October 25th, 2009
11:32 PM ET
3 years ago

Former Bush aide: Emanuel 'uninformed or willfully misleading'

Ed Gillespie said Sunday that Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was either 'uninformed or willfully misleading' on the issue of Afghanistan.
Ed Gillespie said Sunday that Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was either 'uninformed or willfully misleading' on the issue of Afghanistan.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A one-time aide to former President George W. Bush took aim Sunday at recent comments by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel that questioned the Bush administration's conduct of the war in Afghanistan.

Last Sunday on CNN's State of the Union, Emanuel strongly suggested that the current scenario in Afghanistan – with a contentious election last month casting a cloud over an already difficult security situation – was the result of missteps on the part of the previous administration.

"It's clear that basically we had a war [in Afghanistan] for eight years that was going on, that's adrift," Emanuel told CNN's John King, "that we're beginning at scratch, just at the starting point, after eight years – and that there's not an [Afghan] security force, an [Afghan] army, and the types of services that are important for the Afghans to become a true partner."

"There's a set of questions that have to have answers that have never been asked," Emanuel also said last Sunday.

Responding to Emanuel, former Bush counselor Ed Gillespie said Sunday on State of the Union that Obama's Chief of Staff "was either uninformed or willfully misleading in what he said."

Gillepsie told King that the Bush administration conducted its own thorough review of the Afghanistan war but did not disclose it publicly at the request of the incoming Obama administration.

"[Emanuel] knows full well – I suspect – that there was a proposal given and a review given that took into account the Afghan national army, the politics over there, the policing, the international framework," Gillespie said Sunday.

After Emanuel's remarks last Sunday, former Vice President Dick Cheney resurfaced after several weeks out of the public eye and said that President Obama was "dithering" over the decision about Afghanistan troop levels.

The White House quickly shot back at Cheney.

"What Vice President Cheney calls 'dithering,' President Obama calls his solemn responsibility to the men and women in uniform and to the American public," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

Obama is currently conducting an extensive review of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. In the midst of the review, the country held a presidential election last month which observers say was tainted by fraud and corruption.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, has reportedly asked the White House for 40,000 additional troops to carry out a counterinsurgency strategy in the country. The White House, in recent comments by Emanuel and other senior Obama aides, has suggested that the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan depends on the stability and functionality of the Afghan government. That, the White House has also suggested, cannot be sufficiently determined until the country's runoff presidential election early next month.

–CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney contributed to this report.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Extra • Popular Posts • Rahm Emanuel • State of the Union
soundoff (179 Responses)
  1. Independent

    Blah blah blah. When is Obama and his team going to stop blaming Bush for everything and just do their own job. I voted for BO but am getting really annoyed at how him and his admin throws temper tantrums when things don't go their way and can't take responsibility for anything. Grow up!

    October 25, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  2. Bob Ramos

    It is impossible for anyone in the Bush administrations, including Gillespie, to justify leaving Afgan for Iraq. We had the Taliban/AQ virtually destroyed and a native population on our side. Their terrible mistake in leaving is costing us dearly.

    BTW, before anyone brings up the faulty intel on WMD, please explain how so many nations failed to provide any significant number of troops and resources to the Iraq war? They had the same intel we did and they interpreted it correctly.

    October 25, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  3. Dennis, Amarillo Texas

    ALERT! Did you know the Democrats in the Senate are going to take away the requirement of your employer to provide Health Insurance as a Benefit of Employment? Can't figure out what that smelly, soft, lumpy, patty is that just hit you in the Head? Well this one is coming from Reid and Pulosi, not the cow!

    October 25, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  4. SNAPPA

    Yeah, I'm sure that's why its going so well over there. If people were more concerned about American lives than they are over their own legacy. There was so much about the Bush White House that still needs answering, the refusal to admit that Iraq was a wrong decision at the time and that Afghanistan was put on the back burner because it did not fit into Bush/Cheneys agenda. The sad fact of the matter is that the Bush/Cheney "gang" have very little credibility in any thing they say.

    October 25, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  5. jsmith

    This Current Administration, I think just was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for blaming everyone and anyone for their problems, Bush being a favorite person to blame. Its great for them, they hope to not take responsibilty for any of their actions. thats was the reason for the award wasnt it...or can some one tell me what it was. I Know if Bush is the Blame then Bush should get the Nobel Peace Prize.

    October 25, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  6. proud dem in nc

    We wouldn't be in this mess if Bush had not taken his eye off of Afghanistan in the first place. We never should have gone into Iraq in the first place. Bush got terrible advice from the old, cold war, harliners like Rummy and Darth Vader. Wake up Ed, your man screwed it up.

    October 25, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  7. SNAPPA

    "look at his eyes" are you serious Karen? So after watching 8 years of Dick looking out the side of his head that you trusted??

    October 25, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  8. Bob E

    The only time I ever hear someone from the Obama administration comment on the Bush administration is when Republicans, especially Dick Cheney, start trying to tell Obama how he ought to conduct the war effort. The President has clearly stated the process he is conducting and if the Republicans don't want to assume any responsibility for it then they ought to keep their mouths shut.

    October 25, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  9. pincheruco

    Rahm Emanuel is an evil person who will do whatever it takes, legal or illegal, within or outside of the Constitution, to get a job done. He knows no limits in terms of legality or ethics. He and Axelrod are the puppeteers who send this jerk, O'Bama out on the hustings to make all kinds of meaningless promises. He and Axelrod both have an elitist attitude toward the so-called "regular folks" – tell 'em anything, just shut them up. I almost feel sorry for this dumb president that he allows himself to be "gamed" this way.

    October 25, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Rahm is a snake in the grass and the people better beware of what he says and does. Remember, he is from Chicago, one of the most, if not the most, corrupt political places in the nation.

    October 25, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  11. Steve

    Rahm is quite possibly the sleaziest person in government during my lifetime...and I lived through Nixon. The entire Obama administration is nothing short of Nixonian in it's handling of those who dare to dissent. Where are all those "dissent is patriotic" bumper stickers now?!

    October 25, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  12. C Spurgeon

    This person (Gillespie)never says anything but the party line. No credibility at all

    October 25, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  13. Dave C - NJ

    So maybe Rahm knows about the "proposal and review." He never said he didn't. He stated (in response to GOP smears) that they let the Afgan war go adrift over the last 8 years...and anyone that has read the news in the last 8 years knows that this is correct.

    Obama should stop blaming Bush as soon as all the Bush cronies stop giving him reason to.

    October 25, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  14. JJ

    When will we focus on the future rather than dwell on the past?

    October 25, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  15. B

    Unbelievable that they come back out of the woodwork to tell Obama what he should do now. After BUSH AND CO. LEFT THE SCENE OF THE CRIME eight years ago to start a totally unrelated WAR and left Afghanistan to self destruct is unconscionable !!

    They have 0 credibility and everyone knows it.

    October 25, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  16. Mark-USN Retired

    This is the "Pot Calling the Kettle Black". Lord how uninformed did the previous adminstration leave the American public AND continue to try to protect and rewrite the legacy of shame they left us.

    October 25, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  17. JonDie

    "Emanuel strongly suggested that the current scenario in Afghanistan...was the result of missteps on the part of the previous administration."

    From 2002 to 2008, Bush and Cheney left our soldiers in Afghanistan without material support, without leadership, and without a strategy.

    Bush and Cheney should have been impeached for this CRIME against our soldiers.

    These cynical criticisms by the cowardly Republicans, who betrayed our troops and who know better, are the reason why we will LOSE the war in Afghanistan.

    October 25, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  18. Doug

    How long can the Obama administration blame the previous administration ??? Step up to the plate and take some action... and some responsibility...

    October 25, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  19. Mike in TX

    Why should we do less attacking and blaming others? Does the truth about Bush's disastrous administration hurt? Instead of deflecting criticism, why don't you just admit Bush's incompetence and apologize to those of us who voted against the Republicans and the mess they left for us?

    October 25, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  20. Bull

    Rahm Emanuel is a foul mouth idiot.

    October 25, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  21. Hmmmmm

    Look at his eyes? LOL You are very very funny! Remember when in a gun battle in the old west, looking at the eyes was not key yo success. Looking at the man with his finger on the trigger and shooting him dead first worked!! Going straight to the source was key and that never happened. Now a new war is supposed to begin and we are supposed to forget that we have been there for 8 years doing absolutely nothing. Bush's people are so busy contradicting the obvious all the time. They are on a mission to rewrite history. Let's not allow them to make this happen.

    October 25, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  22. nookly

    In March Obama announced a new clear and comprehensive military plan for athe Afgahn war.
    Just another lie from a man who lies so much he has lost touch with reality. This man's only idea is to blame Bush for everything and forgetting he has caused the US to have the largest debt EVER and wants congress to raise the debt limit so he and the dems can push this country deeper into debt. Obama is going to cause this country to become a third world country, but that is his plan. His idol Hugo Chavez is proud along with his mentor the racist rev wright.

    What party was incharge of oversight and ignored dire warning about the failures of Freddie and Fannie and the banking sector? And still hold those positions.
    Give a hint, one was getting special deals on his mortgage and the other was getting rear ended by an exec at Freddie.
    Culture of corruption is live and well in the liberal party.

    I just cannot figure out why libs enjoy watching our men and women die.

    October 25, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  23. Jack Carlson

    Rahm Emmanuel is a foul mouth chicago mafia type and he shows it every time he opens his mouth.
    This Whitehouse is going down in history as the "Whitehouse of Profanity", and the lamest bunch of little boys.
    Jack C
    WA

    October 25, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  24. Tammy

    And the Bush administration, including him, were "well informed"?! about anything?

    October 25, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  25. Big Blue Patriot

    Ah, Karen, wasn't it President Bush who looked into Putin's eyes and said he knew what he was about?

    Stop talking voodoo.

    October 25, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
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