Transcript: Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and Sec. of Defense Robert Gates Speak to Cynthia McFadden

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GATES: I have problems with people who are self-serving, with people who are willing to make compromises just so they can stay in the jobs they have, and not just compromise, because Washington works on -- Democratic government works on compromises. But I mean doing things that are not necessarily in the best interest of the country. And I'm talking about the whole shooting match.

McFADDEN: Republicans, Democrats?

GATES: Both branches of government. I mean both the Republic -- both the Congress and the executive branch. I probably made some of those compromises myself. But I just do feel that the place is a little out of touch. But the other thing is I've read a lot of history, and I know that the things that annoy me about Washington have been characteristic of the place since the beginning of the Republic! So that gives me comfort in terms of looking at the future.

GATES: I think we're gonna be just fine.

McFADDEN: You do?

GATES: I do. I absolutely do.

McFADDEN: Knowing what you know?

GATES: I think, the way I've expressed it is that history's dustbin is littered with countries and powers that have underestimated the United States and our power of recovery. We have been through many tribulations. We are the most self-critical nation in the world, and we are the most quickly self-correcting. And you can see it right now. And and we're gonna be just fine. I absolutely believe that.

Joint Interview with Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and Sec. of Defense Robert Gates

McFADDEN: Thank you both. I came over on your plane, I'm going home on your plane. His is bigger.

CLINTON: [laughter] I'm not surprised!

GATES: Proportionate to the budget.

CLINTON: I don't know. He has a plane with no windows. Did you bring the no window plane?

GATES: Yes, yes, yes.

McFADDEN: The Doomsday plane. I told . . .

GATES: . . . It's like being FedEx'ed around the world.

CLINTON: [laughter] Did you get scanned and screened?

McFADDEN: Well that's a good point. You know, historically the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense have not exactly been best buddies. Fair to say?

GATES: More than fair to say.

McFADDEN: So I'm interested in the relationship that the two of you have forged over the last couple of years.

CLINTON: We didn't get the memo about how we were supposed to be diametrically opposite on everything. And in fact we've had, both of us, the experience of former Secretaries of Defense and Secretaries of State and former National Security Advisors sort of shaking their head in wonder, like you guys are not not in the groove here. You're supposed to be constantly at each other's throat. It's been, for me, a real pleasure to work with Bob, and to find that we have a lot in common. We have different ah experiences that we bring to the table. But I think we have a very, a very common view about some of the national security challenges we face.

McFADDEN: Well do you share a sort of world view, do you think? Is that the basis of the relationship?

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