WASHINGTON (CNN) – Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, isn't exactly embracing Dick Cheney's high-profile defense of the Bush administration's national security tactics.
The Minority Leader was asked on Thursday if he thought it "frustrating" that Cheney is now at the forefront of the debate over the use of harsh interrogation techniques, given McConnell's remark in January that the GOP is free of the "political burden" of the Bush years.
"I didn't watch the vice president's speech," McConnell said. "I am here today reacting to the events of yesterday" - the Senate's overwhelming rejection of President Obama's request to fund the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison - "and to the president's speech."
He added: "Everybody's got an opportunity to have their say in this country."
McConnell's Republican counterpart in the House, John Boehner, was more convivial, calling Cheney's opinions "helpful to the debate."
"Dick Cheney is a private citizen and certainly entitled to his opinion," Boehner said at his weekly press conference, adding that he was "glad" to have Cheney as a member of the Republican Party.
"Listen, Dick Cheney has been around this town for the last 35 years, 40 years," Boehner said. "He knows how this town works, and frankly he's very knowledgeable when it comes to the strategies that the administration took with regard to dealing with this terrorist threat."