Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Foreign Policy magazine he is bowing out sometime in 2011, after it’s clear whether the Afghan surge has worked but before the presidential election season heats up.
The White House swiftly corralled reporters to try to tell them it’s nothing new. From the pool report out in Wisconsin, where Obama is traveling.
(Deputy Press Secretary Bill) Burton pulled the pool aside to address comments that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made on his future to Foreign Policy. He said Gates had agreed to stay on longer than his intended service. “The president is gratefully thankful for that service, but any announcement will come from him,” Burton said. He said Gates had said publicly he would likely move on in 2011.
“It’s not a surprise to see him discussing his plans to move on,” Burton said.
Well, yeah, it’s a surprise. When was the last time you heard a top administration official forecasting their own departure?