December 31st, 2009
09:53 AM ET
9 months ago

White House puts heat on 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 • President Obama
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