POLITICS: PennAve

Ben Cardin warns Robert Gates' tell-all memoir may chill frank presidential advice

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White House,Barack Obama,National Security,PennAve,Tim Mak,Robert Gates

Sen. Ben Cardin warned that tell-all memoirs like former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' book could chill conversations in the White House, preventing advisers from giving unvarnished, frank opinions to the president.

"Candid discussions with the president are important," Cardin, D-Md., said on "Fox News Sunday." "Reading about it in a book can only harm those types of discussions in the future."

Gates' book, Duty, which is released on Tuesday, takes aim at President Obama for only half-heartedly supporting the prosecution of the war in Afghanistan; Vice President Biden for being on the wrong side of national security decisions over the past four decades; and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for opposing the Iraq surge for political reasons in the lead-up to the 2008 presidential elections.

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., who appeared on the show with Cardin, seized upon the revelation that Clinton viewed a military matter through political lens.

"To be politically-motivated to make these very significant decisions, I think is going to be very damaging to her," Inhofe said, referring to Clinton's possible 2016 presidential ambitions.

Cardin said that Gates, whom he respects, had positive things to say about the president as well.

"The bottom line was there was more harmony than you would think [from] the headlines on the critique of his book," said Cardin, D-Md., on Fox News Sunday. "It's unfortunate we now see [personal conversations] in this books, looks like in an effort to make a book more popular."

The problem with how the book has been portrayed, Cardin continued, was that there has been scant coverage of where Gates praised the president.

"He gives high praise to President Obama [for] making decisive decisions. Just about every decision [Obama] made, Secretary Gates agreed with,” the Maryland senator said.

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