April 6th, 2009
09:20 AM ET
14 years ago

Cheney's comments draw heat

(CNN) - Top Obama adviser David Axelrod sharply criticized Dick Cheney's recent contention that the president's national security policies have made the country less safe, suggesting the former vice president is not behaving like a "statesman."

[President Bush] has behaved like a statesman," Axelrod told CNN's John King on State of the Union regarding the former president's decision not to criticize the new administration. "And as I've said before, here and elsewhere, I just don't think the memo got passed down to the vice president."

In an interview on State of The Union last month, Cheney said the president’s decision to reverse a series of the Bush policies with respect to the war on terror was putting the country's national security at risk. (Video below)

"I think those programs were absolutely essential to the success we enjoy, of being able to collect the intelligence that let us defeat all further attempts to launch attacks against the United States since 9/11," he said then. "I think it's a great success story. It was done legally, it was done in accordance with our constitutional practices and principles…"

But in the interview Sunday, Axelrod suggested the Bush Administration terrorism policies had largely failed.

"I find it supremely ironic, on a day when we were meeting with NATO, to talk about the continued threat from al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where they're still plotting against us eight years - or seven years later," he said. "I think the question for Mr. Cheney is, how could that be? How could this have gone so long? Why are they still in business?"

Cheney's blunt criticisms of Obama have differed markedly with comments for President Bush, who in a recent speech said the new president "deserves my silence."

"I'm not going to spend my time criticizing him. There are plenty of critics in the arena," the former president said during a speech in Canada last month.

Filed under: David Axelrod • Dick Cheney • President Obama
soundoff (111 Responses)
  1. shucks

    Why do we even care what this moron thinks? Like he was soooo great in his administrations accomplishments. He is the one primarily responsible for the counties dire straights. He should be in jail along with the puppet master Bush.

    April 6, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  2. Expat American

    The real estate between Former Vice President Cheney and 'almost' Vice President Palin is a vast expansion of land.

    The cowardly thug insider versus the trailer park pageant queen outsider.

    Hard to believe these two are even from the same party.

    April 6, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. Lynn


    You are wrong. How can you copy the line and still not read it correctly? Former President George Bush did decide to NOT criticize the current administration.

    April 6, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  4. Chris

    So then according to Axelrod's own views that would put Obama in the same "not behaving like a statesman" category.

    This administration has done plenty of criticizing towards the previous administration.

    Hmmmm interesting view point Axelrod.

    April 6, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  5. alebiglio

    I'm an aerospace engineer and i can tell you only one thing, to you who cite north korea as a failure of Obama.....you don't build a three stage rocket in 6 months, so as in a lot of the things that defined the past administration they have been behind the curve in a dramatic way (starting with 9/11, that happened on their watch and after having been warned). North Korea has building this thing and the nukes right under the nose of the bush administration and if they happen to detonate a bomb that would have been built under bush watch, as same as Iran.
    Cheney, please go away, I thought you were smart but you are not, you are shrewd, that's all.....

    April 6, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  6. New Yorker

    These comments were written for theJohn King article response:

    Lori, I'm so glad you have "full competence" in Obama. Maybe that will make up for my total lack of confidence in him.

    Barbara Campbell, what is very clear to this attentive American is that it's too bad John McCain, an experienced patriot, is not in the White House where he belongs. Clearly, if Obama doesn't surround himself with people who have a grasp of reality and the guts to do what needs to be done, we're history. Well, with the way the financial debacle was contrived and utilized what does it matter?

    April 6, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  7. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Correction to Matt Brand and his statement about the last administration: anyone who was critical of the Bush/Cheney team was quickly branded as "un-American" and "aiding the enemy", even the word "traitor" was bandied about. How quickly we forget.

    April 6, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. worriedmom

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinions however it appears the Obama administration just cannot get pass anyone criticizing them. Be like a man, take the criticism and move on. Why they feel they keep having to defend themselves against Bush and his administstration. They knew what they were inheriting and gladly accepted it, now start moving forward and stop playing these childish games.

    April 6, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  9. Mike

    As I recall, anyone who criticized the Bush administration from 2001 until 2006, when the midterm elections were held, was generally accused of being unpatriotic. The Obama administration needs to be criticized, as all administratios need to be criticized, and we should not be soft on them. However, to say that whenever someone criticized the Bush administration was called righteous is a serious distortion of the facts. Many a public statement was made that folks who criticized the war in Iraq and the GWOT were in fact unpatriotic.

    April 6, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  10. Some guy

    No giant meteors hit the earth wiping out all life during Bush's presidency. Thank God W. and Cheney were looking out for us. Have a nice day!

    April 6, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  11. Palin fan...NOT

    Oh yes Bush made us all so safe. He had the entire world angry at us.

    April 6, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
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