In Book, Panetta Recounts Frustration With ObamaBreaking News
... For Mr. Panetta, the moment that crystallized his frustration with Mr. Obama came when the president made little effort to stop deep automatic budget cuts mandated by the sequester.
“Indeed, that episode highlighted what I regard as his most conspicuous weakness, a frustrating reticence to engage his opponents and rally support for his cause,” Mr. Panetta wrote. “That is not a failing of ideas or of intellect,” he added. “He does, however, sometimes lack fire. Too often, in my view, the president relies on the logic of a law professor rather than the passion of a leader.”
Mr. Obama grew more reticent, in Mr. Panetta’s view, because his legitimacy has been challenged more than any of his predecessors by accusations like the unsubstantiated claim that he was not born in the United States. “Those challenges have encouraged the president’s caution and defensiveness, which in turn has emboldened further challenges,” Mr. Panetta wrote.
The book, and the media blitz that accompanies it, becomes the latest headache for a White House that, like other second-term administrations, finds itself fending off friendly fire from veterans of the first. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. pushed back last week when asked about Mr. Panetta’s book during an appearance at Harvard.
“I’m finding that former administration officials, as soon as they leave, write books, which I think is inappropriate,” Mr. Biden said. When the audience laughed, he interjected: “No, I’m serious. I do think it’s inappropriate. At least give the guy a chance to get out of office.”
Mr. Panetta, unsurprisingly, disagreed. “I don’t think you put history on hold,” he said in the interview. “I’m one who believes you present history as you see it to the American people and they’re wise enough to make judgments about what’s right and wrong.” ...
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