March 29th, 2009
03:13 PM ET
14 years ago

Diplomat blows off Cheney dig at Obama

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A senior diplomat in the Obama administration Sunday challenged former Vice President Dick Cheney’s assessment of the new administration’s ability to keep the country safe.

Cheney was asked two weeks ago on CNN’s State of the Union whether he thought President Obama had made the country less safe since taking office. “I do,” Cheney told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. “He is making some choices that, in my mind, will, in fact, raise the risk to the American people of another attack,” the former vice president added.

But U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke, a senior diplomat in Obama’s State Department, said Sunday that he didn’t understand where Cheney was coming from with his criticism.

“I don’t have a clue what he’s talking about,” Holbrooke said,

“We are treating Afghanistan and Pakistan as a single theater. We are going to address it in an integrated way. We are going to give it more resources. And that is where the people planning the next attack on the United States or on our European allies are certainly doing it. So I just do not understand what his comments were referenced to.”

Gen. David Petraeus, echoed Holbrooke. “You served in the Bush administration under Vice President Cheney and President Bush,” King said to Petraeus. “You're now serving in the Obama administration. Are the American people less safe because of this new president?” King asked

“I wouldn’t necessarily agree with that,” the U.S. CENTCOM commander said Sunday.

soundoff (180 Responses)
  1. Chipster

    Staff Sergeant of Marines:

    Did Obama free "terrorists?" Or did he free people who were picked up in sweeps and held without any just cause? We'll never know. Nor will we ever know how many of them will be grateful to finally be released or how many, who weren't terrorists, will seek revenge for the unjust treatment and torture. Those were dark days for America, when fear and anger caused too many of us to remember that who WE are doesn't depend on who THEY are.

    March 29, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  2. Joan , Ontario

    Every time past VP Cheney opens his mouth, he reminds everyone how he and Pres. Bush did so much damage to your country and to its reputation. Why didn't John King ask him about all of the Iraq contracts that went to Haliburton and where the billions of dollars are that went missing? When he says that his administration kept your country safe does he forget that 911 happened on their watch? What about the 4500 Americans killed in Iraq and the other thousands who have been emotionally and physically wounded? Don't they count? They may not have been killed on US soil but they are certainly brave Americans. Mr. Cheney and the other Republican leaders seem to think if they say these outlandish statements often enough that people will believe it. On the contrary, it just reminds people how hypocritical they all are. Now Pres. Obama has to finally put the emphasis where it should have been all along. The people who caused 911 were not from Iraq but were from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Please Mr. Cheney. Just go duck hunting or something.

    March 29, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  3. Maeb

    Cheney applied for and received six draft deferments when he became eligible for the draft during the Vietnam war. I just don't understand why he's thought of as an expert in these matters (as opposed to, say, McCain, who generally supports Obama's policy in the Middle East)–unless showing oneself to be a very violent and angry man is somehow evidence of military expertise. (And I have too much respect for those who serve our country in the military to believe that.) Seriously, who is listening to this guy anymore? The only reason the MSM keeps harping on the subject is because they can rely on Cheney to give them some juicily divisive and partisan quotes every time.

    March 29, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  4. Syed S Anam

    Dick Cheney should not only be indicted but also be chained and gaged without further loss of time !

    March 29, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  5. DEM in HI

    Yep, Cheney is always good for a good laugh. He was so lucky that he was not impeached for all of the unconstitutional things he did. I wish he would just shut up and go away. Him and Bush were the worst President and Vice President that we have ever had.

    March 29, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  6. w.l. jones

    We gave the Taliban an incentive to attack us by swicth side now we are saying we are listing and will make decision on basic of there action.

    March 29, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  7. Bob (Illinois)

    The former VP should be given a reserved cell in any number of federal prisons.

    March 29, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  8. worriedmom

    I think it is way too early for all you Obamaots to start defending our National Security. Amazing when 911 happen how together our country was and no one was worried about whether you were a Democrat or Republican but now we have our own war waging here in the U.S. It is all the hate that people are spewing at one another. I know Bush wasn't perfect by any means but it seems to be ever since Obama has been elected he has served his purpose well, to divide and conquer.

    March 29, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  9. David

    I think Cheny is trying to set himself up for a run at President. That's why he wants to try to stay relevent. Can you imagine Cheney and Palin running the country? We would be bombing and torturing the whole world in the 1st year.

    March 29, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  10. Miss Lead

    This scumbag should not be given the chance to speak in public. Republicans have lost credibility in internal economic matters and in foreign policy. They had eight years to do the right thing but instead they drove the country down to the pits. Time to give the new administration the chance to undo the damage.

    Miss Lead

    March 29, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. Peter

    Hey staff sargent. Gitmo is still open. (For now). And Obama has freed no one yet. Bush did

    March 29, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  12. Jamey

    What Dick Cheney knows about "making America safe" wouldn't fill a thimble.

    March 29, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  13. dickster

    Saying Bush kept us safe since 9/11 is analagous to a golf game and taking a "mulligan."

    March 29, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  14. Jenn, Philadelphia

    I think your title is misleading. "Diplomat blows off Cheney"? If that were true, why are they still responding to him 2 weeks later? I think maybe he struck a nerve and they feel the need to continually defend themselves.

    March 29, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  15. John

    Give Rip van Cheney a break. He's still blinded and confused after spending the last 8 years hiding underground in a bunker. ....

    March 29, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  16. Fred the Moderate

    chenney's motive is single minded. He wants to be some corporations ceo or board chairman. He will stop at nothing to get his tarnished reputation shinnied up. It was, after all, under his watch along with the clueless bush, when the USS Cole was attacked in the first 60 days and then 9-11 leaving more American's dead on American soil than any time sense the civil war. It was under his watch that well over 1000 Americans died because of slow and no action during Katrina.
    His role in pushing an illegal war with Iraq killed more than 4,200 more Americans and over 100,000 Iraqi's per the US Gov. last count.
    The guys a ghoul with ambition. Very, Very Dangerous

    March 29, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  17. independent wonderer

    is this a joke ??? I do not and never did feel safer under bush ! I still wonder if HE was part of the problems, and glad yto see Spain investigating..we should do the same, and for sure Chaney should be IN jail !

    March 29, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  18. Desmond

    The decisions that made the USA and the world less safe were actually made by Cheney and company. Obama is trying to CHANGE that.

    March 29, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  19. JimC

    Cheney is spot-on and its sad that too many clueless people use CNN as a continual bash-fest platform against the previous administration.

    Wake up Americans!

    March 29, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  20. MLH

    Geez, yeah. I know I felt a lot safer with Bush and Cheney in charge. After all they paid attention to all the warnings about terrorist attacks – oh, wait, except for that whole 9/11 thing. And they made us so much safer by spreading our military thin between two theaters, bankrupting our nation, and dragging everyone except their rich buddies into an economic nightmare.

    Come to think of it, I'll take my chances with President Obama...

    March 29, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  21. Bruce from Pasadena

    I only found out recently that Dick Cheney is a Sith code name for Darth Sidious. Sure wish we had known about that long ago.

    March 29, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  22. A Realistic Conservative

    How were his comments a "dig" at President Obama? They seemed like honest concerns (although perhaps unnecessary) about the security of our nation. Perhaps CNN could make a concerted effort to cut back on sensationalist media coverage.

    March 29, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  23. yeah riightt

    What Cheney is talking about..........
    s that we've had no attacks on U.S. soil for almost 8 years because Bush did things the right way …..

    Obama, by closing Guantanamo, and coddling the terrorists, will embolden Al Qaeda to attack again—–

    Buy your armored cars today….

    Uh Huh and the sky is falling too. Be afraid be very very afraid:) ROTFLMAO

    March 29, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  24. Shermani

    Cheney is speaking from experience, not something he read in one of the liberal rags. I would absolutely hate to see America attacked again, and I am 150% certain that former VP Dick Cheney feels the same way. Everyone should let go of partisan politics, and focus on the safety and well being of all Americans.

    March 29, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  25. Jean Jolicoeur (Plantation)

    How did the Bush/Chenney policies make the country safer? They are doing as if the country has been attacked every year or so during the years when democrats were in power. Then, they came in and stopped another attack.

    It is hard to think the way Republicans do. I am not sure what part of their brain they use for the thinking process. They have no way to prove there was another attack in the making that they managed to prevent from happening.

    I want Dick Chenney to do a much better job explaining that to me and the rest of the country. I am not buying wha he's selling right now.

    March 29, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
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