Ellen, honey

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher, chair­man of the House Armed Ser­vices strate­gic forces sub­com­mit­tee, told re­porters re­cently how much nicer De­fense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates and his team are to Democrats, com­pared with treat­ment from his pre­de­ces­sor, De­fense Sec­re­tary Don­ald H. Rums­feld.

The Cal­i­for­nia Demo­crat re­called a break­fast meet­ing with Mr. Rums­feld, when Democrats were still in the mi­nor­ity. “I can re­mem­ber sit­ting right across from him and de­mand­ing in 2003 that we lift end-strength, and had the bill to do it for both the Army and the Marines, and hav­ing him tell me in his dep­re­cat­ing tone how ‘it wasn’t re­ally about peo­ple, honey,’ which wasn’t what he said but that was the tone. The only thing miss­ing was the lit­tle pat on the head.”

Mrs. Tauscher said she was “stunned” at of­fer ing to in­crease the num­ber of troops and “have him say, ‘No, it’s not about that, honey.’ I mean it was just amaz­ing.”

The con­gress­woman said her re­la­tion­ship with Mr. Gates is bet­ter. She also meets ever y week with Eric Edel­man, un­der­sec­re­tary of de­fense for pol­icy and a for­eign ser­vice of­fi­cer.

Mrs. Tauscher also had harsh words for Gen. Peter Pace, for­mer Chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who she sug­gested would not tell civil­ian lead­ers about prob­lems in the mil­i­tar y, such as readi­ness short­falls, prob­lems with deal­ing with other mil­i­tary con­tin­gen­cies and for “al­low­ing crim­i­nals into the mil­i­tary.”

“This ad­min­is­tra­tion is re­spon­si­ble for all that,” she said.

Mrs. Tauscher had praise for the new chair man, Adm. Michael Mullen, and new vice chair man, Gen. James Cartwright.

Asked whether Adm. Mullen would be chair­man if Mr. Rums­feld were still sec­re­tary, Mrs. Tauscher said: “Prob­a­bly not” since such of­fi­cers “could not sus­tain a con­ver­sa­tion with Sec­re­tary Rums­feld and get their views ac­tu­ally heard in a re­spect­ful way and have any im­pact at all.”

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