June 11th, 2008
07:50 AM ET
6 years ago

Gates: Next president likely to take 'sensible approach' to Iraq

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PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colorado (CNN) - No matter who winds up being the next president, he is likely to "take a sensible approach" to the Iraq war, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told CNN in an exclusive interview Tuesday.

"Based on what I read in the newspapers, I think either person who is elected president is going to come in and take a close look at it," Gates said of the situation in Iraq.

(Watch: Defense Secretary Robert Gates discuss the mission to restore 'excellence')

The two presumptive nominees for the major political parties - Republican Sen. John McCain and Democrat Sen. Barack Obama - have greatly differing positions on the war in Iraq.

McCain supports President Bush's current strategy and has said he is willing to continue the deployment of U.S. troops in Iraq until the country has reached a level of political stability.

Obama, on the other hand, has vowed to begin a withdrawal of combat troops almost immediately after he would take office in January, if he wins this fall.

The defense chief also said the next president would receive the blame if the "endgame" is not handled correctly.

"I've said repeatedly we can't get the endgame wrong. The next president would suffer the greatest consequences if we do get the endgame wrong, so I think whoever's elected is likely to take a fairly sensible approach to it," he said.

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Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (172 Responses)
  1. A CANUCK

    IF THE NEXT PRESIDENT HAS TO BE SENSIBLE......................
    THEN BARACK OBAMA IS A SHOO-IN !!!!

    June 11, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  2. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    Gates is right.

    The only difference between the Democrats and the Republicans–are the special interests and PAC's who support them.

    For the rest of us "average" Americans–we get whatever interest or time remains in their calendar. Which for the past two Presidencies has been zero!!

    June 11, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  3. danno

    end game???????????
    What does tha mean................
    Who cares how it ends if I raq does not want to take responsibility who cares.
    And by the way Iraq held Iran in check prior to invasion

    June 11, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. Greg, Mpls

    Nick why don't you sign up now! Empty rhetoric from an empty mind. We should have stayed in afghanistan and actually accomplished a mission. 27 years in and still serving

    June 11, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. Susie

    MD,
    Enough with the Hillary...........She does'nt know how to pay her debt right now so why don't you just help her out to pay her debt instead of involving your self to this issue that matter. Go to Hillarys' website instead and console her.
    About the war, not because Senator Obama is trying to bring the troops home does'nt mean its the end game. But for America to move on to a right direction he has to clean up all the mess that Bush administration created. Just imagine the war is unneccesary in the first place. People are dying everyday, the cost of this war is go great that the whole world economy is suffering. Iraq has to learn to their own feet. America has their domestic issue to settle and to improve.
    This war is getting out of hand and President Obama has to do something about it.
    Canada for Obama

    June 11, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. danno

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    What are you talking about...............

    June 11, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. Crush Rush

    This is the guy that helped open pandoras box.Welcome to his nightmare. K is a chickenlittle blogger,I would send him there quick.

    June 11, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  8. BettiH, Indianapolis, IN.

    That excludes McCain automatically.

    June 11, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  9. Shelly in IL

    "Ex-pat in London June 11th, 2008 10:40 am ET

    How can a country elect a president who doesn't feel comfortable giving "formal speeches" come on AMERICA!!! if we as a nation elect McCain, we will look even more ignorant than when we elected Bush for a second term. Headline in the UK read in 2004 "How Can 200 million People Be So Dumb…TWICE" this is true, look it up."
    _______________________________________________________

    Ehough said!

    June 11, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  10. Proud American

    To K,
    Our country was not founded on fear. 911 was tragic and unexpected Bush and the Republicans used that on us. We must move forward and work not out of fear but out of courage and intelligence. The two things Bush has always been opposed to. No McCain and no Bush.

    June 11, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  11. No More Clintons, CA

    Thank God that insane woman who claimed under sniper fire in the military zone and wanted to OBLITERATE another country is gone!

    A sensible approach to the endgame is more likely to be accomplished by Obama since McCain has been in bed with George Bush for this long-dragging hopeless war!

    Why did we start this war and what have we accomplished? I am sure we can complie a long list of accomplishment for us to celebrate!

    It is time to move on. It is high time to turn the page on Washington same old politics. No more Bush-Clinton-Bush-McCain/Clinton!

    June 11, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. Generation X

    Hillary's new support group PUMA = Poor Uneducated Miserable Adults. LMAO

    June 11, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. Welcome Hillary Supporters

    I'd like to welcome all the Hillary Clinton supporters to the republican party and thank you for coming to your senses and backing the best candidate, John McCain.

    Together we can:

    1) help reverse Roe v. Wade and make abortion illegal – let's stop the murder of unborn babies!

    2) stop gays from getting married – let's get a constitutional amendment to stop gay marriage and let them know they are not normal!

    3) keep fighting the good fight in Iraq for as long as it takes – remember 9/11 and what we are fighting for!

    4) get ready to invade Iran – we know they are planning to nuke us – let's get them first! McCain will make sure we do!

    Good to see democrats finally waking up and becoming more conservative!

    June 11, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  14. jr

    Obama has painted himself into a corner on the Iraq withdrawal issue. Should he become our next president he will be advised to do otherwise for national security reasons. Therefore, to avoid going back on his campaign promise he will seek a negotiated settlement with Iran. Iran will be more then glad to work out a deal with him, which will then allow him to fulfill his troop withdrawal promise.

    However, once that withdrawal is complete Iran will fill the vacuum and thumb their noses at us making him look like a dumb gullible appeaser. With control of the region in their hands the Iranians will slowly choke off the oil supply to western governments. Then you'll all have change you not only can believe in but change that your going to have to live or die with.

    June 11, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  15. Pamela

    For K:
    9/11 had nothing to do with invading Iraq.
    Terrorism had nothing to do with invading Iraq, unless of course you are referring to the terror that was the aftermath for the innocent civilians in Iraq.

    June 11, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  16. Danny

    I fully agree with you. I am confident that John McCAin will take the right corrective steps and our tropps will come home sooner than later. They have been there longer because of this anti-Bush policy of Democrats. They would have finished the job long time ago. Barack has supported radicals and gave them power and they are now aiting for Barack to come to power. Watch out. Vote John McCain. I hope CNN will publich this because CNN is pro-Barack and they do not publis the facts and also anything that is anti-Barack.

    June 11, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  17. Eric

    McCain doesnt know the difference betwee sunni and shiite muslims, if you dont know your enemy how ar e you going to beat em Mr McBush. I support Obama but we cant just leave that country in the state that it is in we do need to keep a presnce over there, if not it will be a harboring groung for terroist.

    June 11, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  18. Shawn T

    K:

    "Bush did what he did in the face of terror"...yes, ONLY as far as Afghanistan goes. As EVERYONE and their grandmother now knows, Iraq had zlich to do with terror...more with Bush and Cheney's bank accounts.

    June 11, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  19. SLIMSISTA

    CAN WE PLEASE STOP TALKING ABOUT WHAT HILLARY WOULD DO....SHE LOST...SO WHATEVER SHE WOULD DO, AND LET ME REMIND YOU HILLARY SUPPORTERS, SHE VOTED FOR THE WAR...THIS WAR THAT WE ARE NOW FINDING OUT THAT BUSH FOOLED THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND STARTED THIS WAR....

    WHAT WE SHOULD BE SAYING IS WHAT IS THE CANDIDATES THAT WON THE PRIMARIES ARE GONNA DO....HILLARY IS HISTORY..PLEASE LET'S KEEP IT THAT WAY....

    AND TO "K"....BUSH IS NOT PROTECTING US FROM TERRORIST...BECAUSE OF HIM & HIS FAILED ADMINISTRATION...WE WENT TO WAR....CHECK YOUR FACTS FIRST BEFORE YOU BLOG.....

    June 11, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  20. LYNETTE IN CA

    Obama will get us out! McCain will keep us there. For those of you who keep with the Hillary thing, you really must move on. You're as delusional as she is. It's very sad, but there is psychiatric treatment. However, keep in mind that you must have insurance for this.

    June 11, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  21. Xeun

    Obama doesn't have experience...yet he had the best judgment then......

    Even Mrs Clinton with no mind of her own, fell for the lies then....

    Come jan 20th, Bush, Dick, Rumsfield, Gates, etc should be posted as envoys to Iraq, and made to fix the country before they can come back. They must make their home in the country and do whatever magic they can until they restore peace and bring back our troops.....only then can we forgive them for the 8 yrs of mess they dragged us into.

    June 11, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. Practicalman

    Let us first build our nation...gas, commodity, grossary, homes, loans, floods, hurricanes, job insecurity, low dollar value, bad economy all are here in our land to tackle...we r going out and keeping our soldiers in Irag and spending billions everyday...for what? r v getting any profit......NO, and also thats based on the lies and hypocrisy of a sane person Bush...we feel shame calling this man as our president. Impeachment should be followed for dragging USA into such a low economy and degraded status in world.
    Let us come out from the mess....vote for change

    June 11, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
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