- The Washington Times - Monday, January 13, 2014

The Obama administration pushed back Monday against former Defense Secretary Robert Gates‘ allegations that the president lacks “passion” when it comes to most military matters.

Mr. Gates, appointed defense secretary by former President George W. Bush and kept on by President Obama, writes in his new book that that the current commander in chief seemed to lack passion when it came to U.S. action in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The White House has refrained from entering into a back-and-forth with Mr. Gates, but press secretary Jay Carney did dispute the specific allegations regarding the president’s passion.

“The commitment the president has to our men and women in uniform is profound and deep,” Mr. Carney told reporters. “His commitment to the mission he has asked them to perform … is passionate and deep. That doesn’t mean [the mission] is not difficult. That doesn’t mean we haven’t encountered setbacks and challenges in the implementation of that policy.”

Other than repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” Mr. Gates charges that he was disturbed by Mr. Obama’s approach to military matters.

“One quality I missed in Obama was passion, especially when it came to the two wars” in Afghanistan and Iraq, Mr. Gates writes in his book “Duty,” according to excerpts.

Aside from responding to the “passion” charge, Mr. Carney dismissed other questions about the book.

“I think it’ll be a long time before I have a chance to read an 800-page book,” Mr. Carney said.

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