Gates was asked for his assessment of President Obama’s job performance during an interview at Politico’s “Playbook Cocktails” event.
“Some days I wish we had a system like the U.K. where, you know, the party in power could do a lot and you know, you’d see how it went and then fine you could un-elect them,” said Gates on Wednesday.
“Now, over time, our system has worked slightly better than theirs, theirs has worked okay but so it’s ironic that right now it feels like I wish there was slightly more power in the presidency to avoid some of these deadlocks. So I think what he [Obama] wants to do and what he’s actually able to do, the gap is so big there that it’s hard to know in some ways.”
Gates praised President Obama for his education policy and commended former President George W. Bush for The President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
“I think the education piece is probably the most unappreciated piece there where Bush, he was definitely unappreciated for the AIDS work. I went to an AIDS conference where somebody mentioned Bush and the audience was like, ‘boo’ or something like that. Well that is deeply, ironically unfair.”
He called PEPFAR a “phenomenal thing” that would not have happened without Bush’s “leadership.”
“I feel the same way about a lot of the education things that have happened in the last four years,” Gates said.