Unlike Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta refuses to predict that President Obama will win a second term in the White House.
Panetta deflected a direct question about the elections during an interview yesterday. "In 40 years of experience in politics, the one thing I've learned is never to predict anything," he answered asked to make a "prediction about the US elections" by Daoud Sultanzoy of the Afghan news station, Tolo TV.
"I believe, since I'm a Democrat, that the president has provided strong leadership and that we provide a strong platform for the future," Panetta added. "But it's going to be up to the American people to make that decision."
Sultanzoy asked if Republicans might have a better relationship with the Afghan government, but Panetta dodged that one as well. "I think that whatever party is ultimately empowered by the American people will have to maintain a strong relationship with President Karzai and whoever follows him, because the future of Afghanistan will determine whether or not the price that we pay -- not just the United States, but the Afghan people -- whether that price was worthwhile," he said.
Clinton displayed none of Panetta's reservations during a recent trip to Tunisia, when she assured a group of Tunisians worried about Republican support for so-called "Zionist lobbies" that Obama "will be reelected President."