April 22nd, 2009
12:44 PM ET
14 years ago

Cheney hits Obama again: 'Devastating' economic policies

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/22/art.split.gi.jpg caption="Cheney's war of words with the Obama administration continues."]

(CNN) - President Barack Obama's expansion of the federal government into the financial sector is likely to have "devastating" effects in the long term, former Vice President Dick Cheney said in his latest salvo directed at the new White House administration.

In an interview on Fox News - portions of which aired Tuesday night - the former vice president said he is "very concerned" about where the Obama administration is taking the country economically.

"I worry very much that we're in a situation now where there doesn't appear to be any limitation whatsoever in terms of the spending commitments that this administration wants to make," he said. "Vast expansion in terms of the deficit, but it also says a lot about what they intend for the role of government in this society."

White House officials have predicted the country's deficit will soar to $1.75 trillion this year, after the administration's efforts to bail out troubled financial companies and stabilize the nation's flailing economy. Obama has also pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term, a promise critics doubt is possible to keep. (Related: Obama defends budget as essential to recovery)

But beyond rising deficits, Cheney said he is concerned the administration is fundamentally "redefining that relationship between government, on the one hand, and the private sector on the other."

"I'm one of those people who believes that part of the greatness of the United States is our private sector. "It's what we do as private citizens for ourselves and our companies," he said, later adding, "I think we have to be very, very cautious. I think we've gone beyond what reasonably we could expect by way of intrusion into the private sector."

Cheney's comments are only the latest in a string criticisms he has publicly aired in recent weeks about the administration that succeeded his, though they appear to be his harshest words to date about the new president's economic policies.

In past interviews the former vice president has sharply questioned Obama's national security policies, telling CNN he thinks the country is less safe than it was under the Bush administration.

Cheney's comments have led to criticisms from Obama aides that he is confounding his role as an elder statesman, but, in the interview with Fox News, Cheney said people should not be surprised he is speaking out.

"I've been criticized because I've had the temerity to speak out and done a couple of interviews since I left office. I don't find anything surprising about that," he said. "I don't say - I've been careful not to get personal in terms of my criticisms for my comment, but I think the issues are simply too important for the future of the nation for us to operate as though those of us who disagree somehow shouldn't speak out and be heard. I think we need to be heard."

As for Cheney's contention of the detrimental effects of government expansion into the economy, Americans appear split on the issue,  with 35 percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll conducted earlier this month saying that government involvement has gone too far. Forty-two percent felt the increased government involvement in big business was about right, and 23 percent said Washington had not gone far enough.

Filed under: Dick Cheney • President Obama
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Tom in Sarasota

    This from a man who spent $4 trillion "defending" us from weapons of mass distruction that turned out not to exist (although he still claims that they do). Is there any lie that's too big for Chaney to tell?

    April 22, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  2. l8tr

    Coming from Cheney, this means NOTHING. We saw how completely horrible his administration was. He is showing his true colors by doing all of this name-calling, reactionary, and monday-night-quarterbacking criiticsm. Seriously, what is his problem? Cause he definitely has a BIG PROBLEM.

    April 22, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  3. suzi

    When you totally botch the same job for 8 years you have no right , I repeat NO RIGHT, to offer an opinion on how someone else is doing the job.
    cheney, go away,you are irrelevent and probably the most hated man in this country. you deserve jail time. I sincerely pray you get it.

    April 22, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  4. Barrett, North Providence

    I dunno....do we really care what Dick Cheney thinks? Look where his administration took us...into the deepest financial hole most Americans have seen in their lifetimes. Bush certainly didn't have the answer as to how to fix the mess he created; why then so critical of Obama and his efforts? Mr. Cheney and his company, you may remember, profited from an illegal war that we Americans will be paying for for generations to come. Remember all those billions of dollars that "went missing" in Haliburton contracts, and Bush said "ahhh...don't worry about it. It's not important?" Listening to Cheney, or worse, giving credence to anything Cheney says, is like throwing in with the devil himself.

    April 22, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  5. Marty

    Cheney implies that Obama WANTS to spend and control. But it seems that our President had little choice once he considered the impact on average Americans if the economy was simply left to correct itself. Of course, Cheney has never considered the impact of anything on average Americans, so of course he's going to speak in terms of his concerns over the "role of government in this society" and "vast deficit expansion". Being rich certainly colors the view he has of our country's economic situation. To me, it sounds like Dick doesn't care if unemployment is 25 or 30% as long as he still has his. True leaders understand those they lead. Bush-Cheney never did and apparently never will.

    April 22, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  6. SDW

    Cheney is such a hypocrite! Do we really need to rehash all of your dirty laundry?? And you have the NERVE to criticize Mr. Obama?? What Cheney really needs is to spend the rest of his sorry ass life in prison. And I'm being nice! Here some advice to you Mr. Cheney, go sit down and shut the hell up! Criminals such as you should not be allowed to speak!

    April 22, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  7. Alan

    Bush & Cheney protected our country from further attack after 9/11. They may have increased our debt, but protecting our country cannot be done "on the cheap." Anybody who thinks so is mistaken. I have been reading the comments, and several people have asked why is it ok to bash Bush for raising our debt, but nobody has anything to say about Obama raising our debt? Still have not seen any replies. Anybody care to explain this? Go Cheney!

    April 22, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  8. kgeukes

    I can't wait for the indictments to be handed down. Then Mr. Cheney will probably shut his mouth.

    April 22, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  9. eds

    and his policies were OK? They got us all in this mess! Cheney belongs in jail and GAGGED for any number of reasons. Stop giving this idiot the undeserved respect of press!

    April 22, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  10. Skeeve

    "I think we have to be very, very cautious. I think we've gone beyond what reasonably we could expect by way of intrusion into the private sector"

    This being said by a person who presided over the most far reaching intrusion in life of private citizens since the Unamerican activities Committee. The hypocrisy of this gentleman had no boundaries.

    April 22, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  11. Dave NYC

    The only devastation I see is that caused over the last 8 years under the irresponsible, corporate-supremacist Bush & Cheney Administration.

    Thanks for nothing, Dick!

    April 22, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  12. Res Ipsa

    It's easy for Cheney to say that the private sector should be left alone when you realize that Hailburton, his old company, took billions of dollars from the federal government. Cheney is hypocrisy at its finest.

    April 22, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  13. Spencer

    Mr. Cheney,
    As a conservative, I understand why you are criticizing President Obama's economic plans. However, you would have far more credibility if you hadn't done the exact same thing a year ago. The Bush administration showed absolutely no signs of fiscal conservatism, which is partially if not fully to blame for the mess we are in now. Kindly stop this bipartisan garbage.

    April 22, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  14. Jewels

    How come Mr. Cheney was never "concerned" about the "devastating" effects of the Bush/Cheney administration? Anything President Obama is doing is to benefit the UNITED States of America as a whole, not to benefit himself personally. I don't necessarily believe 100% in all of the bailouts, however, the Feds are the only ones with the money and the credit rating to help out. And of course, all of Mr. Cheney's friends are unhappy because they've been "found out." I sure wish we could make these people/organizations pay for all the trouble they have caused.

    April 22, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  15. Lynn

    A man who left office with a 19% approval rating and used his office to avoid speaking under oath has no credibility and should just go back to his cave.

    He conveniently overlooks that the economic crisis started on his watch and he and Bush sat there and ignored it. I Bush/Cheney administration never told the truth when they were in office, why should we give him a stage now??

    April 22, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  16. Ron fom NJ

    Dick .... YOU were devasting economically and internationally!!!! Please keep your comments to yourself as others try and clean up all the messes you have caused!!! Thank you!!

    April 22, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  17. bernadette

    of course he is speaking out – he is writing a book and wants to get some publicity, not to mention trying to cover over all the harm he and Bush did to this country. He didn't have character when he was VP so why should he now?

    April 22, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  18. TruthSeeker

    Spending? Pot calling the kettle black.

    April 22, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  19. Jed

    Dick Cheney has ZERO credibility. Thanks for leaving us in such great position after 8 years, Dick.

    April 22, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  20. Jeff W.

    Wow, there it is again, that crooked smile, that undeserved sense of entitlement. Cheney is simply amazing, it's as if he is somehow living in an alternate reality where the past 8 years didn't occur and all the problems currently facing our president are Obama's doing. Cheney should be living in a cabin on a mountain and never show his face again given all the destruction his administration caused not only in the US but around the world. Cheney continues to exude smug, arrogance and a complete lack of culpability for the state of the world. When I see pictures of him I'm reminded of the Emperor from the Star Wars films. What a vile, self-serving human being. At least Bush knows well enough to keep his mouth shut. Cheney just reminds me of how happy I am that he is no longer causing damage. History will record him as a villain.

    April 22, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  21. tony

    Just trying to create as much distraction and national discord he can before being investigated and prosecuted for his high crimes and misdemeaners.

    April 22, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  22. JDQ

    Maybe Cheney is worried he might be prosecuted...after all, Bush didn't pardon him.

    April 22, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  23. abraxis

    Darth Vader is so oblivious to what he and W had done to the economy and our country that he is blaming someone else for fixing his and W's messes. It is beyond pitiful to being criminal. Would someone charge him and his former boss with crimes against humanity so we don't have to listen to them anymore?!

    April 22, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  24. Chuck

    Does anyone want to hear Dick Cheney keep lying to us? The always hyper-partisan greed-driven Cheney should be investigated with Bush and charged with numerous crimes against America.

    April 22, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  25. Emma

    Richard (“Dick”) Cheney is widely considered one of the most powerful vice presidents in U.S. history, having played an instrumental role in everything from expanding presidential war powers to pushing an aggressive “war on terror” that included overturning unfriendly Mideast regimes and indefinitely detaining terrorism suspects without charge.

    Since leaving office, Cheney has remained a vocal defender of the policies of the Bush administration, and a harsh critic of the Barack Obama administration. In a highly publicized interview on “60 Minutes” in March 2009, Cheney defended the Bush administration’s war on terror, including the treatment of prisoners at places like Guantanamo Bay. He claimed that President Obama’s decision to close Guantanamo and prohibit “interrogation techniques” like waterboarding jeopardized U.S. security: “President Obama campaigned against [some Bush administration national security policies] all across the country and now he's making some choices that in my mind will in fact raise the risk to the American people of another attack."

    My question is, how many terrorists have been brought to justice under the philosophy that is being promoted by Vice President Cheney? It hasn't made us safer. What it has been is a great advertisement for anti-American sentiment."

    I guess these are the terms we can sum up last 8years

    Vice Presidential Hallmarks: War, Secrecy, Obfuscation

    April 22, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
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