Bob Woodward: White House in 'Unfortunate Bubble' of Isolation

Image: Bob Woodward: White House in 'Unfortunate Bubble' of Isolation

Wednesday, 04 Jun 2014 07:52 AM

By Greg Richter

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The Obama White House doesn't seek advice from anyone when it makes controversial moves such as exchanging five terrorists for a U.S. soldier, says The Washington Post's Bob Woodward, and that go-it-alone attitude often comes back to bite the administration.

"You see that there's that unfortunate bubble in the White House where they are too often isolated on something like this," Woodward said Tuesday on Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor."

Woodward, who served in the U.S. Navy, says he finds it hard to criticize Obama's actions to free Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl on Saturday "except from a management point of view."

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Obama didn't intend to do something dumb, Woodward said. He just wanted to do the humanitarian thing and get Bergdahl released, "and then they failed to manage it."

Even Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, an Obama ally, complained that she, as head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, received no prior notice of the swap.

"They should sit down. They should sound people out. They should talk to [Feinstein]. They should talk to Republicans," Woodward said. "It's a well-known fact that John McCain was a POW for years," and Obama could have gotten his advice.

"No one sits and thinks it through," he said.

Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer disagreed, telling O'Reilly that the move wasn't a mere management problem.

"This is a problem that's intrinsic with hostage swaps," he said. He acknowledged that the trade was the right thing to do even if it did go against America's traditional stance of not negotiating with terrorists.

The bad guys always win in such deals, he said.

"You name me one hostage exchange in which the West released hostages and ended up at the upper end of the deal," Krauthammer said. "The reason is, we put a premium on individual human lives the way the other guys don't."

O'Reilly brought up National Security Adviser Susan Rice's appearance on the Sunday talk shows in which she said Bergdahl had served his country with honor. Bergdahl has since come under fire from fellow soldiers who say he abandoned his post and caused six of his comrades to lose their lives looking for him.

Noting that it was also Rice, as U.N. ambassador, who appeared on all five Sunday talk shows to blame the 2012 Benghazi attack on a YouTube video, O'Reilly said, "It's almost like she's flipping everybody off."

"I think she ought to stay home Sunday mornings and let other people speak," Krauthammer said.

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