August 16th, 2010
12:42 PM ET
4 years ago

White House not surprised by Gates announcement

The White House said Monday they have known all along Gates did not plan to stay on for the president's full term.
The White House said Monday they have known all along Gates did not plan to stay on for the president's full term.

Milwaukee (CNN) – White House spokesman Bill Burton told reporters Monday that President Obama expects Defense Secretary Robert Gates to leave the Cabinet soon and is not surprised by that development because the administration has long known that he would not stay long after agreeing to extend his tour of duty beyond the Bush administration.

"It's not a surprise to see him discussing his plans to move on," Burton told reporters as Obama toured a renewable energy facility here. "The president is thankful for his service. The American people have benefitted" from that service stretching back many years and several administrations.

Burton said Gates has not spoken to the president today but noted that the secretary has said publicly that he was not likely to stay through the president's entire four-year term. Gates had hoped to retire at the end of President George W. Bush's administration but agreed to stay on for the start of the Obama administration after the president-elect convinced him it was important for continuity in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

Burton said Gates stayed longer than originally intended and the president is "grateful for that service."


Filed under: issues • President Obama • Robert Gates
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. The Other Micheal in Houston

    I hope President Obama hires General Powell or General Clark as a replacement. I am also surprised that Gates stayed as long as he did, seeing he is Republican. But he did what all should do, put your politics aside and just do your job. And that is why I respect Mr. Gates.

    August 16, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Sec. Gates has served this country honorably. Alot better than his predecessor who should be in the Hague.

    August 16, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. Larry

    Glad to see him go!

    August 16, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  4. Uncle Snerdly

    Good,now he can get his Faux news job,hahaha

    August 16, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. Mesa Mick

    To bad we are losing the service of one of the brightest, most intelligent and fair minded people to ever act as Defense Secretary. Last of the "good" conservatives to add to this country's greatness rather than narrow it's focus to chea, right-wing partisan politics...Hate to see him go. Good luck Mr. Gates....

    August 16, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  6. TonyKMN

    lol... How did that picture possibly get past all the editors' eyes... Wow.

    In case you're blind, the President has devil horns.

    August 16, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  7. nini

    Now I am concern and scared for our Country more than ever.

    Knowing he was there gave me peace and comfort now is time to be truly concern for our future.

    August 16, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  8. Tim Manning

    You had to use a picture in which Obama appears to have Devil horns?

    August 16, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. dont care what you say

    whos next obama, going to put oprah in charge so you can actually show your true racists side against whites

    August 16, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  10. JomoDaMusicMan

    the Prez should have never allow Gates to stay on. He did absolutely nothing but sabotaged the Prez effort to end the war & aided in helping Obama to look weak to White America. Gates is Chaney's & Bush protege and a real live republican Tea Bagger. How could Obama keep Gates knowing their agenda's are totally different

    August 16, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  11. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Republicans should be celebrating this! Gates, despite being originally a republican appointee has been reversing several of Dubya's policies and even made major cuts in certain Pentagon programs. He has been a thorn in the eye for republicans who want to blame Obama for being weak, and yet can't because all those recommendations have actually been given by Gates. After Gates is gone, republicans finally won't be detered by having to blame one of their own.

    August 16, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  12. JP

    I'm surprised how he stayed on so long every time having to paint politically correct scenarios about Afghanistan.
    Wishing him all the best.

    August 16, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  13. jim

    All this means is that Obama will put someone like Van Jones into this position that will continue to destroy our troops morale.

    August 16, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  14. Ryan

    Notice how the photo used here is "coincidentally" positioned to make President Obama look like the Devil with the horns in the background (from the wall sconce). Yeah, tell me the media is unbiased.

    August 16, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  15. Romney in 2012

    Obama, please retire next years as well!

    August 16, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  16. Romney in 2012

    Look at the photo: Obama has devil horns. Pretty cool.

    August 16, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  17. Jg

    Is it me or does the light fixture behind Obama make him look like he has horns?

    August 16, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  18. Sticky G

    Come on CNN, the picture of the President you used for this story makes it look like he has devil horns. (the light behind his head) Think a bit when you assemble these things.

    August 16, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  19. 4America1

    Obama will turn to the NAACP to recommend a replacement.

    August 16, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  20. sir magneto

    Quite clearly it is time to bring back Rumsfeld.

    p.s. whats up with those devil horns Obama is wearing in this picture?

    August 16, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  21. Tim

    Why is anyone glad to see him go? He's done some TOUGH work and what he started last week was some of the most necessary work the federal government has to do: Cut out the waste, overspending at the Pentagon.

    August 16, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  22. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Gates did the honorable thing by staying when asked because this administration knew from day one of his intentions. Gates stayed for our military men and women and not for political reason and he deserves a medal of honor.

    August 16, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  23. BeverlyNC

    Gates stayed on to help President Obama as he took office. He has been an excellent leader and advisor. He has worked long and hard for our country and I can understand his desire to retire and spend time with his family.

    THANK YOU Gates for being the ONLY bipartisan Republican who put did put country first and cared more about America's welfare than playing political games and hurting the People you swore to serve. You are a true Patriot.

    The Republicans are nothing but a Party of Traitors to the People and to the recovery of our nation THEY destroyed. Now they want to destroy it more by eliminating Social Security, Medicare, Unemployement benefits, and repealing all new laws that provide consumer protection from corrupt banks, Wall St, credit card companies, and health insurance companies. Republicans want to end the tax cuts for the middle class but extend the Bush tax cuts for millionaires (which will add 4 Trillion dollars to the deficit).

    Republicans are NO friends of the People. They only work for the white rich class and big corporations who pay them for their votes. Republicans do not deserve to serve this nation. Voting for Republicans will be a disaster for America. By this time next year, they will have returned to failed Bush policies and we will be in a deep Depression.

    Be very careful with your vote. Democrats have worked HARD all year for people-focused laws. They have turned the economy around and job creation is growing every month. No it is not as fast as we wanted, but we did not expect Republicans to do everything they could to block ALL legislation for America's recovery. We are moving forward and I would trust the Democrats to keep us on a recovery and jobs path forward. Republicans will go back to destroying all we have achieved.

    They cannot be trusted. They are so blinded with hate, they cannot even name one detailed solution for any issue we are facing. They are clueless what real America is going through.

    NO Republicans for the safety of America's future.

    August 16, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  24. Hammerer

    For a guy that was sold as the greatest orator known to man, by the media, obama has a problem saying what he means or meaning what he says.

    August 16, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  25. Nelson, Colorado Springs Co

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates has severed the American people we haven benefitted" from that service stretching back many years and several administrations. Job well done

    August 16, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
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