Tags: Barack Obama | Leon Panetta | Worthy Fights | Obama | Syria

Leon Panetta: Loyalty to Obama Reason for Castigating Book

Image: Leon Panetta: Loyalty to Obama Reason for Castigating Book
Former US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. (Frederic J.Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 10 Oct 2014 08:37 AM

While making the political talk show rounds to discuss his book "Worthy Fights," former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is trying to recast his biting criticism of President Barack Obama's faltering leadership style as constructive criticism intended to spawn debate to help Obama succeed, Fox News analyst Howard Kurtz writes.

"It's exactly because I am very loyal to this president and because I want him to succeed that I think it's important to raise these issues now," Panetta told CBS News' Charlie Rose. "So that hopefully in 2½ years, you know, we can make sure that he really does have the kind of legacy that I think he deserves as president."

In the book, Panetta offers a host of critical assessments of Obama's "hesitation and half-steps," such as failing to act against Syria after warning that the use of chemical weapons would constitute a "red line." The lack of action was a "blow to American credibility," Panetta said.

While it's no surprise that Republicans would seize the opportunity to criticize the president, Democrats are upset with him too, according to the National Journal's Ron Fournier, who writes that high-ranking Democrats call him regularly to express their outrage.

"A senator. A House member. A former presidential campaign manager. An adviser to President Obama. All Democrats, these officials have made it a habit to call or email me almost every week of Obama's second term to share their concerns about the course of his presidency."

The Washington Post's Dan Balz wrote that Panetta criticizes Obama's "presidential decisions — or non-decisions — and offers overall a damning portrait of Obama's leadership style."

According to Kurtz, whose Media Buzz column headline reads "The Panetta Phenomenon: Why a turncoat Pentagon chief is scoring with anti-Obama book," the book allows Democrats the chance to criticize the president by passing the buck to Panetta.

"As for the disillusioned left, many of its members have come to the same conclusion about the president [as Panetta]," Kurtz writes. "But it's still not popular for liberal commentators to say so. So they have the protective cloak of quoting someone else, namely Panetta.

"I didn't see a lot of Obama defenders hitting Panetta on MSNBC; instead, the network kept replaying Andrea Mitchell's interview."

Panetta recently defended his book to PBS' Judy Woodruff, explaining that he thinks Obama is a "strong leader" but "that doesn't mean that we shouldn't talk or disagree about certain elements of the leadership."

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While making the political talk show rounds to discuss his book "Worthy Fights," former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is trying to recast his biting criticism of President Obama's leadership style as constructive criticism.
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2014-37-10
Friday, 10 Oct 2014 08:37 AM
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