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. Keith

    It funny, most of you obviously just read the headlines since he also disagrees with Obama. I sure hope Obama's teleprompter has been to West Point because someday soon it's going to have to lead us into battle.

    May 22, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. Avi Shlomo

    Well done Ridge!! reudating the idiot of our party, but your critique of Obama is biased to say the least. start working on what is good for America and not to advance the same old agenda. we need new blood in our party

    May 22, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  3. Brandon

    I feel bad for people who justify torture by using 9/11. First of all you don't know if you've got the right guy who even knows anything. Then you put that person in a situation where they will tell you anything you want to know just so you'll stop doing things to them. Don't use a tragic event to justify torture. I've got an idea. Lets strap these people to a board and "pour water on them" as one person said and see what we can get them to admit to. Who knows, maybe some of them will tell us they were also co-conspiritors of 9/11.

    May 22, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. joe

    Hey Dick, did you notice the terrorists who got busted in NY? How come they didn't succeed? You think maybe your army is all in the wrong place? Dick? (oh he can't hear me, he's playing golf with Satan).

    May 22, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  5. NVa Native

    Ridge has always been a thoughtful person, I don't always agree with him. He is the opposite of the likes of "dog-on-man" Rick Santanorum.
    Pa deserves rational people like Tom Ridge and Gov. Rendell in charge.

    May 22, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  6. Paul

    I am beginning to wonder if Cheney is actually inviting an attack by our enemies to throw our country into increased turmoil and to partisan advantage! I voted for the Bush/Cheney team twice and I am shocked how Cheney is publicly insterting himself into the security debate now that he is out of office. I am disappointed. We have only one Commander in Chief–President Obama.

    May 22, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. another Minnesotan

    @ Jimmy the Greek,

    We could live in an entirely militarized state in which we are watched 24/7 by soldiers to "protect us" and that would not necessarily prevent a terrorist attack from happening.

    If you are willing to give up all of your freedoms for peace of mine because you are so fearful of dying in a terrorist attack I suggest you move to China.

    May 22, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  8. Steve

    I believe that what President Obama was referring to about national security decisions based on fear, rather than foresight was our illegal war with Iraq.

    May 22, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  9. JOE

    The REPUBLICAN PARTY just can NOT pass the SMELL TEST any more. It is rotten to it's core.

    May 22, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  10. JR

    Tom Ridge, Tom Ridge, oh yeah, he's another ex-member of the failed Bush administration, wasn't he fired for incompetence.

    May 22, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  11. Howard

    I sometimes wonder if Cheney is making a lot of hay over the torture issue because he fears being charged with a crime. The psychology is this: "If I speak out on it enough, they won't dare touch me because it'll look like political retribution and that would cost them public support."

    May 22, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  12. Bill/CA

    I guess that means Tom Ridge is no longer a Republican.

    May 22, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  13. Bill in California

    NO ONE MAN REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT OR INDEPENDENT can answer this question and satisfy EVERYONE. There is NO question that plans are being made to hurt the USA and hurt it bad. ANY move toward pacifism or the rights of terrorists pledged to carry out those plans IS weakening the nation's security. The next TWIN TOWERS will confirm that. Too bad it takes Americans dying on their own soil to wake people up...if only for a little while.

    May 22, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. rob

    Ridge had more to say about Obama doing the blame game and looking backward than criticizing Cheney. CNN is so one-sided its pathetic.

    May 22, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  15. Dennis

    Tom Ridge will beat Arlen Spector for the Senate seat. He should be the Vice President at this time.

    May 22, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  16. David

    Ben – If we do it to them, it ain't torture

    Wrong. It just means we torture our troops. Jesse Ventura who has been through the program said it himself, "It is torture." Besides, this goes beyond waterboarding, there were much worse things done and when they finally come out, Bush and Cheney should be tried and if Gitmo is still open stuck in there for the rest of their lives.

    May 22, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  17. JT

    Jay – You are right. John King presents an overtly right wing agenda each time he is on air. I can't even listen to him any more.

    May 22, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  18. WhoCares?

    So you keep America safe from Terrorists by allowing them to attack and kill 3000 american citizens on US soil?

    Republican logic at its finest right there.

    May 22, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  19. Michele

    But the Bush decisions were based on fear, and they rammed the war through Congress on that basis. It surely wasn't based on fact. Bush wanted to attack Iraq, and we are now learning that he was willing to torture people to find a link to save his butt. He still has not, and Cheney is now out there because he is terrified of being convicted of war crimes. So the entire mess was based on fear, Mr. Ridge, and Cheney hasn't let go of it yet.

    May 22, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  20. Bob the Observer

    I thought you said "Top Republican." What has Tom Ridge done to earn that title?

    I would like to hear what a genuine Republican has to say.

    May 22, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  21. Ben

    JT – "Torture was wrong, illegal, and we would never wish any other country to do the same on our citizens."

    You need to get a clue. We've had it done to our people countless times. Are you not paying attention?

    May 22, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  22. TM in CO

    Please show me the proof that extreme interogation measures saved thousands of lives. All we have are the words coming out of Cheney's mouth. Keep in mind folks the Haliburton lies.......................................

    May 22, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. Raul

    They are just terrorist.s.. They aren't super vilians with super powers. Why should we care if they have to spend time with the scum bags in our super-max prisons. The argument is stupid.

    Close Git-mo...

    May 22, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  24. WhoCares?

    I really hope Obama has the FBI monitoring all of Cheney's correspondence. He has alot of contacts in the Middle East via Haliburton and I think he is probably actively working to get us hit so it will prove him right.

    He might be the single most dangerous threat to America right now....a FORMER VICE-PRESIDENT!!

    County first!!

    May 22, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
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