Gates memoir could cause headache for potential Hillary run 2016

US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (R)
US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (R) speaks alongside Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC, Dec. 16, 2010.

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ new memoir doesn’t leave any of the top Democratic brass out. He critiques President Obama’s leadership style and claims that Vice President Biden is incompetent at making foreign policy decisions. But it’s his criticism of former Secretary of State Clinton that may have the biggest impact on 2016.

He writes that Clinton told Obama that she was only opposed to the 2007 military surge in Iraq because she knew that she would be running against Obama, who did not support the war in Iraq.

Gates also praises Clinton in his memoir. He wrote, “I found her smart, idealistic but pragmatic, tough-minded, indefatigable, funny, a very valuable colleague, and a superb representative of the United States all over the world.”

But his criticism could have a lasting effect on Clinton, who has already been criticized for being too politically calculating. Conservative groups have already used Gates’ memoir to their advantage. The RNC’s blog posted a “breaking” update and sent out an email stating, “We’re hearing Hillary Clinton made a decision based on politics. Which one of her Super PACs will respond?”

The White House released a statement defending Biden, but did not mention Clinton. Clinton has not yet responded to Gates’s allegations.