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White House Plays Defense After Gates Goes On Offense

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The White House continued to push back on former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ critique of President Obama’s and Vice President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy matters Wednesday.

White House press secretary Jay Carney disputed Gates’ statement that the president lacked confidence in his Afghanistan strategy.

“It is well-known that the president has been committed to achieving the mission of disrupting, dismantling and defeating al-Qaeda while also ensuring that we have a clear path for winding down the war, which will end this year,” Carney said at the White House press briefing.

Carney also stressed that Obama maintains full confidence in Biden, at whom Gates lobbed some of his harshest criticisms.

“The president has said many times that he greatly appreciates the advice and counsel the vice president gives him on matters both domestic and foreign, and that is absolutely the case,” Carney said.

Despite Gates’ blunt critique, Carney said the president was grateful for Gates’ role in his cabinet.

“He appreciates the service that he gave to this administration, to this president, and very much valued the role he played in this administration and the advice he gave,” Carney said.

Anticipating the onslaught of questions on the memoir, Carney greeted reporters at the briefing by saying, “Read any good books lately?”

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