBSNews.com's exclusive daily politics Webshow, appears live on CBSNews.com each weekday at 2 p.m. ET. Click here to check out previous episodes.


Christine Delargy is an associate producer for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. For more of Washington Unplugged, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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