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. This really just shows who was in charge

    This really just shows that Cheney was in charge during the Bush years, that he operated under his own will, without knowledge of GW or the Congress or the People.

    He should be arrested and indicted immediately for treason and/or sedition.

    May 22, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    Good for Mr. Ridge. As a former head Homeland Security, he can only echo what so many of us already believe.

    I remember how the country came together during the Iraqi invasion whether we agreed or not with the principle behind the invasion. It was to send a message to Bin Laden that we were a united country.

    What the GOP has tried to do is make us look weaker, for their own gains, leaving "Country First" behind in the dust. What message this sends to Al Queda is anyone's guess. I myself don't see it as positive.

    Lately, the GOP is seen as almost begging for a disaster to occur if only to pin it on President Obama.

    May 22, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. Joe

    I'm sick of hearing what people have to say. It's about time I get to see something instead of hearing it. I hear so much about what Obama has done, but I've seen nothing. My stocks are still going down, gas is skyrocketing, GDP is pathetic, unemployment keeps going up, foreclosures keep going up, the trillions of dollars have shown zero signs of improving anything yet, etc. So when are we going to start seeing instead of hearing? Quit talking and do something!!!!! I'M WAITING.

    May 22, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  4. Clay

    Come on, Tom...You're appear halfway towards getting a soul...Why not make a clean break with the Bush/Cheney Fear Machine and just admit it: you guys screwed up...badly.

    May 22, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  5. Where was the outrage when Ms Cheney Outed CIA operative Valerie Plame

    Ms. Dick Cheney is only trying to save his dying draconian legacy of the era of torture!!!

    May 22, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  6. ron

    Obama's policies are meant to weaken our defenses, in an effort to appease our enemies, and will have the exact same result as Bill Clinton's military drawdowns, and Jimmy Carter's appeasement efforts–COMBINED! Can you dummies not learn anything from history?

    May 22, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  7. donttreadonme

    Never before have we had a President who's policy is formed mostly for political purpose. Obama spends more time attacking the US than he does the terriorists.

    May 22, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  8. Florida Joe

    OH OH Better be careful Tom......Rush will throw you out of his Republican party too!! Mr Oxycontin doesn't like anyone that doesn't repeat the party line.................

    May 22, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  9. thetruthisoutthere

    if cheney does not think waterboarding is torture, maybe he would like to volunteer to have the technique demonstrated on himself...

    May 22, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  10. Jake

    What exactly is Dick Cheney trying to cover up?

    May 22, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  11. Expat American

    phoenix86 May 22nd, 2009 12:00 pm ET
    Obama plays on class warfare, fear and hatred. That is the basis of every speech he gives.
    You've just listed the Republican agenda for the past 20+ years – including 8 years where the GOP was actually able to govern by this methodology.

    Spying on American citizens (and encouraging Americans to spy on each other) is a relative new one however. You forgot that one. You also forgot killing innocent women and children (as long as they're Muslim).

    May 22, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. Ken

    @ phoenix86

    Ummm. .no...fear, hatred, and class warfare are your schtick. The only thing wingnuts like you do best....project!

    Right wingers need to offer real solutions or sit down and shut up!

    May 22, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. johnny

    @ ron May 22nd, 2009 12:07 pm ET

    Not only is only ONE side of the issue presented here, but it's the minority opinion. MOST military/intelligence experts AGREE with Cheney. Of course, THIS website is too biased to report that.

    Where are you getting your stats? Are you conducting your own polling? Are YOU a military/intelligence expert? If you are...please get off the ticker and GET BACK TO WORK!

    May 22, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  14. Matt

    Excellent quote: Decisions in the Bush administration were focused on "fear rather than foresight."

    I thought it was interesting how often Cheney mentioned 9/11 before saying that we can't dwell on the past and need to look forward.

    May 22, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  15. GOP Disaster


    Obama plays on class warfare, fear and hatred. That is the basis of every speech he gives.

    Whatever! Something that the GOP & the Conservatives have always played especially against poor and middle class.

    May 22, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  16. Mike

    Vice President Cheney had his speech scheduled a month before obama scheduled his. Ridge should investigate before he opens his mouth.

    May 22, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  17. thetruthisoutthere

    Most military experts do NOT agree with cheney...they will tell you if you torture a person, that person will tell you what you WANT to hear so you will stop..."intelligence" gleaned in this manner is not reliable and in many cases, wrong...

    May 22, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  18. Proud Vet

    Ridge makes some good points. Cheney is not helping. No matter who you voted for, we as Americans are in this together. Cheney is just too stubborn to admit that he could ever be wrong and perhaps too foolish to recognize the fact that he probably made some mistakes.

    May 22, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  19. Hal

    Dick Cheney is a COWARD!!

    More people have been killed by the flu this year than in 9/11. While I believe that we need to be vigilant MY FREEDOM IS MORE VALUABLE THAN SECURITY. I do not need old sadistic religious nuts to protect me. Anyone who rides with Cheney is a coward too.

    If YOU are afraid you need to go hide in his bunker. You may not shred our Consittution or the moral integrity of my country.

    May 22, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  20. ETM

    Ridge should make a clear break from the Republican party of fear and smear. Dick Cheney is a frightened little man who took this country into one of its worst periods in history and he should be thankful he is not on trial for human rights violations and abuse of authority.

    May 22, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  21. Mike

    Cheney is a traitor! Being a Republican is more important to him than being an American. Thank God we finally have a President like Obama, who knows what he's doing.

    May 22, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  22. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Wow, a republican who doesn't have his head stuck up his rectum.

    May 22, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  23. Paul

    Ah, he makes some valid points on both sides of the argument.

    However, he dared to disagree with Cheney, so it won't be long before he's branded a RINO and Rush Limbaugh is bellowing for him to shut up and hit the road and get out of his party.

    May 22, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  24. WINK

    Cheney is hiding something!

    May 22, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. Russ H

    I am so tired hearing about Cheney that there are two (2) ways to stop it. One is to let him go hunting with Pelosi and hopefully they will not come back and the other way is for CNN and HLN and other news networks to quick writing his stupid idiotic statements. You guys are causing some of the problems because he loves this being on stage

    May 22, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
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