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. ines

    Cheney and Bush look nothing less than villains in that photo.

    March 18, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  2. S.M.R.

    One Clown, One Devil

    March 18, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  3. BusyMom

    I have always thought former president Bush seemed like a nice person (one you would want to have a beer with!), although I have also always disagreed with his policies. I believe that he was mostly controlled by those around him (like Cheney) who easily manipulated him into following their agenda. I admire former president Bush's grace at this time. Of course, evil Cheney is out there spewing his scare tactics as usual. If Cheney thinks that President Obama is on the wrong course, it solidifies my opinon that we are on the right course now!

    March 18, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  4. Zac

    Can't believe Bush actually called Obamas foreign policy "isolationist." They are exactly the same.

    March 18, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  5. Audie Strickland

    It is the risk takers(self serving ,greedy ,trickle down, @#$%^&*$)he is so proud of that got us in this mess.

    March 18, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  6. chris

    "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."

    makrs... liberal media, still trying to make bush look bad, but this time, via crappy editing.

    March 18, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. richard j

    i'm sure some libs will find SOME way to bash Bush for his comments but it just goes to show, Bush at the core is a good man who believes in the success of the United States

    March 18, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  8. Dan, TX

    "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.

    AIG is the best at taking risks, we should de-regulate and let them fix the economy!

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

    Bush knows if he started talking, people will remember his eight years, and Obama's approval ratings wil skyrocket as people compare the difference.

    March 18, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  10. maf

    Former President Bush spoke to 400 of Calgary's "republican" establishment, who were berated by protesters in the lineup to get in.
    Bush was not welcome the last time he visited Canada and didn't appear to be welcome this time.

    Not surprising, Bush picked the Canadian Texas to make his first public speaking engagement. Don't know how much he made from the event, but there would be no reason for him to bite the hand that feeds him now. As for Cheney, no amount of time in front of an audience or camera will help him atone for his life in and around the white house.

    March 18, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. nann

    All I ever want out of George Bush is silence

    March 18, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  12. JA/TN

    Cheney is probably a bit senile, as to why he is running his mouth

    March 18, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. pauldia

    Bush may not and probably does not respect the current occupier of the oval office. However he has nothing but respect for the office itself. Juxtapose his behavior with that of the current sad sack of a press secretary. The current group of kinder kids will make many feel nostalgic for the adults of the previous administration. Bush, while politically pillaried as "dumb", never needed to have a security blanket for every speaking occasion. What you saw is what you got. Obama makes every effort to choreograph his appearances and mask his true incompetence. Well, the abscess in the boil is beginning to show through the makeup

    . "And I will always be honored to carry a title that means more to me than any other: citizen of the United States of America."

    George Bush Farewell Adresss

    March 18, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  14. Michael from Texas

    The Former President at least can give The sitting President respect, unlike his ignorant Ex VP. I applaud the effort Mr. G.W. I think Mr. Bush should just live in quietness and meekness as he is doing. All former Bush employees should do the same, starting with Mr. "Brokeback" Cheney.

    March 18, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. Briana the college student

    George W.H. Bush is being wise this time.

    March 18, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. Watchful Cowboy

    Seems the President of the USA would say the best place for his maiden voyage is good ole USA.......strange?

    March 18, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. SHIRLEY "60"

    And Bush and Cheney's free-wheeling, free-trading foolish ways are mainly responsible for this mess the majority of us find ourselves in the middle of. If those two idiots can still say that government intervention is necessary when things are as bad as they are, then heaven help us. Thank God we don't have longer term limits on our presidents and vice presidents and their administrations. We should limit them to 4 years, and impose 10 year terms limits on congress with no pensions being allowed. There are too many relics serving in both houses. Afterall, they are supposed to be doing a service for the American people, and if they want to be elected they should only be paid a salary which increases with cost of living like the rest of us. I believe that would keep fresh ideas and changes being put forth by the congress and cut down on the hateful behaviour that is now so ingrained in them, particularly the republicans.

    March 18, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  18. Cdog

    "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."

    The Great Depression followed a almost three decade streak of GOP presidential control, culminating with Hoover, whom held the attitude that George W Bush describes so well above. The only exception to this control, was Woodrow Wilson.

    Now we find ourselves at the end of an almost three decade GOP presidential control (1980-2008), with the only exception being Bill Clinton. Funny we happen to find ourselves in the worst economic crises since the Great Depression!

    I wonder if George W. Bush's "free market" ideology is fundamentally flawed.

    March 18, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  19. Shermani

    I used to work for President Bush, and I will tell you right here and now, that he is saying plenty about the Messiah away from the microphones, and out of the interviews. George W. Bush may not be the most popular president in U.S. history, but he is a man of his word. He will not stoop to the level of our friends across the aisle and take pop shots at the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

    My prediction is that 43 is sitting back at his new home in Dallas, watching the horrific events taking place and saying to himself.......... the American public wanted change, and now they have it. Enjoy!

    March 18, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    Not suprising from the Scarecrow and Tinman. Bush had a heart, but he just had no brain. Cheney has a brain, but he has no heart.

    March 18, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. wally

    Bush is a very respectful person...
    ...I wish more would give him the respect he not only deserves, but the respect he has earned. For God's sake, he was the "president" of our great country...

    March 18, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  22. Greg

    i'm glad former president bush is keeping his away from president obama and not criticizing him like other republicans are doing but it never said in the article that if he agrees with the stimulus bill or the war in Iraq and Afghanistan the one former president started but all n all it was a very Ok'd comments by the former president i wish all the best in the near future the life after the presidency.

    March 18, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  23. Jo

    Remember Bush, no one cares what you think or say or don't say. You got us into this mess so please don't ever start to criticize or lay blame. You have your lap dog Chenny do that for you.

    March 18, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  24. Steve

    It's not going to work, George. You cannot rewrite history by giving speeches. The audience at Calgary was, as is usual for you, hand-picked, so that no one would challenge you. The press was not allowed to film or record your speech. Only hand-written notes were allowed. Outside the arena, there were hundreds of people protesting your very presence in Canada. Canada's legislature was trying to decide whether to ban you from the country all together.

    Obama deserves your silence. So does the rest of the world. The best thing you can do now is what any good lawyer would advise anyone who is teetering on indictment. Keep your mouth shut, keep out of sight, and stay in the United States. Travel outside the country opens you up to being arrested for war crimes by the country you are in.

    Good luck, George. History will remember you as the most pathetic, disasterous president in modern times. You cannot change that with speeches or with your characteristic smirk. Good bye.

    March 18, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  25. America

    Do not get the American people started on what George Bush deserves from us and vice versa.

    March 18, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
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