May 22nd, 2009
03:52 PM ET
14 years ago

First on The CNN Ticker: Ridge disagrees with Cheney

(CNN) - Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge told CNN former Vice President Dick Cheney's repeated charge the Obama administration has made the country less safe is wrong.

"Yeah, I disagree with Dick Cheney," the Pennsylvania Republican and former Bush administration official told CNN's John King, adding he does not think the country is more vulnerable to an attack under President Obama.

Ridge's comments come after both Obama and Cheney gave dueling speeches on national security, during which the president sharply condemned Bush administration interrogation practices while Cheney vigorously defended them.

In the interview with CNN, set to air in full on State of The Union with John King Sunday, Ridge said he disagrees with "the approach both men are taking."

"It's just the whole notion of a Republican vice president giving a speech after the incumbent Democratic president," he said. "It's gotta go beyond the politics of either party."

The former Pennsylvania governor also took issue with a portion of Obama's speech, during which he said some Bush national security decisions were based on "fear, rather than foresight."

"I'm surprised that President Obama, who I really, truly believe knows better, would make such a statement," said Ridge. "The men and women in charge of America's security, whether they're military, or the intelligence community - the president, the vice president, the attorney general, the FBI director - did everything they could at the time to prevent another attack on America. And did it consistent with the Constitution and the rule of law."

Ridge, who served as the country's first homeland security secretary in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, said he's "disappointed in the president" for spending time criticizing past actions of the Bush administration."

"He keeps looking backwards to justify what he's doing now and I don't think at the end of the day - I think that becomes more politics than policy, and I don't think it's the kind of approach that we need to bring America together on this very important issue," he said.

Filed under: Dick Cheney • Popular Posts • State of the Union • Tom Ridge
soundoff (304 Responses)
  1. Dave C - NJ

    To all the stupid conservatives that talk about waterboarding our own troops: The sign up for it. The are volunteers. They do it as training so that they can resist torture techniques if captured.

    I am related to 2 of them...and yes, it is torture according to them. Get a clue.

    May 22, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  2. steve

    Cheney should be tried for war crimes, and anything he has to say now is irrelevant!! We saw very little of Cheney for eight long years, and now he is the expert on everything. Cheney is irrelevant!!

    May 22, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  3. Eleanor, Port Orchard, WA

    One thought to keep in mind! 9/11 HAPPENED ON THE WATCH OF GEORGE W. BUSH AND DICK CHENEY. Period. So much for Cheney's ridiculous attempt to rewrite the despicable history of the last 8 years, and claim that we were safer under them, than under President Obama!

    I can think of one good reason to KEEP Gitmo'll be the perfect place to put Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Bush after their trials on treason and war crimes!

    May 22, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  4. David in Houston

    Has Cheney ever been correct on anything?

    May 22, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  5. Annette McGee

    Can't Chaney just retire! I am in the middle of "Angler" and I can only surmise that he now covering his tracks!

    May 22, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  6. carlos

    Jim May 22nd, 2009 12:57 pm ET

    Clear-thinking moderate Republicans who are fiscally conservative: Take back our party from the right-wing zealots before it's too late!!

    are there any left?............

    phoenix86 and completely must be from the same state that j mc c is......enough said of you and the CONservatives

    May 22, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  7. Michael in Ventura,CA

    Good for him! I've seen him several times on News shows- are you listening gop? And to those who say President Obama "plays on class warfare, fear and hatred"......That's a republican strategy! GET REAL!

    May 22, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  8. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Paranoia, hate, and fear-mongering just about sums up Bush/Cheney

    May 22, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  9. Klassykas

    Why are we even entertaining the past adminstration and what they think about the adminstration now. They proofed their efforts and the rich got richer and the poor are unemployed. Time to stop living in the past and move forward. Who care what Dick Cheney thinks his spot in the lime light is OVER, let the people in charge do there job as leaders and let sleeping dogs lie

    May 22, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  10. Straight Talk

    Doesn't Ridge know that Cheney's speech was scheduled first?

    May 22, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  11. Former Republican Supporting Obama from Tennessee

    I'm glad that a few reasonable Republicans exist. Still, Ridge should expect to get ripped a part by Republicans for disagreeing with Cheney.

    May 22, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  12. barking republican ankle biters

    Dick Cheney should meet the same fate as Benito Mussolini.They could have been identical brothers in every way.

    May 22, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  13. Canadian

    For those thinking that war should have no rules and anything goes in protecting your citizens, you have to admit that the measures taken by the Paletinians, Taliban and others are ligitimate. The reason the US and other civilized countries don't indulge in morally corrupt war practices, is so that they can claim the right ground. If not they are NO DIFFERENT from what they are fighting.

    May 22, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  14. Vicki

    Ridge is NOT a republican! He's the same as Spector. He should just join the democrats & shut up!

    May 22, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. CitizenJane


    Get out and enjoy life more, you are becoming increasingly morbid, and this only serves as a dressing to bitterness and hate, two traits which you seem to have enough of already.

    May 22, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  16. Jim

    Cheney kept us so safe, then why were we attacked on his time in office? And does anyone remember the news that summer before the attack on the WTC that saudi nationals were enrolled in pilot training classes, and wanted to learn how to take off and fly the aircraft, but expressed no interest in learning to land? This was in the national news in July 2001. And you tell me Cheney kept us safe. No he didn't.
    He used the attack to force his agenda down our throats!

    May 22, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  17. frank

    William, uh I mean Tom Ridge is on his knees to Obama, just like everyone else in D.C. CNN determines top Republicans? This web site needs a funnies section.

    May 22, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  18. Bev

    This must be the new Republican strategy – drag out Dr. Death to hammer home their losing strategy. They just don't get it, do they? I wish the media would put pressure on Cheney to prove all his comments. They keep hyping that we haven't been attacked in this country during the Bush years. Well, it took those scum terrorists YEARS to plan 9/11, didn't they???? GO AWAY CHENEY!!!

    May 22, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  19. Dan, TX

    Which is better, one half of the country hating the other half – or working together to solve problems.

    Just look at the comments here and you see the vast majority prefer hate. America deserves what is coming.

    May 22, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  20. James

    Cheney could have gone quietly into the good night to get ready for his impending war crimes trial and subsequent convenient heart attack. Screw him!! He knows what he did and defended it as if he was on the side of good. If what was done was right and he has no regrets, how about he change places with the soldiers who were locked up because of Abu Ghraib??

    Bush/Cheney continue to try turd polishing their legacy.

    May 22, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  21. Marie in Texas

    Cheney is NOT our president ! He has NO right to a speech following our presidents ! and to blatantly put down our president shows what a shallow albino weasel he really IS ! He just wants to stay in limelight, be president himself , and avoid a trial and JAIL !

    May 22, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  22. JD

    Once again, the sure-fire way to become a "Top Republican" is to deride a REAL Republican.

    Tom Ridge served as a director for Homeland Security. That no more makes him a "Top Republican" than Janet Napolitano's serving makes her a "Top Democrat."

    May 22, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  23. why does a sitting president

    have to defend his policies

    from the likes of cheney who hold NO mandate?

    maybe because of the hidden hands of power

    which is.... who?

    May 22, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  24. Jim

    So the headline should have read "Ridge disagrees with BOTH Cheney and Obama". Quite misleading but that's CNN and the liberal slant.

    May 22, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  25. Teresa

    It's way beyond time for Cheney to STFU.

    May 22, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
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