March 18th, 2009
05:46 PM ET
6 years ago

Bush, Cheney strike different post-White House tones

 Bush and Cheney have struck different tones since exiting the White House.
Bush and Cheney have struck different tones since exiting the White House.

(CNN) - Their public positions seemed largely in harmony for eight years, but George Bush and Dick Cheney are striking markedly different tones in their initial months away from the White House.

While the former vice president has been highly critical of the new administration - most recently in an interview with CNN's John King - the president has refrained from disparaging his successor, and is mostly ducking the national spotlight altogether.

Watch: Cheney tout Bush administration accomplishments

Tuesday night, in his first appearance of any kind in more than eight weeks, Bush told a friendly audience in Calgary, Alberta it would not be productive to criticize President Obama right now, saying the new commander-in-chief "deserves my silence."

"I'm not going to spend my time criticizing him. There are plenty of critics in the arena," the former president told the audience, according to the Associated Press.

The president also told the invitation-only crowd a policy of isolationism and anti-free trade is not the path out of the current economic turmoil.

"It's the risk-takers, not the government, that is going to pull us out of this recession," the former president said, according to the Calgary Herald. "My message to policy-makrs is don't substitute government for the marketplace. Don't become protectionist. I'm a free-trader to the core."

But overall, the president's demeanor in front of a friendly crowd was described as jovial.

"This is my maiden voyage," he said in his debut address on the speaking circuit. "I can't think of a better place to give it than Calgary, Canada."

Bush's first public appearance comes three days after his former No. 2 appeared on CNN's State of The Union, holding little back in sharply criticizing President Obama's national security polices and declaring the country has been made less safe.

Cheney, who still maintains an office in the outskirts of Washington, DC, has also publicly aired grievances with his former boss - specifically Bush's decision not to issue a pardon to former Cheney aide Scooter Libby.

"I believe firmly that Scooter was unjustly accused and prosecuted and deserved a pardon, and the president disagreed with that," he told CNN Sunday.


Filed under: President Bush • President Obama
soundoff (134 Responses)
  1. John

    Obama has been a great prez so far. He has got done more things in a month or so than Bush did in 8 years. The economy is back on track, and how long did it take Obama to fix it? Bush and McCain wouldn't even admit somthing was wrong with the economy.

    March 18, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  2. Evelyn Shobin

    Bush is a true Christian gentleman. God bless him and his family

    March 18, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  3. grammar man

    One of your quotations read:

    "It's the risk-takers, not the government, that is going to pull us out of this recession," the former president said, according to the Calgary Herald. "My message to policy-makrs is don't substitute government for the marketplace. Don't become protectionist. I'm a free-trader to the core."

    March 18, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  4. lefty loosy

    George Bush takes the high road .
    Can Jimmy Carter learn something from this ?

    March 18, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  5. bill

    Maybe, just maybe, Dick Cheney, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and the rest of their crew will hear and head this message.

    Nah! That's asking too much.

    March 18, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  6. tedious898

    I don't understand this ploy by the Bushco cabal. Is this an effort to raise hatred against a young president for trying to fix the problems caused by the previous administration? In other words, "UNLESS YOU SCREWING IT UP AS BAD AS WE DID, YOU'RE NOT DOING A GOOD JOB"

    Un Believable!

    March 18, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  7. JonDie

    George W. Who?

    March 18, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  8. Louis

    Since Cheney was the puppet-master for the disasterous administration of the clueless Bush, it makes sense that Cheney is spouting idiotic rhetoric and Bush is mute.

    March 18, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  9. Lisa

    Does anyone else notice the vast difference in demeanor and overall appearance in this picture? While Bush looks like a man who has completed his duty to the country and is ready to happily and healthily settle into private life, Cheney looks like a bitter, weak old man who is angry at the world. He looks rather Ebeneezer Scrooge-ish if you ask me. In spite of my own disagreement with the former president and his policies and my elation about the winds of change that have entered the White House, I'm curious how things might have gone had Cheney not been the VP, at least in the 2nd term. Maybe history would be kinder to Bush if that had been the case.

    March 18, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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