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Obama agenda: Et tu, Bob Gates?

Here’s the New York Times’ take on the new book by former Obama (and Bush) Defense Secretary Robert Gates: “After ordering a troop increase in Afghanistan, President Obama eventually lost faith in the strategy, his doubts fed by White House advisers who continually brought him negative news reports suggesting it was failing, according to his former defense secretary Robert M. Gates. In a new memoir, Mr. Gates, a Republican holdover from the Bush administration who served for two years under Mr. Obama, praises the president as a rigorous thinker who frequently made decisions ‘opposed by his political advisers or that would be unpopular with his fellow Democrats.’ But Mr. Gates says that by 2011, Mr. Obama began criticizing — sometimes emotionally — the way his policy in Afghanistan was playing out.”

Here’s how the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward writes up the book: “In a new memoir, former defense secretary Robert Gates unleashes harsh judgments about President Obama’s leadership and his commitment to the Afghanistan war, writing that by early 2010 he had concluded the president ‘doesn’t believe in his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out.’ Leveling one of the more serious charges that a defense secretary could make against a commander in chief sending forces into combat, Gates asserts that Obama had more than doubts about the course he had charted in Afghanistan. The president was ‘skeptical if not outright convinced it would fail.’”

And here’s an excerpt from Gates in the Wall Street Journal: “I did not just have to wage war in Afghanistan and Iraq and against al Qaeda; I also had to battle the bureaucratic inertia of the Pentagon, surmount internal conflicts within both administrations, avoid the partisan abyss in Congress, evade the single-minded parochial self-interest of so many members of Congress and resist the magnetic pull exercised by the White House, especially in the Obama administration, to bring everything under its control and micromanagement. Over time, the broad dysfunction of today's Washington wore me down, especially as I tried to maintain a public posture of nonpartisan calm, reason and conciliation.”

A White House official tells NBC's Peter Alexander: "Tomorrow (Thursday) at 2:00 pm ET, President Obama will host an event in the East Room of the White House where he will announce the first five "Promise Zones," located in San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. He will be joined by representatives and community members from each of the five Zones."

More: "The president first announced the Promise Zone Initiative during last year's State of the Union Address, as a way to partner with local communities and businesses to create jobs, increase economic security, expand access to educational opportunities and quality, affordable housing and improve public safety."