Gates praises Clinton as 'a good secretary of State'

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates in an interview aired on Sunday praised Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe 'Palmetto Promise': South Carolina will decide the race Alabama Senate contender hits Sessions in new ad: 'Hillary still ain't in jail' Worries grow as moderates split Democratic vote MORE’s work while secretary of State.

“Well, I only ever dealt with Secretary Clinton on foreign policy matters,” Gates told host Bob Schieffer in an interview taped Friday at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

“And, as I wrote in my book, we never discussed domestic affairs,” he said. “And that probably was a good thing.”

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“But I think she was a good secretary of State,” he said of Clinton, a 2016 Democratic presidential candidate.

Gates pointed to tougher economic sanctions on Iran, troop surges in Afghanistan and Iraq and diplomatic relations with Egypt as some of Clinton’s signature achievements at State.

All the same, he stopped short of endorsing Clinton next election cycle.

“Well, I think it’s a little early … besides, I’m not sure having a Republican endorse you is the best thing at this point,” Gates said.

Gates said he had found the overall foreign policy bona fides lacking among the entire 2016 field, Clinton included.

“I haven’t been particularly impressed, frankly, by anybody this point on either side of the article,” he said.

“Most of these candidates have no experience in foreign policy,” Gates said.

The GOP candidates in particular, he added, had some work to do.

“In fact, very few do on the Republican side have any experience, or very little,” Gates said. “But so far they’re in early days, and I think their views are probably largely unformed,” he said.