December 30th, 2009
06:25 PM ET
3 months ago

White House forcefully responds to Cheney

The White House is responding forcefully to former Vice President Dick Cheney's comments Wednesday that are sharply critical of President Obama's response to the botched terror attack on Christmas Day.
The White House is responding forcefully to former Vice President Dick Cheney's comments Wednesday that are sharply critical of President Obama's response to the botched terror attack on Christmas Day.

(CNN) - The White House is responding forcefully to former Vice President Dick Cheney's comments Wednesday that are sharply critical of President Obama's response to the botched terror attack on Christmas Day.

"It is telling that Vice President Cheney and others seem to be more focused on criticizing the Administration than condemning the attackers," White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer wrote on the White House's official blog. "Unfortunately too many are engaged in the typical Washington game of pointing fingers and making political hay, instead of working together to find solutions to make our country safer."

The response comes hours after Cheney delivered a blistering statement saying the administration's response is proof that the president "is trying to pretend we are not at war."

"He seems to think if he gives terrorists the rights of Americans, lets them lawyer up and reads them their Miranda rights, we won't be at war," Cheney said in the statement. "He seems to think if we bring the mastermind of 9/11 to New York, give him a lawyer and trial in civilian court, we won't be at war. He seems to think if he closes Guantanamo and releases the hard-core al Qaeda-trained terrorists still there, we won't be at war."

Cheney also said Obama outwardly "pretends we aren't [at war]," and the former vice president repeated his months-long criticism that the new president has made America "less safe."

In his blog posting Wednesday, Pfeiffer writes the Bush-Cheney strategy of focusing on Iraq led to a strengthened al-Qaeda on the boarder region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and maintained it is President Obama's new policy of focusing resources on the war in Afghanistan that has made the country more safe.

"To put it simply: this President is not interested in bellicose rhetoric, he is focused on action," Pffiefer writes. "Seven years of bellicose rhetoric failed to reduce the threat from al Qaeda and succeeded in dividing this country. And it seems strangely off-key now, at a time when our country is under attack, for the architect of those policies to be attacking the President."

Pfeifer also takes issue with the former vice president's contention that Obama "pretends we aren't at [war]," saying the president and members of his administration have referred to being at war with al Qaeda several times.

"There are numerous…public statements that explicitly state we are at war," writes Pfeifer. "The difference is this: President Obama doesn't need to beat his chest to prove it, and – unlike the last Administration – we are not at war with a tactic ("terrorism"), we at war with something that is tangible: al Qaeda and its violent extremist allies. And we will prosecute that war as long as the American people are endangered."


Filed under: Dick Cheney • Extra • President Obama
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Ron

    Hmmm. After 9/11 George Bush initiated a "war on terror" and calling these extremist what they are: Islamic Terrorist. Since 9/11 not one more attack on U.S. soil. Then Obama is elected and terrorism is now "man-made catastrophes", spends all his time pushing Health Care/Cap and Tax, threatens to criminally charge CIA agents for "torture", wants to close Gitmo, and shakes hands with Chavez and Castro. And now we are surprised of another terrorist attack? The presidents primary responsibility is protection of the country. Let's focus on that for a little while......

    December 30, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  2. dick delson

    why does anyone pay attention to anything Chaney says? he should be brought up on conspiracy charges and if found guilty, JAILED.

    December 30, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  3. rlp

    it's cheney and others from the bush regime that should be put on trial for terrorism against the USA. they are just EVIL men !

    December 30, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  4. Ignorant Liberal

    Ametuer hour in the white house. What a disgrace to the presidency.

    December 30, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  5. Gary in Portsmouth, VA

    Well put Mr. Pfeifer. "The difference is this: President Obama doesn't need to beat his chest to prove it, and – unlike the last Administration – we are not at war with a tactic ("terrorism"), we at war with something that is tangible: al Qaeda and its violent extremist allies. And we will prosecute that war as long as the American people are endangered."

    I just hope the rest of America get's it. I am glad we don't have a President with a fast food mentality. I love intelligent well thought out decisions. There safe and reduces the possibilities of undue, unnecessary harm.

    December 30, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. Tami

    Seems all Obama does is blame and criticize the former administration, why should he take offense when they do the same? You think after a year in the White House he'd have gotten a little more thick skinned.

    December 30, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    During the Bush Administration, anyone who criticized them or Bushs's policies or actions were accused of being un-American, un-patriotic, aiding the terrorists, anti-Go and every other nasty thing they could think of.

    The GOP and their lackeys' willingness to so readily criticize President Obama and his Administration proves that Cheney and the GOP will do and say anything to try to make our president and our country fail.

    Despicable hypocrites, all!

    GOP = Party Before Country

    December 30, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. will

    Cheney is irrelevant and senile!!! I wish we could just ignore him. But his hate, evil spirit, and divisiveness is dangerous. He's a republican terrorist!

    December 30, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  9. Maria S.

    Pfeifer's statements are bunk. We are at war with Terrorism of which al Qaeda is a part. What a lame presidency we have. They have done nothing except expand their social agenda and our national debt.

    I hope the repubs get their act together and throw these losers out of office.

    December 30, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  10. Jim Keuer

    Please tell the "Dick" to crawl back into his hole. What an awful excuse for a human being!

    December 30, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. concerned

    Hey Mr. President, continue your vacation. Have you ever noticed that you are nothing in America, because everyone seems to know better than you. There is no emergency that calls for your return. I am sure when necessary, you will be our President standing and making the proper decisions. It would be strange if this country worked together. As for Chainlink or whatever his name is, we are not at war with a country, but with an idea. This idea is because the USA has long tried to tell others what they can and cannot do. Those religious wars have been going on long before America became a nation. A Democracy is not for all. President Jefferson said that Democracy is nothing more than mob rule, and it is because in a democracy, if one side has one more vote, then they win.

    December 30, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  12. judy

    I am reassured by the WH communications director's sane, on point response to Cheney's "bellicose rhetoric". The Obama administration respects the intelligence of the American public and refuses to pander to base instincts...unfortunately, pandering to ignorance and thoughtless, knee jerk reactions was the Cheney/Bush mantra. Thankfully for us all, those days ARE OVER.

    December 30, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  13. Dimslie

    Gee, and after Obama and the other Dims were so nice to George Bush.

    December 30, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  14. Brad

    Cheney thinks Americans are stupid. It's the only explanation for this. He's so desperate for validation that he's wishing attacks on America.

    Obama just escalated the war in Afghanistan. Does Cheney think that those extra troops are imaginary? Why do all the mainstream media outlets take garbage like this and pretend that it's valid?

    December 30, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  15. Jon Skillings

    Proving once again that Obama is in over his head. Perhaps if he had more experience in government before he conned the electorate with his public speaking abilities we wouldn't have this constant stream of mistakes. Oh, Homeland Insecurity Secretary needs to go.

    December 30, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  16. Barbara Indpendent in NY

    No one promotes fear better than someone that was too afraid to serve in Vietnam. This man is the biggest COWARD on the planet.

    December 30, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    Bush and Cheney's response to 9/11 was to tell everyone to go shopping ... And talk about pretending! Bush and Cheney wanted us to believe invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 wouldn't take long, would pay for itself and would cost very few American lives!

    Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Limbaugh, Norquist, Rove, Gingrich and all the other Chicken Hawks are the ones who were and are naive, arrogant and lacking in the smarts to keep us safe!

    December 30, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  18. Simple Words

    Note to Dick Cheney, et al: "Yeeee Ha!" is still not a substitute for a sound foreign policy...

    December 30, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  19. Newman

    Its funny, they never make an honest statement about the health care bill that no one wants, and how they sold out with bribe's to get there "screw the nation bill". But if someone Like Dick C makes a comment, that's worth addressing. Can't wait for this admin to leave the white building !

    December 30, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  20. ender

    I agree.

    Just look at what Cheney has to say. Most of it is the same old GOP political talking point. And it really humors me that Cheney pretends Obama thinks we are "not at war" after our president has decided to escalate the offensive in Afgahnistan. And thanks to Obama we can now go into Pakistan. Something denied to the Bush administration.

    Then he brings up Gitmo. MOST of the prisoners in Gitmo were not Al Quadea but simply enemy combatants who fought against our army while it invaded Iraq.

    Cheney needs to get his facts straight.

    December 30, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  21. xo

    to Gary in Portsmouth, VA
    yea BHO tucks hes tail between his legs

    "There safe and reduces the possibilities of undue, unnecessary harm."

    for who the Terrorist?

    December 30, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  22. Joe Fattal

    We are not really at war. We try to fight terrorism but we doing it on their own grounds, and we are losing it. We need to fight terrorism right here on our own grounds where we have a better chance to stop them.

    December 30, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  23. Razorback

    Let the hate begin.....

    December 30, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  24. John

    Obama is stumbling....

    December 30, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  25. LiLa

    Yes! It's time for Cheney and his ilk to sit down and shut up. I've never been a Bush fan but I do respect him for his restraint in public commentary since he left office. Cheney would do well to follow the former President's lead....for once.

    December 30, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
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