A new book says that far from being an ardent supporter of the successful 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, as she claimed during the 2016 presidential campaign, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was cool to the idea.
The book also claims that former Vice President Joe Biden, who said he would do whatever was necessary to help former President Barack Obama succeed, was angry with Clinton for misrepresenting her position, Fox News reported.
An excerpt from Kate Andersen Brower’s new book, “First in Line: Presidents, Vice Presidents and the Pursuit of Power,” was recently published by The Hill.
“Biden clearly resents the way Clinton mischaracterized her position,” the excerpt read, adding, “One aide said: ‘The a—covering, opportunistic version really rattled him.”
Biden had never disguised his concerns over the raid. The excerpt says that he was not alone.
“My sense is that (Clinton) was not sold on the idea either,” former Obama administration official David Axelrod is quoted as saying in the excerpt.
Clinton used the raid to tout her presidential credentials in a January 2016 speech to Iowa voters, according to Politico.
“I’m grateful I’ve been in the Situation Room making really tough decisions — they don’t get there if they’re not tough decisions,” she said at Iowa State University. “(Decisions) like the bin Laden raid … there was nothing at all preordained about what the outcome would be … I was asked to be among the very small group of advisers asked to weigh in.”
“I was one of those who recommended the president launch what was a very risky raid … because if all we had done was launch a missile and dropped a bomb we never would have known (if bin Laden was dead),” she said at the time.
Clinton made her claim throughout late 2015, when it appeared Biden might emerge as a challenger for the Democratic presidential nominations,The New York Times reported.
As early as 2014, The Washington Post noted the importance of the raid to her presidential aspirations.
“Clinton’s staunch backing for the raid now has the potential to become one of the most politically rewarding decisions of her tenure, making it little surprise that the episode is expected to be a centerpiece of her forthcoming memoir,” The Post said.
In the book, Brower wrote that Biden believed Obama had a lot at stake in the raid. She quotes Biden as saying that Obama’s “presidency was on the line with bin Laden.”
The book said that Biden spoke out against the raid during a meeting with advisers, but later privately told Obama to go with his instincts, which he knew meant going forward with the raid.
“I wanted people to know what a chance this guy took. If I had said that I said to go (at the time) then it would make me look like I was ratting out everybody else,” Biden said.
“That’s the job of the vice president,” Biden added, according to the excerpt. “You’re supposed to throw yourself in front of the train.”
CNN reported in 2016 that Defense Secretary Robert Gates also was a dissenting voice about the raid.
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