White House rushes to Rummy's defense

Tony Snow defends former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld against criticism from Sen. McCain.

By Alex Koppelman
Published February 20, 2007 8:51PM (EST)

Monday, Arizona Sen. and Republican presidential candidate John McCain said that he thinks former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld "will go down in history as one of the worst secretaries of defense in history."

Apparently, the White House still disagrees -- asked by reporters at a briefing today for a response from the administration, White House press secretary Tony Snow said:

"We think Donald Rumsfeld was an enormously consequential and effective secretary of defense, and somebody who led to the transformation of the Department of Defense. Senator McCain holds a different point of view. The thing that's important to us right now is that Senator McCain is a strong supporter of the president's position on the way forward in Iraq and somebody who has been an eloquent voice and a reliable leader on the issue, and we appreciate it."

Asked, in a follow-up, whether he thought McCain's statements could be "chalk[ed] up to election politics," Snow replied, "I left the chalk at home."

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Donald Rumsfeld John Mccain R-ariz.