WASHINGTON (CNN) – The former vice president Dick Cheney is slamming President Obama’s efforts to set a new tone for relations with the U.S. on the world stage.
“I guess I’ve been concerned the way that we’ve been presented overseas,” Cheney told Fox News host Sean Hannity Monday night. Cheney said he found it “disturbing” that the new president had gone overseas and seemingly apologized for past actions of the United States. “I think you have to be very careful. The world outside there - both our friends and our foes –will be quick to advantage of a situation if they think they’re dealing with a weak president or one who’s not going to stand up and aggressively defend America’s interests.
“The United States provides much of the leadership in the world. We have for a long time. I don’t think we’ve got much to apologize for.”
Just days after Obama shook hands and received a gift from Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, Cheney called the images of the encounter “not helpful.” “I think it sets the wrong standard,” Cheney added.
“The president’s got to provide leadership and I don’t want to be in a position where you don’t interact with your adversaries. I think you do need to do that but I think it’s got to be done properly. It’s got to be done under the right conditions. And it’s got to be made clear that you do distinguish between good guys and bad guys, between those who believe in democracy, who are friends and allies of the United States and those who don’t.”
Reacting to Obama’s controversial decision to release memos written by President George W. Bush's Justice Department that detailed the conditions under which high-level terror suspects could be harshly interrogated, the former vice president said he has formally asked the CIA to release more information about the interrogation program carried out by the Bush administration in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
“They didn’t put out the memos that show the success of the effort. There are reports that show specifically what we gained as a result of this activity. They have not been declassified. I’ve formally asked they be declassified now,” Cheney said Monday night.
Though Cheney criticized many of Obama’s policies, he made a point at the beginning of the interview of emphasizing that his differences with Obama were not personal.
“It’s important not to personally attack the new president,” Cheney said. “I’ve never done that.”
In an earlier interview, Cheney told CNN that he thought Obama’s policies had made the country less safe, a contention that was swiftly and repeatedly responded to by the new administration.