Rich Lowry: 'Disappointed' in Gates for Obama, Hillary Revelations

Friday, 10 Jan 2014 04:30 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Rich Lowry, the editor of The National Review, said he is "a little disappointed" in former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates for spilling secrets about Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in a new memoir.

"I do find that it's somewhat distasteful and I always thought Bob Gates was really among our political elites. He served eight presidents so if anyone's a political elite, he is," Lowry told "The Steve Malzberg Show."

"I always thought he was the most old-school and the most stand-up of any of them, but here he is saying that he's on the verge of resigning multiple times because he's so appalled by various things but he doesn't quit.''

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Gates, in his new book, "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War," paraphrases Clinton as saying in a meeting that she opposed the surge of troops in Iraq because she would have to face then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in the Democratic primary.

Gates also paraphrases Obama at the same meeting as "vaguely" confirming that his opposition to the surge was also politically motivated. Gates called the admission "as surprising as it was dismaying."

"He just keeps notes for his memoir which he pushes out the door as quick as possible to maximize sales," Lowry said.

"So, apparently, no one in Washington does the old Cyrus Vance where you have a major policy disagreement, as a matter of principle, you resign, honorably. So I'm a little disappointed."

But Lowry added that "these are important things to know and it's not as though we didn't really know them, right? I mean who really thought Hillary's opposition to the surge was entirely a matter of a fine grained understanding of the dynamics of Anwar Provence?

"It was completely driven by trying to catch up to the left in Iowa and we always knew that President Obama was very conflicted about the Afghan War.

"But getting all of this confirmed by such a highly placed and such a credible source does qualify it all as bombshells."

Lowry said he doesn't expect Clinton to be too bruised over the revelation should she run for president on the Democratic ticket.

"It'll be a line in a debate, assuming that she wins the Democratic nomination, and it will play into the narrative about her, which is very true, that she's overly calculating," he said.

"It itself is not going to be a torpedo in her bow by any means."

Lowry, author of "Lincoln Unbound," also told Steve Malzberg he thought New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie "set the appropriate tone" when he apologized for the Bridge-gate scandal during a press conference Thursday.

"[He was] humbled most of the time, outraged, embarrassed, humiliated, he wasn't lawyered up, using weasel words. He didn't seem to leave himself any fancy escape hatches and he's probably telling the truth," Lowry said.

"It had the ring of sincerity and if he is not telling the truth … he's going to detonate sooner rather than later. So most people will consider it an augmentation of the Christie brand rather than his detraction of it."

But Lowry said there is a "secondary issue" to the scandal, in which Christie's top aides masterminded the traffic-clogging closure of lanes to the George Washington Bridge as political payback after the mayor of Fort Lee refused to endorse Christie's reelection.

"Why would he hire these king of people who are capable of this sort of thing, this vindictiveness and this dishonesty. That'll be a lingering issue," he said.

As well, there was "a little whininess" to Christie's apology and outrage over the betrayal of his staff, who he claims lied to him about their participation in the lane closings.

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