Really? Matt Lauer calls out Robert Gates over his attempt to downplay his criticisms of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and especially Joe Biden in his new memoirs, My Duty. Gates pronounced himself “disappointed” that people seized on quotes from the book for political purposes, but Lauer isn’t buying it:

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In an interview on NBC News’s “Today” show, host Matt Lauer asked if Gates has been surprised by the backlash to the book since excerpts were released last week.

“Not really surprised, but in a way disappointed that the book has sort of been hijacked by people along the political spectrum to serve their own purposes, taking quotes out of context…it’s part of the political warfare in Washington that I decry in the book,” he said in the live interview. …

He was seen wearing a neck brace after injuring his first vertebrae in a fall in his home recently.

Gates writes in his memoir Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War that President Obama doubted his strategy in Afghanistan. He also slammed Vice President Joe Biden’s foreign policy positions and praised former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The news media, Gates said, lost sight of the fact that he “actually agreed virtually on every decision President Obama made on Afghanistan.” He writes in his book that Obama questioned the war’s surge.

Last week, I warned against getting too far ahead of the story with the selected excerpts, and predicted that the context in the book would probably water them down. That’s essentially what Gates says here, too, except with an added patina of false shock. After all, Gates has been around long enough to know that including those anecdotes in his book would (a) attract immediate attention, and (b) sell lots of books. To sit in interviews and act surprised that a political book telling political anecdotes would get used in politics is … amusing, to say the very least.

And it’s worthy of the Captain Louis Renault Award, too:

Best wishes to Secretary Gates for a quick recovery as well.