Tags: Barack Obama | Hillary Clinton | MidPoint | panetta | memoir | hillary | clinton

NY Times: Panetta Book Aims to Hurt Obama, Help Hillary

By    |   Saturday, 11 October 2014 02:46 PM

Former CIA Director Leon Panetta is the latest memoir writer to take it easy on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, while slamming second-term President Barack Obama, The New York Times reports.

Panetta and Clinton have had a complicated relationship since the years when he served as her husband's budget secretary while she was the first lady, the Times says.

When Clinton became Obama's secretary of state and Panetta was running the CIA, though, they formed an alliance with then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Still, even then their relationship was strained, the newspaper notes.

For example, Panetta and Clinton had a fierce argument over who had the ultimate authority over drone strikes in Pakistan, and while Clinton referred to the argument in her own memoir, "Hard Choices," Panetta does not mention it in his book, "Worthy Fights."

Panetta's memoir, though, often criticizes Obama, especially about how he has handled Syria and Iraq.

Other former Obama administration officials, including Gates and former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, have also backed away from heavy criticism of Clinton, a potential future president, but critiquing Obama, who is in the middle of his second and last term in office.

Obama, Panetta says, has "the logic of a law professor rather than the passion of a leader," but describes Clinton in glowing terms, calling her "a luminous representative for the United States in every foreign capital, as well as a smart, forceful advocate in meetings of the president’s top advisers.”

He goes on in his memoir to offer even more criticism 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.

On Friday, political analyst and author Dick Morris told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV that Clinton got Panetta, her old crony, to backstab Obama and blame him for the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) in his book.

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Morris said Panetta, who served alongside Clinton as director of central intelligence and also as secretary of defense, is using his new memoir and media tour to help Clinton get distance from a flailing president who she worked for and intends to succeed.

"In the Mafia they do contract hits … and this was a contract hit by Panetta on Obama, paid for by Hillary," said Morris, co-author with Eileen McGann of the best-seller, "Power Grab: Obama's Dangerous Plan for a One-Party Nation." 

And Panetta in his book, noted that Clinton vented about him sometimes to other officials while she was the first lady, he doesn't "recall ever confronting Hillary Clinton directly with my concerns," when they disagreed over her early budgets, reports The Times.

Clinton, Panetta and Gates, though, joined forces to back the troop surge into Afghanistan. They also backed each other on calls for arming rebels in Syria, and for leaving some troops in Iraq.

Clinton backed up Panetta's recommendation for the raid that left Osama bin Laden dead, and opposed early plans for a prisoner swap for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, which eventually occurred after they left the cabinet.

Panetta also does not mention Clinton in connection with the Benghazi attacks that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, an incident likely to rank high among Democrats if Clinton runs for office, reports the Times.

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Former CIA Director Leon Panetta is the latest memoir writer to take it easy on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, while slamming second-term President Barack Obama, The New York Times reports.
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Saturday, 11 October 2014 02:46 PM
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