March 18th, 2009
05:46 PM ET
5 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. Shadysider

    Bush = Vader
    Cheney = The Emperor

    Vader was remoreseful in the end. He knew he did wrong. The emperor just wanted to turn everyone to the dark side.

    March 18, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  2. norma wilkinson

    Considering his performance as president,I ˆfind it audacious that George Bush would presume to give advice to President Obama.I think it's time for both he and Cheney to just disappear into the woodwork.It seems that they are both working at leaving a legacy of some sort, but their legacies have already been written and they are anything but flattering.

    March 18, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  3. VPDesign

    Yes W's good at ...ducking the spotlight, accountability and any thrown shoes! LOL

    March 18, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. Really?

    This is the smartest thing Bush has ever said in regard to the presidency!

    March 18, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  5. Chris

    You got a type there. "policy-makrs." Just thought you'd like to know. k thx bai

    March 18, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. John Anthony

    The entire world deserves permanent silence from Bush and Cheney. On ALL topics except their guilt in unconstitutional practices and war crimes.

    March 18, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. Republican comedy

    That is the smartest thing Bush has actually said. Well done.

    March 18, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  8. Chut Pata

    Well we always knew Bush was a puppet of Cheney. Now that chain is broken, the gentleman face of real Bush who got my vote in 2000 has emerged. Also, the evil face of real Cheney, who committed crimes hiding behind Bush, is finally emerging.

    March 18, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  9. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    war criminals should be strung up in public

    March 18, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  10. Saad from NJ

    I think President Bush is a good person at heart... as for screwing up our country, I don't blame him. I blame the people who elected him, especially the 2nd time.

    As for Cheney, this guy is what you call an evil in a man's body.

    March 18, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  11. sick n tired of being a victim of Nazi CNN moderators

    I beleive free trade is good. I just don't think George Bush's version of free trade is.

    March 18, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  12. Di

    Bush is showing how a President acts!!!

    March 18, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  13. Pat F

    Bush was always courteous and collegial. Cheney never was.

    March 18, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  14. Maggie

    If only George hadn't been so easygoing and concilitory when he was the President. I'm glad that he recognizes that his opinion is clearly unneccessary now that he's not CiC, I appreciate that he's unwilling to be critical... but he's a sideshow and always has been.
    The aptly-named Dick Cheney, however, can shut up and shack up with Rush Limbaugh until Lucifer comes to collect. He'll have a toasty seat next to Jerry Faldwell in Hell.

    March 18, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  15. Ray

    Bush is a dunderhead. Taking the high road is all well and good, but when Obama needs to be criticized Bush should stand up and yell. That time is NOW.

    March 18, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  16. Ex-Republican

    Bush and Cheney, if allowed, would have sowed upon the population of this world a genocide worse then that of Hitler. Their goal and beliefs were that nobody stood above them, and suspicion and/or insecurity was reason enough to eradicate any and all forms of life.

    March 18, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  17. meh

    What exactly would he criticize, anyway, after his eight years of total FAIL? At least he's smart enough not to open his mouth. I'll give him that, anyway.

    March 18, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  18. david Armendale, SF, CA

    the old "good cop, bad cop" approach, eh?

    Firstly, saying Obama deserves his silence is NOT being silent. It's pure political posturing. Bush is so despised and distrusted here in the US and in Canada, that his criticism of Obama especially coming off the recent images of Bush and Obama cordial encounters would be seen as hypocritical and be met with even more anger and derision than his so-called silence. For Bush to speak out against Obama would only increase Obama's stock value, and lower that of the gutter sniping REpubs.

    March 18, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  19. Mississippi Mike

    No big surprise. Cheney is opinionated and free-thinking so it's understandable that he didn't always agree with Bush and that he absolutely disagrees with Obama. To me, a good number 2 is someone who has dissenting opinions from time to time and can bring fresh perspectives to the table. That's why Joe Biden is such a worthless puppet.

    March 18, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  20. Chipster

    Good riddance to Darth Cheney! I believe he was the driving force for the Bush Administration's abuse of power and exploitation of the 9/11 attacks. Libby probably did take the fall for Cheney and Rove. What a shame the real traitors were never brought to justice for exposing a patriot; a covert CIA operative; for what appears to be purely political payback!

    We will never know how much money or how many lives were lost because of this betrayal. And Bush thinks history will be kind to his Administration?!

    Doe anyone really believe that Armitage kept quiet for nearly two years, watching Libby's conviction, and never spoke out until he wrote his book? Armitage was never charged for exposing a CIA agent. Gee, maybe the prosecutors didn't believe it either.

    March 18, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  21. Sammy

    This shows what we have known all along. President Bush is at core a good decent person while Cheney is pure evil.

    March 18, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  22. eric in texas

    A 500 post Bush bashing thread begins in 3, 2, 1...

    March 18, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  23. Stream Of Consciousness

    Wow...I can't believe I'm saying this as much as I despise that man but kudos on him for keeping his mouth shut. I am guessing some of that has to do with his culpability in much of this mess we're in.

    For quite possibly only the 2nd to 3rd time in history...G'Dub and I agree. Stop the presses!!

    March 18, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  24. Barry in Maryland

    I agree with Bush. He should keep his opinions to himself. He ans his administration have done enough damage to last for generations.

    March 18, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  25. GWB2012

    ISN'T THIS SOMETHING? OUR FORMER PRESIDENT OF EIGHT YEARS IS STILL TALKING ABOUT HOW TO MAKE OUR COUNTRY GREAT AND THE GOOFBALL IN CHARGE NOW IS PICKING HIS NCAA TEAMS. PRETTY MUCH SAYS IT ALL!

    VIVA BUSH!

    March 18, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
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