Panetta's jabs at Obama are not 'legitimate,' White House says

Criticism leveled by former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta over President Obama's leadership abilities is not legitimate, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.
 
The former Pentagon head and CIA chief blasts President Obama in a new memoir out this week, saying that the president's "most conspicuous weakness" is "a frustrating reticence to engage his opponents and rally support for his cause."
 
Obama too often "relies on the logic of a law professor rather than the passion of a leader," Panetta said, according to excerpts obtained by USA Today, adding that his former boss "avoids the battle, complains, and misses opportunities." 
 
Earnest said that "as a general matter" Obama was proud to have Panetta serve in his administration, but rejected the criticism.
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"The president has demonstrated, I think in a rather public fashion over the last several weeks, his success in leading the international community to confront some of the very difficult challenges of our time," Earnest said, pointing to U.S. efforts on Ebola and combating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
 
"Time and time again, we have seen the president use that position to lead the international community and ensure that we are making the world a better place in a way that also furthers the core interests of American national security," Earnest added. "The president is proud of the record of leadership that he’s demonstrated."
 
Asked more directly if Panetta's criticism was legitimate, Earnest answered flatly: "No."