March 18th, 2009
05:46 PM ET
9 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. Jeanne H.

    Even with demonstrators who asked for him to be tried as a war criminal, and who asked people to bring shoes to throw at him? He's brave!

    March 18, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. Just Shut Up!

    People will somehow find a way to turn this against Bush.

    So you think Bush was an idiot, fine. But the man at least has decency. Something Obama and his junior high school spokesman Robert Gibbs don't.

    Obama will only start truly leading the country (not just his followers) once he stops campaigning. Of course, that will never happen.

    March 18, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |

    Are they "both" in a wheelchair?

    What other country, besides Canada would ever pay $400 for
    one of their speeches?

    March 18, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  4. walleye

    Of course Bush is silent. Thats the way it was for the last 8 years with Cheney running the show. Bush was just his puppet.

    March 18, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. Scott

    I have been watching the Senate Oversight Hearings this morning, while AIG Liddy described who the contracts have been for regarding giving out (Bonus Money) = Retention Bonuses to.

    It disturbes me greatly that he had mentioned Executives Oil Contracts who have been given these bonuses at that time of their departure. This to me is clearly and have been the undermining plans of the last Administration of Oil Executives.

    I also would like to know if those who received any of these bonuses worked in or for the White House Administration? I think that my best fears would be answered with a (Yes) answer.


    March 18, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  6. Evan

    Yes, be silent, George. We heard enough of your lies and dictatorial directives for 8 years. Now we have a president who's trying to undo YOUR mess.

    Besides, you know why it'd be better for you to be silent? It'd prove the old adage that it's better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. You proved for 8 years you had no clue what you were doing every time you opened your mouth.

    Learn from the past, even though I know you like to pretend that history didn't happen.

    March 18, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  7. Palin fan...NOT

    I wish Cheney would just go away. He thinks way to much of himself.

    March 18, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  8. martin fishman

    The only thing I want to hear from G.W. Bush is a vow to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth at the International Criminal Court at The Hague in answer to crimes of aggression regarding the invasion of Iraq and crimes against humanity regarding the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and the various secret prisons around the world. This is not to say Saddam Hussein wasn't a villain and a poor excuse for a human being...he most certainly was both. However, the U.S. had no business unilaterally taking military action. He, too, should have been criminally charged and extradited to The Hague for a proper trial.

    March 18, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  9. Brian Crooks

    This is probably the first smart thing President Bush has done in about a decade. While Dick Cheney is busy trying to scare the public into paralysis and sweating his fat face off trying to spin the Bush Administration into a resounding success, George is slinking into the shadows, trying to make us all forget about him.

    March 18, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  10. ken


    March 18, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  11. bob j

    former prez bush is right give prez obama and his new team time to right the ship vp cheney as a former publc servant should know this prez obama has been very respectful of the former administration it is time for all american to come together dems and repub alike and stand behind our prez

    March 18, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  12. Let me tell you a little story....

    When JFK was President, he asked the steel execs not to raise prices as it would hurt the economy--but the execs went ahead and did it anyway--so JFK sent the FBI to each of their houses in the middle of the night and guess what?-prices were rolled back-

    Were Obama not the woos he is, he too would have sent the FBI to the homes of the AIG execs and got those bonuses back--but this is not a strong leader and so Americans will suffer while the execs eat caviar-

    March 18, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. D. Sangiovanni

    This guy deserves only silence.

    March 18, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  14. Beth

    Hmmm...get the puppet (Bush) away from the master (Cheney) and he actually says something somewhat intelligent.

    March 18, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  15. Oh No, It's Barry-O

    At least Bush takes the high road, while Obama and Gibbs continue to think they are in a campaign and must disparage everyone else.

    March 18, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  16. Frank

    One needs credibility to have their criticism be considered valuable. Sorry dudes.

    March 18, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  17. AlanBTR

    President Obama deserves your silence? SO DO WE!

    March 18, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. Christian Louden

    It might be worth mentioning that Bush's speech was widely protested by local residents of Calgary. People were even launching shoes at effigies. I say this, because from the way this article was written, you'd think Bush had been welcomed with open arms here, and that certainly wasn't the case.

    March 18, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. Go KU!

    This is almost like watching a SNL skit. It is so absurd to think of the least academically inclined president we have had in several decades, who ran our economy and world wide reputation into the ground, giving one word of advice to one of the most articulate, academically gifted, and internationally respected presidents we have ever had. True to their White House personalities, Bush sounds like the laid back, ‘ah shucks-good ol cowboy’ idiot, while Cheney continues with his hateful, evil drivel. Both are so out of touch with the majority of Americans. I hope SNL does start a series on these two trying to give advice on how to get US out of the quagmire they put US in. At least they would be worth laughing at.

    March 18, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  20. Joan

    Palin and Cheney should BOTH learn a lesson from Bush when it comes to the public spotlight.

    March 18, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  21. Cheney is right....

    Obama is putting us in danger-–we've had no, zero, zip–terrorist attacks in almost 8 years thanks to Bush policies-but now we're going to treat terrorists with kid gloves and we will pay the price-

    No longer will all the Ticker readers sit comfortably in their little computer rooms typing trash all day but will be out buying armored cars and flak jackets so they can get to and from the sports bars safely-

    March 18, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  22. kayla

    stewart little said, he won't criticize president obama right now. can somebody remind this munchkin that he has us in this hell hole, and not president obama.

    March 18, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  23. New Day

    Obama: 'The buck stops with me'

    ummmmm... I'll take: "Stuff that Bush would've never said because he doesn't admit to making mistakes" for $1000, Alex!

    March 18, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. Al, California

    Blind belief in god and free market. Lunatics.

    March 18, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  25. Linda

    President Bush is one of the best presidents this nation will ever see. Thank God he had the courage and wisdom to know what to do after 9/11. I commend him for not commenting on Obama; more proof that he's a man of integrity unlike the Marxist.

    March 18, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
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