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White House Denies Obama's Opposition To Iraq Surge Was Based On Politics

"It doesn't track."

Posted on January 8, 2014, at 2:39 p.m. ET

White House press secretary Jay Carney denied Wednesday that President Obama opposed the Iraq troop surge for political reasons, contrary to a new book written by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

"Anybody who has covered Barack Obama, going all the way back to his race for the Senate, knows that he was opposed to the Iraq War," Carney said at a Wednesday press briefing.

"It would be entirely inconsistent for him not to hold the position that he held with regards to the surge. So I don't know what conversation that refers to but it doesn't track based on what I know and what everybody here knows about the president's positions through the year," Carney added.

Gates writes that both Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted they opposed the troop surge for political reasons.

"Hillary told the president that her opposition to the [2007] surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary," Gates writes. "The president conceded vaguely that opposition to the Iraq surge had been political. To hear the two of them making these admissions, and in front of me, was as surprising as it was dismaying."