In a recent appearance before a conservative crowd, Donald Rumsfeld said he didn't know whether President Obama had switched sides in the war on terror, jokingly suggested that White House adviser Valerie Jarrett secretly runs the federal government, and asserted that America is "in decline." Rumsfeld also asked whether he appeared in the movie "Zero Dark Thirty."
At a May sit-down with the neoconservative activist David Horowitz to promote Rumsfeld's new book , the former defense secretary was asked by an audience member whether he thinks Obama has "switched sides in the war on terror."
Rumsfeld declined to dismiss the idea. "You know, I just don't feel competent to answer," he said. "I can't tell."
The discussion was posted Monday on the website of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Asked later by a different audience member whether anyone in the Obama administration is competent, Rumsfeld was equally agreeable.
"You've stumped me for an answer," he said at first, before adding:
Someone called me the other day and said: 'Give me the names of the secretary of state and the secretary of defense and the secretary of the treasury.' And I gave him the names. And the person said: 'Wrong. It's Valerie Jarrett, Valerie Jarrett, Valerie Jarrett.'
As the audience laughed, Rumsfeld said: "She obviously is competent. She may have her thumb on the scale."
Not long afterwards, Rumsfeld spoke about recent defense cuts caused by the sequester, as well as what he described as the decision to pursue a European-style economic policy, which he called a "failed model."
"What that sends out is a message of weakness," Rumsfeld said. "Why else would Vice President Biden stand up there and say: 'We're not in decline'? Why would he have to say that? Because we are."
Rumsfeld also shared details on his movie-watching habits, in the following exchange with Horowitz:
DH: Have you seen Zero Dark Thirty?DR: No.DH: You have to see it, you really have to...DR: Am I in it?DH: In spirit. No, because this is a film that—how many people have seen Zero Dark Thirty?DR: Is it pro or against?DH: It is our sense of the war. It's a defense of the enhanced interrogation.DR: Oh, really?DH: It's an amazing film.DR: Huh.DH: Yeah. So you should see it just for the satisfaction.DR: My wife tried to get me to go see the movie on Jackie Robinson, which is supposed to be terrific. The last movie I think I saw was True Grit. It wasn't the new one. It was the one with John Wayne.