Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Friday conceded that his publisher muffed the released of his new book Duty by letting the Washington Post focus on his criticism of the president, and he said instead that 590 of the 600 pages praised the president.
“I was more loyal to him than some in his own White House,” an exasperated Gates said at the end of a whirlwind promotional tour this week.
Since its release, critics of Gates have reacted to the stories by charging he was disloyal to former President Bush and President Obama. But he said that the book actually “portrays them in a positive light.”
He has also been criticized for going public with his concerns instead of raising them directly to Obama, a charge he denies and called evidence that his critics haven’t read his book.
“I supported every single one of the president’s decisions,” up until the president made moves in Egypt and Libya, he said at a breakfast roundtable hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
“I saw one reviewer said that out of 600 pages there are maybe 10 that say unfavorable things about either Bush or Obama,” he added.
The Post's stories about Duty arrived the weekend before the book’s release this week, and Gates has had to defend against the criticism. But he said he believes the tone has changed as people have read the book. In fact, Obama’s reaction was friendly this week.
“As a growing number of journalists and others got copies of the book and read it during the days after the Post article, I think that the message began to rebalance itself, that this was not an anti-Obama book,” said Gates, who added: “If we could all have our do-overs, I suppose there are lot of things people would change.”Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.