(Los Angeles Times) – Former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates was first to land a punch. Then former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton weighed in with a memoir that distanced herself from her president’s foreign policy.
And Tuesday, former CIA chief and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, long a trusted advisor to Democratic presidents, released a book about his years in the administration in which he criticizes President Obama as a vacillating leader who often “avoids the battle.”
All presidents have had in-house critics. But rarely has a president faced the degree of public criticism from former senior Cabinet members that Obama has this year.
The critiques are particularly notable because they have appeared while Obama is still in office, struggling with a world beset with crises. Panetta’s “Worthy Fights” has appeared as the midterm election approaches, when criticism of Obama could boost his Republican opposition.