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“I began deeply concerned because he campaigned against the structure President Bush put in place to protect the American people,” he said.

“I’m greatly relieved that he’s left in place indeterminate detention, that he’s left in place Guantanamo Bay, which is a fine prison. … And apparently, they’re leaving in place military commissions now. And I think that is a good thing.”

Mr. Rumsfeld also said he thought Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was exerting a positive influence on the administration.

“One has to think that when the White House is discussing things, it would appear that Secretary of State Clinton is bringing more of a Clintonesque contribution to those discussions than an Obama contribution,” he said.

“It isn’t probably the way President Bush would have done [it], but my impression is that she probably is a voice in that administration that is probably closer to where the Bush approach was.”

As for Mr. Gates, Mr. Rumsfeld offered a few kind words - six, to be exact:

“Seems to be handling himself well.”