May 21st, 2009
02:58 PM ET
11 years ago

GOP leadership: Cheney entitled to his opinion

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he didn't watch Cheney's speech.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he didn't watch Cheney's speech.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, isn't exactly embracing Dick Cheney's high-profile defense of the Bush administration's national security tactics.

The Minority Leader was asked on Thursday if he thought it "frustrating" that Cheney is now at the forefront of the debate over the use of harsh interrogation techniques, given McConnell's remark in January that the GOP is free of the "political burden" of the Bush years.

"I didn't watch the vice president's speech," McConnell said. "I am here today reacting to the events of yesterday" - the Senate's overwhelming rejection of President Obama's request to fund the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison - "and to the president's speech."

He added: "Everybody's got an opportunity to have their say in this country."

McConnell's Republican counterpart in the House, John Boehner, was more convivial, calling Cheney's opinions "helpful to the debate."

"Dick Cheney is a private citizen and certainly entitled to his opinion," Boehner said at his weekly press conference, adding that he was "glad" to have Cheney as a member of the Republican Party.

"Listen, Dick Cheney has been around this town for the last 35 years, 40 years," Boehner said. "He knows how this town works, and frankly he's very knowledgeable when it comes to the strategies that the administration took with regard to dealing with this terrorist threat."

Filed under: Dick Cheney • John Boehner • Mitch McConnell
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Ann, California

    i'm curious, when is Boehner up for re-election? It would be nice to see him go as well.

    May 21, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  2. Former Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    Yes, Cheney is entitled to this opinion, but STOP acting like Cheney is some expert at keeping America safe. 9-11 happened on Cheney's and Bush's watch. Their policies have weakened this nation considerably. Obama is doing his best to clean up the MESS that Cheney keeps arguing in favor of.

    May 21, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    So what if he's entitled to his opinion. I don't want to hear it every day. Let him state his opinions in prison.

    May 21, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  4. The Broker.

    Fibre? Does Borack Obama understand. Staple he is not!

    May 21, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. Tom Meyer

    The American people must always remain vigilant to outside terrorist and their propaganda. We must also remain vigilant to any home grown propaganda that supports terrorist tactics. Dick Cheney served 8 years as the "shadow president" and orchestrated the Bush terrorist tactics. We should not be surprised that he would be defending his policies.

    May 21, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  6. Cathy in AZ

    Dick Cheney is trying to save Dick Cheney. What the Bush administration sanctioned was torture – that makes us no better than the people were are fighting against.
    He is entitled to his opinion but this is a crusade to save his reputation and nothing more!

    May 21, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  7. shucks

    His time is done. America told him and all the republicans that last November. The fact that he still thinks he is relevant is comical. He is truly afraid that he and his will be going to jail soon for war crimes. History will show this as a low point in American history with the last 8 years as a total failure. Osama Bin Laden is laughing at Bush and Cheney every day he remains a free man. It will be president Obama who has to continue to clean up after their mistakes.

    May 21, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. The Dude

    Everybody has the right to speak their mind, unless they happen to be Nacy Pelosi. Looks like more GOP double standard.

    May 21, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. Joe

    I want Dick Cheney to just shut up and go away!!! He is not the Vice President anymore. He abused the office, and broke the law. He has LLL syndrome....Liar, Lawbreaker, and Loser! He and Bush had their chance, and they TOTALLY screwed up this country. ENOUGH of him.

    May 21, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  10. Barbara Independent in NY

    Regardless of his opinion, Cheney is an evil man. He doesn't mind stooping to terrorizing the American people in order to defend the despicable, dishonorable methods that he endorsed. He is nothing but a fear monger.

    May 21, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  11. John M in CA

    Did you hear the roar Obama got from the cheering millions in the crowd on Jan 20th? That wasn't just for having voted for him. It was perhaps more for having fired you and your boss, Mr. Cheney. So, keep grasping at the straws of your stained legacy, because you're only preaching to your already converted choir.

    May 21, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  12. Donna A. Reuter, Bremerton, WA

    Cheney is a war criminal. If the United States won't do anything, another country will. He was the Sect of Defense when Bush 41 was POTUS, during that time the policies that were enacted created the climate that was responsible for the attacks of 9/11.

    May 21, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  13. Daniel in PA

    Obama has to keep ripping into Bush.... as time goes by this becomes less effective, he needs to take advantage while he still has that card in his hand. In a couple of years or so, when people don't have jobs or any money, they will be blaming Obama for many things.

    May 21, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  14. Steph

    They are correct. Dick has the right to his opinion. I don't agree with his opinion, but he can say whatever he wants. Today he clearly admitted to waterboarding detainees, which is torture and a war crime (we tried and executed some Japanese for doing it to our soldiers)! Let him keep talking. He will dig his own grave.

    May 21, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  15. Caleb

    cheney is so outspoken these days because he wants a refreshed base of support because... hes afraid of ending up behind bars. where he belongs.

    May 21, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  16. Chenna Benna

    Question to all those who support using waterboarding. If it were you being waterboarded by Al Qaeda for information you have about the US, would you tell Al Qaeda everything they want to know or what they want to hear and give false information?

    May 21, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  17. Nathan,

    THey feel this way because the Republicans still embrace what the Bush/Cheney administration did to this nation. There willnever be anything new with this bunch. Put them back in office and you'll ge the same thing we had the last 8 years no matter who their leader is.

    May 21, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  18. Lynda/Minnesota

    While it is evident that the GOP thought they could shrug off the past, it is nothing more than wishful thinking on their part to be free of the political burden of the Bush years. Americans aren't likely to soon forget the depth of deceit we have all had to endure for the past 8 years. It took Ronal Reagan to bring the GOP back after Nixon. I haven't seen anyone even remotely qualified to step into Reagan's shoes . . .

    May 21, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  19. IS IT 2012 YET ??

    I miss Bush and Cheney. I wish they could serve a third term.

    May 21, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  20. Lisa B in FL

    Boehner said. "He knows how this town works, regarding Dick. Well lhe may know how DC works, but he sure as hell doesn't get that the American people overwhelmingly rejected he and "W"'s handling while they were in power, aka their policies. My God. Why is Dick's words and attitude toward Obama policies not considered treason? I still believe he is trying to gain support because he is very concerned his ass just might be in a bit of trouble.

    May 21, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  21. Deb

    Everyone is entitled to their opinions but it is truly amazing how Dick Cheney was never around during the 8 years as vice president. We heard of him when en route to the hospital or when he was shooting his friends instead of the birds. Now, I can not get this man out of my home. Every television, radio, computer has his sinful face. Truly unbelievable that people feel he kept us safe. He tortured and then let our soldiers take the blame and even go to prison. A horrible, horrible person.

    May 21, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |

    Dick Cheney is only trying to save Cheney I bet secretly He wishes For a Terriost attack he doesnt care if People die He only Wants to be Proved Right what a Pathetic sob and piece of garbage that slime is!

    May 21, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  23. mark

    How can we hold anything credible from Cheney who prospered on the blood of our troops in shady business deals with Haliburton. This joker thinks he is a hero who saved lives? He is just mad because his ivory tower is about to be uprooted. Good riddance.

    May 21, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  24. Deb

    Also...Cheney is admitting to war crimes. Please let us bring him to trial as a war criminal.

    May 21, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  25. Diana

    How quickly some of us forget how he lied to the American people about Iraq. Why would anyone believe what he says now?

    May 21, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
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