Gates: 'Not really surprised' at public's reaction to book

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates talks with "Face the Nation," May 11, 2013.
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates talks with "Face the Nation," May 11, 2013. 

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he is not surprised by the public's response to his new book.

"[I'm] not really surprised, but in a way disappointed that the book has sort of been hijacked by people along the political spectrum to serve their own purposes, taking quotes out of context," Gates told Matt Lauer during a TODAY Show interview on Monday.

In his new book, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, Gates takes aim at everyone from President Obama, to Congress and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He decries the political warfare prominent in Washington.

"I think the book is very even-handed...I make clear that I have a lot of respect for both President Bush and President Obama," said Gates, who served for eight presidents.

Related: Gates disses Obama administration in new memoir

Gates, who stepped down as Obama's defense secretary, says in the book that Obama lost faith in the Afghanistan surge and his own war policy by 2011.

"I think that the decisions have all been made with respect to Afghanistan. I agree with those decisions. We're going to be out of there in December of 2014," he told Lauer.

Gates also served on the National Security Council, CIA, and was former President George W. Bush's director of Central Intelligence. He continued in the role until he retired in 2011.

The book is set for release on Tuesday.