Cardin: Obama-Gates conflict aimed at selling books

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) suggested Sunday that conflicts detailed in former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s new book were trumped up to sell more copies.

Excerpts of his memoir have created headlines in Washington. They show a deep disagreement with President Obama over strategy in the Afghan War, as well as criticisms of Vice President Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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But on “Fox News Sunday,” Cardin said the president’s team agreed more often than one would think from the firey headlines emanating from the book. He went on to suggest that those disputes received disproportionate attention to help it sell copies.

“Looks like an effort to make the book more popular on newsstands,” he said.

Cardin also argued that spilling details from private conversations with the president in a tell-all memoir could discourage others from seeking differing opinions and having frank conversations.

“That’s good that he welcome diverse opinions,” he said. “Reading about it in a book can only harm those discussions in the future.”

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who appeared alongside Cardin on the program, highlighted an excerpt where Clinton and Obama both admit that at least part of their motivation to opposing the surge of troops in Iraq had been political. He said that segment is “very damaging to her” and could hamper her chances at another presidential run in 2016.

“I think it’s going to come back and hurt her,” he said.

In his book, Gates also claimed that Biden has been wrong on every major foreign policy decision over the last several decades. Inhofe did not go quite so far, calling his former Senate colleague a “real gracious person” while noting their differing opinions.

“I can’t say he’s been wrong on everything, but I’ve disagreed with him on most things,” said Inhofe.