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Published On: Wed, Jan 20th, 2016

Robert Gates attacks President Obama over his ‘centralized’ power, arrogrance

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates went on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to promote his new book on leadership and Gates was asked what leadership qualities he would look for in the next president and Gates responded with:

The Truth painting President Barack Obama as Jesus Christ

The Truth painting President Barack Obama as Jesus Christ

“I think that the best quote about a quality of a president that I’ve ever read was a statement by Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. who once described FDR as having ‘a second rate intellect, but a first rate temperament.’ The question is, I mean the great presidents have been people who recognize they weren’t the smartest people in the room. But were willing and self confident enough to surround themselves with people they thought were smarter, who had experience, and draw on that, combine it with their own instincts and good judgement.”

Check out the full exchange below.

Co-host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida, asked Gates about the current administration.

“President Obama has actually been criticized, uh, for thinking that he is always the smartest guy in the room. You just said one of the traits you look for — I will tell you, it was one of the first things I told my chief of staff.. I was 30, got to Congress. I said ‘your job is to make me the dumbest guy in the room.’ I said ‘now that may seem like an easy job, but I always need people smarter than me, around me, making me better every day'” Did Barack Obama always think he was the smartest guy in the room?”

To which Gates responded:

“You know, the president is quoted as having said at one point to his staff ‘I can do every one of your jobs better than you can.’ And I think that he has centralized power and operational activities of the government in the White House to a degree that is unparalleled. An NSC staff of 450 people at this point, and yet, I think one of the weaknesses of the White House is implentation of strategy. Is difficulty in developing strategy and then implementing that strategy, and I don’t see the kind of strong people around the president who will push back on him. I will give him credit, I pushed back on him a lot, and he never shut me down, he never told me to be quiet or refused to see me or anything like that. But I don’t see people like that around him now.”

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