Gibbs Slams Gates, Again...
8:32 AM, Dec 3, 2009 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs seems to have a real problem with Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Either that or Gibbs is so dim that he doesn't realize that when he misrepresents Afghanistan troop requests at the end of the Bush administration he's trashing Gates -- President Obama's top defense policymaker.
On Tuesday night, President Obama made the following claim: "Commanders in Afghanistan repeatedly asked for support to deal with the reemergence of the Taliban, but these reinforcements did not arrive. That's why, shortly after taking office, I approved a long-standing request for more troops."
At the White House briefing yesterday, ABC's Jake Tapper pressed Robert Gibbs about the claim and asked him to specify when such requests took place.
Gibbs: "Again, what President Obama was talking about were additional resource requests that came in during 2008, which we've discussed in here."
Robert Gates was Defense Secretary in 2008. Barack Obama kept him in that job and, according to numerous accounts of his decision to sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, relied heavily on advice from Gates in coming up with his new strategy. So is Gates to blame for these resource requests that did not arrive?
Gibbs is right about one thing. Those requests from 2008 had been discussed at the briefings before. What he failed to mention is that he was wrong back then, too. A Pentagon official close to Gates, speaking of the WH claims, told TWS, "on the facts, they're wrong."
Here's how we reported it more than a month ago.
So will Gibbs admit that he was wrong? Or does he still think Gates was negligent? And does the president agree with his spokesman?