July 12th, 2009
08:25 PM ET
5 years ago

Timing of focus on Cheney, CIA 'very suspect' Matalin says


WASHINGTON (CNN) – A one-time aide to former Vice President Dick Cheney suggested Sunday that recent reports about Cheney and the CIA are a distraction designed to avert attention away from the policy struggles of the Obama administration.

Related: Cheney and alleged secret CIA program 'a problem,' Senator says

“This is very suspect timing,” Republican strategist and former Cheney adviser Mary Matalin said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “The president’s agenda is almost in shambles. His [poll] numbers are dropping. Isn’t it coincidental; they gin up a Cheney story.”

Matalin also said that the Executive branch has some authority under the nation’s intelligence laws to not disclose information to Congress under certain circumstances. “The more people that know, the more it leaks . . . and then the enemy knows what it is,” Matalin said of details about other intelligence programs that were leaked to the media.

“Every time they get in trouble . . . they dredge up a Darth Vader story,” Matalin also said, making a reference to past comparisons between Cheney and the villain in the “Stars Wars’ movies.

Matalin’s husband, Democratic strategist James Carville, disagreed with the suggestion that recent disclosures about Cheney by Obama’s CIA chief Leon Panetta were designed to distract attention away from other issues the Obama administration is dealing with right now. Both Matalin and Carville are CNN contributors.

Carville said Panetta is “a pretty fiercely independent guy.”

“I don’t think he’d be part of any kind of quote conspiracy to try to save the president’s agenda or anything like that.”

–CNN’s Christina McAusland contributed to this report.


Filed under: CIA • Dick Cheney • Extra • James Carville • Mary Matalin • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    Gee. Why isn't blabbermouth Cheney talking now?

    He's been running his mouth off ever since Obama has beenm president.

    Why is he not talking today?

    Cat got your tongue, Cheney?

    July 12, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  2. john from Kansas City

    The Republicans keep covering for their man Cheney. If he directed the CIA to lie to congressional leaders, then he needs to spend some time behind bars. How on earth can these people keep defending the last administration when they have left us with two active wars, an economy in depression, and a sham of a health care system, and no jobs. These rich cats stripped our country and profited at every turn, and everybody knows it.

    July 12, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  3. mike

    As transparent as a wool sock.

    July 12, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  4. Big Ed

    When Mary Matalin speaks, it looks like someone is holding doo-doo under nose! Maybe she is smelling the crap she is talking!

    July 12, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  5. Victory

    Lord have mercy, Obama's agenda isn't in shambles! And Mr Uncle Dick is the one who put his face on every camera that was turned on. Darth Vader has thrown his agenda in the news for ur information Ms James Carville. The Demo's have the right to inform the public the truth about mr creepy. The Cheney / Bush administration was a joke and we all know it.

    July 12, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  6. S.Positive

    No it is not suspect but let the TRUTH BE TOLD. He wanted the CIA to release those documents, remember so lets see as the beans gets spilled in drip drip fashion, what really happened in the last eight years...

    July 12, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  7. Zero.

    Is this Russian so stupid, you have to tell him what to say? How to thinK. He must be a real Stupid Russian. But still not as stupid as your Idiot Barack Obama

    July 12, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  8. S M R

    You Republicans say anything you want, Cheney is still a criminal and needs to be brought to justice.

    July 12, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  9. gl, Pittsburgh

    I don't care what the reason is behind this becasue it is time to air all and let the American People be the judge. Republcians love hiding all their corruptions and what to tear President Obama policy. Michael Jackson it start with the man in the mirrow if you want to make a better place. Repubicans it is time you look yourself in the mirrow and make that change.

    July 12, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  10. Charlie in Maine

    No he is no Darth Vader. Darth Vader was redeemed at the end of the trilogy. He is much more like the Emporer rotten to the core til the bitter end.

    July 12, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  11. blue county / red state

    Does Mary Matalin really think that the citizens of this country are that stupid? The "dumbing down" of America by the Republican Party is over and they keep trying to regurgitate the same ol' tricks over and over... UGH

    July 12, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  12. Leslie Agan

    And who would know more about diverting attention than members of the former Bush admin?

    July 12, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  13. John from California

    Suspect Timing? Did she think that the republican attorney general would investigate?

    Enough of the cover up, lets get to the truth!

    July 12, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  14. gl, Pittsburgh

    john from Kansas City July 12th, 2009 5:49 pm ET

    The Republicans keep covering for their man Cheney. If he directed the CIA to lie to congressional leaders, then he needs to spend some time behind bars. How on earth can these people keep defending the last administration when they have left us with two active wars, an economy in depression, and a sham of a health care system, and no jobs. These rich cats stripped our country and profited at every turn, and everybody knows it.

    DITTO!

    July 12, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  15. Ann

    Listen to your wife Carville. I liked you more when you put the right label on Richardson. You are a smart guy, just look closer at Mr. Obama.

    July 12, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  16. Reinstate Darwinism

    I hate Cheney. Hate is a strong word. However, he did what he had a right to do. The executive branch does not have to tell congress or anyone for that matter about certain programs. It's sad. It kind of sucks. It is neccessary for certain reasons. Did they abuse it? The program was non functional most of the time and extremely small...

    July 12, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  17. william Indianapolis

    Cheney is guilty of high crimes for orchestrating an invalid legal paper, one that was never reviewed by a court of law or independent lawyers, that was then used as a false defense of torture. He totally ignored the Geneva Conventions on waterboarding. Plus, he unduly influenced the CIA to lie to Congress!!!! And, since McCain knows that soldiers were acting on orders from high, why not reverse the convictions and demotions obtained against these soldiers when the Bush/Cheney administration was withholding evidence???

    July 12, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  18. AlwaysThinking

    We're not the former East Germany, where the Stasi spied on its own citizens, all in the name of "national security."

    We are the United States, with laws that everyone – including the Executive Branch – must obey.

    I don't care if Dick Cheney didn't want to follow the Constitution, it's still the law of the land – and this matter must be thoroughly investigated. If that reveals that the previous Administration was rotten all the way to the top, so be it. We're a big and strong enough country to handle the truth. Appropriate punishment for this kind of law-breaking will deter future elected officials from trampling on our laws.

    July 12, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  19. Not Making Up My Stuff to Suit My Agenda

    "The president’s agenda is almost in shambles"

    The GOP wishes this were true and they are doing the best they can to promote this, but saying it doesn't make it so.

    July 12, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  20. Andrew

    Oh please – like you can trust anything that comes out of Matalin's mouth? When they say it when his #s are up, they're creating a distraction. When someone says it when Obama's #s are up, they're a lier. When someone said it when Cheney was in office, they're traitors. Can anyone see through these Republican tactics?

    July 12, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  21. Steve in NYC

    Ha ha ha. She really pegged this one... anything to distract from the tanking economy... if there was wrong-doing, prosecute, please. Nothing would make me happier. Except for having a job.

    July 12, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  22. AlwaysThinking

    There's a huge difference between "looking forward, not back" and ignoring illegal behavior because it is uncomfortable to do so.

    These charges must be thoroughly investigated and those accused of crimes have their day in court.

    We need a Truth Commission, just as South Africa needed their Truth and Reconiliation Commission. That kind of honest accounting is what allows a country to truly more forward – without shutting the door on the past, so lessons can be learned from it.

    July 12, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  23. Rumsfeld

    Pres. Obama's agenda is not in shambles. I believe the President has been doing his job and the issues regarding Cheney were not "ginned" up by Obama. For god's sake Mary, wake up. Cheney has been lying all along. He threw former president Bush under the bus by manipulating the administration of justice and defense.
    I hope Cheney is revealed. No wonder he wanted Libby protected. Libby threw himself under the bus to protect Cheney.

    The GOP better get on board with an investigation into Cheney. It will be the only way they can separate themselves from him.

    July 12, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  24. RNC = FAIL

    No matter how the GOP wants to spin it or divert attention away from it, Dick Cheney should spend the rest of his life behind bars. Period. Don't drop the soap Dick.

    July 12, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  25. Really!?

    I can't say its intentional. But it surely will be used as a distraction to the ballooning debt, the non-stimulus bill, Climate Change Tax Bill, and the Health Care Entitlement. All of which spells, taxes, debt, big government, poor results, and campaign contributor payoffs.

    July 12, 2009 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
1 2