April 19th, 2009
01:34 PM ET
13 years ago

Matalin says Armitage 'devoid of courage'

(CNN) - Mary Matalin, a former adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, sharply criticized former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage Sunday for his comments about the CIA's Bush-era interrogation techniques.

In an interview with the English language service of Qatar-based network Al Jazeera last week, Armitage said: “I hope, had I known about it at the time I was serving, I would’ve had the courage to resign. But I don’t know. It’s in hindsight now.”

In response, Matalin told CNN's John King on State of The Union: "If Richard Armitage, as the number two guy in the State Department, didn't know [about the interrogation techniques], not only is he devoid of courage, he is completely incompetent."

Armitage's comments came after the Obama administration released once-secret CIA memos revealing authorized interrogation tactics such as waterboarding, sleep deprivation and slapping.

"We know he has no courage," Matalin said in response. "This is the man who leaked Valerie Plame's name, knew he leaked it, let the president spin and the administration spin in the wind for two years. Many of his colleagues spent hundreds of thousands, millions of dollars, a valued colleague of his, his life is ruined, Scooter Libby, and he was the one who did it and let nobody know the whole time."

Armitage admitted he was the main source for the leak that identified Valerie Plame as a CIA intelligence officer. He said then he wanted to make his role public, but held back at the request of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald who was investigating the case then.

Armitage also told the New York Times he made an “inadvertent mistake,” adding that he was following President George W. Bush’s instructions to cooperate with Fitzgerald’s investigation.

Filed under: State of the Union
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Ann

    yes, Michael, and from your perspective, now is the time of that horrible Donna Brazile. I will never forget and forgive her comments about Hillary "That's what my Moma calls 'cheating'." And next the cheating was up there for her darling Obama. I don't listen to this Democratic strategist anymore.

    April 19, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  2. tyree

    Mary Matalin? Mary freakin Matalin saying that someone is basically a coward for something he didnt even do. Give me a break. Like Mary Matalin is an expert on courage. Im so tired of this silly, tough, fake cowboy talk that comes from these "silver spooners" on the right. I'd be surprised if any of these guys have ever been in a position to show an inkling of courage. Stop the tough talk. Please. No one is buying that nonsense.

    April 19, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  3. Steve, New York City

    My "hats off" to Mary Matalin – the Republican party needs more people like her. Maybe we can all get lucky, and the Neo-cons decide to go live somewhere (other than the United States).

    April 19, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  4. Hopeful Optimist

    I just saw a bumper sticker that went, "Still voting Democrat? You're stuck on stupid". I wonder just what parallel universe that driver must be stuck in.

    April 19, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  5. mississippi librarian

    Mary is only relevant because she is married to a sensible and very smart guy. I have heard her make stupid and partisan remarks on other occasions. She is just like all of the other republicans. I only wish she would listen to her husband!

    April 19, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  6. flybyshoeing

    Matalin worked for Cheney. Cheney blackmailed everyone to do his bidding. Wonder what he knows about her. Obviously Armitage has a conscious, something she cannot comprehend.

    April 19, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. InlandEmperor

    Mary Matalin?...what's a Mary Matalin? Advisor to Bush "lite"? Like that's supposed to have some credibility? Her credentials likely imply that she was an advisor on Katrina as well.

    April 19, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  8. The Broker.

    You are not that psychic! But I am. Susan is Beautiful...

    April 19, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  9. Carmine Abbattiello

    Mary who?

    April 19, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  10. barking republican ankle biters

    The big rats are now headed out of the country for fear of prison time.The little rats got a pardon and will now tell all.I love this.

    April 19, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  11. Nick L.

    The only good thing about Mary Matalin is who she's married too!

    April 19, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  12. Marge

    Hot darn (you know what I really mean)...those republicans who think they can be held responsible for the torture and mayhem they have done are sure raising cain.

    I guess they thought their inhuman acts would never be brought to light. Seriously does anybody really truly believe that a solitary foot soldier, so to speak, would know anything of value to prevent any kind of terrorist attack.

    If you do then I guess that means that bush ran around and told the members of the National Guard what he was going to do in Iraq...same thing. And that each and every one of our soldiers knew each and every solitary action being taken on the ground in Iraq.

    April 19, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  13. Matalin is not surprising

    advisor to Cheney, she is the devil

    April 19, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  14. Doc

    Mary Mary how contrary, how does your BS grow? From Cheney's bowels, buy a vowel, and make up a word to throw....

    April 19, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  15. DEM in HI

    Mary go home. It is too bad all of you were not impeached. The released memos show it was torture and no matter how you slice and dice it, all of you broke the law. I only wish that all of you would go to jail and stand accountable for what you have done to this country. YOU are a disgrace and should be punished for how you ruined this country's reputation. Farewell and hope to never hear from you again. LOSER!!!!

    April 19, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  16. Sir. Knight

    To say that building new relationships with leaders that we’ve previously had bad relationships with is irresponsible… is irresponsible. George Bush and his pompous, arrogant, narrow minded style of leadership is what has gotten us to the point that we are at now. He still has not justified the Iraq war and why it was worth putting our country and its warriors in the state that they are in today. Senator Ensign sounds like the son of a racist bigot in the yester years of this great nation, with parents that told him not to speak to black folks. If no one would have defied what was accepted as right, we would still be a segregated nation. As a 12 year veteran of this great nations military and as a citizen that has traveled the world, I can tell you that most people love Americans, but they despise our government. So now we have a President that wants to change the hatred, the arrogance, the narrow mindedness, and the right wing is scared. Oh my God, the world may actually love the American government for once and we can truly take our place as the leaders of the free world and it will be accepted because the citizens of the world will know that we have respect for all mankind, both American and non-American. Change does not happen without change!

    April 19, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  17. Chuck

    Do you ever wonder whether Mary Matalin and her husband, James Carville, discuss politics in their private lives? If they do, I am amazed that, after all this time, both are still left standing.

    April 19, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  18. Streamwood Bill

    "Incompetent" and "lacking in courage" are two words that can describe most Bush appointees.

    So what her point again???

    April 19, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  19. Lammert Albertus

    these cliche talk, two camp nonsense, the liberals against the conservativs!
    the venom talk most of GOP fans dare too use is over the border so too " liberal" anti Jesus filosophy, i really don't understand.
    How GOP fans and their hatefull comments on democtrats call themselves christians.
    Jesus was a loving man , always try to understand the other, even your enemy,show your other cheek , GOP politician's and their fanbase, don't understand zero of Jesus peacefull filosophy, Obama gets it fully!

    from The Netherlands

    April 19, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  20. Michael

    Matalin is just another Republican dinosaur: like the rest of them, she's no longer relevant to anything - but she's right about one thing: events have shown Richard Armitage to be totally spineless. As a key figure in the Bush administration, he claims he dIdn't know they were torturing detainees? And pigs might fly.

    Why did he make such a claim, that only an idiot would believe? maybe he's afraid that the law may catch up with the torturers and their accomplices one day - just as it did, eventually, even in Argentina and Chile.

    April 19, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  21. Tbone85

    Matalin's last babbling 20 second response can be summed up as "It was a bad idea to release these memos only because we in the previous administration thought torture was a good idea". Now THAT is statesmanship.

    April 19, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  22. The Broker.

    No! No.No. No. You want to work for me: my business. Then do some research.... What can you offer me! How can you add to what I already have.

    April 19, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. The Broker.

    What good is Kari-oki to those who can't sing???

    April 19, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    John King is becoming more and more disappointing in the job he's suppose to be doing. I think it's time that he be paid by the GOP instead of CNN.

    April 19, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
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