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. demwit

    How ingnorantly arogant of him!!!

    March 18, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  2. Robin in SC

    This may be the only thing GWB has said or done that I respect him for...too little too late...but appreciated.

    March 18, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  3. spring

    maybe if you had used your own judgement more and less of cheney, we might be better off today.

    March 18, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. Clay

    Obama deserves Bush's silence and Bush deserves to go to jail, along with his henchman Cheney. That's the next thing I want to read on CNN.

    March 18, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  5. Brian

    Yea, if the risk takers got us into the mess, why can't they get us out? Bush said Obama deserves his silence, so do the rest of us. Can we please put this ugly chapter of our nation's history behind us and not ever hear about George W. Bush again? Please?

    March 18, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  6. miss b

    this comment is for if President Obama has "taken on too much". He absolutely has, and you know why? He is letting people's expectations get to him; instead of him just doing his job the way he knows how. People think they are God or something. It is not your right to say who is supposed to be President or not. We have lost sight that it is God's will that ALL things be done, everything that happens in life is relevant. Also, I am sick of people talking about Blacks and welfare. It is not just blacks that are on welfare! You are all hypocrits, because if you lose your job today you will turn to the government for help. YOur tax dollars contributed to that, you deserve a little help, you paid for it! White people just dont like the fact that they opposed it so much now they have to reap it! So what get over yourself, if its being handed out why not take it.

    March 18, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  7. Olumadunwa

    Who does this man think he is fooling? As if he even knows what he is talking about in the first place.

    March 18, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  8. Vietnam vet

    Kudos to dubya.

    March 18, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  9. john

    Bush should be relieved someone is cleaning up his mess. If I were him id go far far away

    March 18, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  10. reggie

    Nice job, Pres Bush. Unfortunately, Pres Obama often feels the need to criticize and blame you. I wish Pres Obama would spend more time working and less time talking.

    March 18, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  11. Laverne

    After the mess you have left this country in, of course he would say President Obama deserves his silence. And besides what else can he say when he is hoping and praying that his administration does not pursue prosecuting the last administration for war crimes among many other things. This is a no brainer!

    March 18, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  12. Shari, NY

    This is the most sensible utterance coming from Bush. Cheney needs to be quiet unless he is offering constructive criticism. If the nation is more at risk of terrorism it must be because he has free time to go hunting and missing his mark.

    March 18, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  13. Richard

    WOOAAAHHH GEORGIEEE, shouldnt you be clearing brush on your ranch?? Although you have made history mr bush, your words dont mean jack to me!

    March 18, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  14. Matt in Minneapolis, MN

    If anyone complains about what Bush said they're a moron who doesn't think rationally. But I guarantee that there will be the traditional Bush bashers out there.

    March 18, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  15. Carol Heinick

    Interesting!

    March 18, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  16. Ray Fisher

    Georgie knows very well that his butt is in the President's hands particularly as he visits other nations which could hold and prosecute him for war crimes, thus the President is his savior at present and he dares not antagonize his saviour. Georgie knows very well that he is on thin ice around the world since they will do more than simply throw shoes!!!

    March 18, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  17. Freed_From_W

    CANADA – Obama won't get this guy, WHY WAS HE NOT ARRESTED FOR IS WAR CRIMES!?

    It was a perfect opportunity...

    March 18, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  18. Eric

    History will judge George W. Bush as a better president than recognized in his time.

    March 18, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. Mark

    Bush doesnt need to worry. The liberal media isnt going to hold Bama responsible for anything he does or the campaign promises he doesnt do.

    March 18, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  20. Shucks

    It just shows that Cheney was the real president and Bush the puppet. How sad that Cheney hasn't shot himself yet while hunting. But there is always next time.

    March 18, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  21. Beth

    He seems to be doing much better as a regular citizen. Although I am very glad he is out of office, I wish him the best.

    March 18, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  22. Zee

    Even though he talked so much smack about you and your administration during his campaign?

    March 18, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  23. eugene taylor

    Regardless of "W" being one of the worst social and economical president, I will like to say this on his behalf, America needed a president with the kind of thick skin tha Mr. Bush showed. We may disagree with the human rights violations that his adm. took part in....America was not sitting around awaiting another Sept. 11. To that end I would love to thank President Bush for being a stand up guy. Just reading his approach to the new administration and the fact that he is not involving his self with the name calling and useless criticism of the new president...he chooses to be stand up and withhold criticisms. Man, he is really a stand up guy! Thank you "W" for the thick skin.....may god bless you!!

    March 18, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  24. Karen S Crow

    Former Pres. Bush is doing what Presidents should do .... keep their opinions about the current POTUS to themselves.

    I just wish someone would have told former Presidents Clinton & Carter that during Pres. Bush's time in office. It seemed as though it became a weekly thing for one or the other to bash Bush on one decision or another during his 8 yrs in office. Clinton & Carter are entitled to their opinions ... but they should have kept them to themselves.

    But as with most Dems/Liberals .... it's do as I say, NOT as I do.

    March 18, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  25. Christopher

    WOW

    March 18, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
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