May 22nd, 2009
03:52 PM ET
7 years ago

First on The CNN Ticker: Ridge disagrees with Cheney

(CNN) - Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge told CNN former Vice President Dick Cheney's repeated charge the Obama administration has made the country less safe is wrong.

"Yeah, I disagree with Dick Cheney," the Pennsylvania Republican and former Bush administration official told CNN's John King, adding he does not think the country is more vulnerable to an attack under President Obama.

Ridge's comments come after both Obama and Cheney gave dueling speeches on national security, during which the president sharply condemned Bush administration interrogation practices while Cheney vigorously defended them.

In the interview with CNN, set to air in full on State of The Union with John King Sunday, Ridge said he disagrees with "the approach both men are taking."

"It's just the whole notion of a Republican vice president giving a speech after the incumbent Democratic president," he said. "It's gotta go beyond the politics of either party."

The former Pennsylvania governor also took issue with a portion of Obama's speech, during which he said some Bush national security decisions were based on "fear, rather than foresight."

"I'm surprised that President Obama, who I really, truly believe knows better, would make such a statement," said Ridge. "The men and women in charge of America's security, whether they're military, or the intelligence community - the president, the vice president, the attorney general, the FBI director - did everything they could at the time to prevent another attack on America. And did it consistent with the Constitution and the rule of law."

Ridge, who served as the country's first homeland security secretary in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, said he's "disappointed in the president" for spending time criticizing past actions of the Bush administration."

"He keeps looking backwards to justify what he's doing now and I don't think at the end of the day - I think that becomes more politics than policy, and I don't think it's the kind of approach that we need to bring America together on this very important issue," he said.

Filed under: Dick Cheney • Popular Posts • State of the Union • Tom Ridge
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