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. On Liz Cheney in AZ

    If the policies of the previous administration on troture were so warranted, then why hasn't Condi and "W" and joined the Cheney duo? This little father and daughter act is what it is, unconditional love. I don't trust either one of them. Period!

    May 22, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  2. donttreadonme

    These were "three" well know established Al-Qaeda leaders that were waterboarded in the wake of the most devastating attack on US soil (excluding Pearl of course). Waterboarding is rough but under extreme situations it is moral and just to waterboard if it could prevent the loss of life.

    Discomfort of death?

    May 22, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. Chris

    I trust VP Cheney over anyone. 9/11 was a changing point regarding our national security.

    May 22, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  4. CitizenJane


    You are either a blubbering idiot or someone whose mother should take away your keyboard, either works for me.

    May 22, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  5. Fran

    Cheney has to defend the policies - he helped write them! What he's trying to do is justify torture so he doesn't get indicted.

    May 22, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  6. God

    Tell us something we don't know, Tom. Dick has been wrong since the day he was born.

    May 22, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. american first

    The stupidity of the majority of the comments here are overwhelming. It sounds like a bunch of sheep bleating, blindly following the talking points. and to mike who says cheney is a traitor. you need to read the constitution that obama has torn up and spit upon.
    CNN= Communist News Network

    May 22, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  8. mary

    8 years of Cheney was 8 years too many. This man is evil and does not deserve the limelight. Quit covering what he says!

    The foiled attempt of terrorism at a New York synagogue proves that you don't have to torture to get information – just work smart within the law!

    May 22, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  9. Jim

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

    May 22, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. Barbara Campbell

    The rightwing radicals have really gone over the edge with Cheney, Gingrich, etc. leading the way.

    May 22, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  11. Had It

    I'm with Jay and JT

    I miss a lot of what could be enlightening interviews because John King is such a radical right-wingnut.

    May 22, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  12. derek


    and who didnt read the memo that they were going to attack us again by airplane in early august over a month b4 9-11? who was on vacation during that time? who had a business relationship with Osama's brother?? Had that in your comments

    May 22, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  13. thetruth

    is it any surprise that we see Cheney so out in front and vocal of the last admin's policy re: torture, detainees, terrorists and warfare? Is there any doubt who the president was during 2001-2005? is there? it certainly wasnt GWB. If we get attacked again in the future and there is a possibility that we will, it will not be because we didn't torture anyone. Plain and simple torture is debunked and stated to be inneffective even in a ticking time bomb scenario.

    May 22, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  14. EDR

    @Michele – "But the Bush decisions were based on fear, and they rammed the war through Congress on that basis."

    What do you think the Obama Administration used to ram the stimulous package through Congress without one person reading the content???? Give me a break!!!

    May 22, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  15. donttreadonme

    This is the same weak liberal mentality the was our down fall in Veitnam. War is fought to win it is not a game with rules. These savages behead and rip the guts out of our troops after bathing in their blood. And you are crying about waterboarding that causes no permament damage?

    May 22, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  16. Jarrod

    Why wont Cheny shut up? We even had the guys doing the interrogations testify that torture or 'enhanced questioning' doesnt produce reliable info, and that they gave more info from direct questions. My fellow Americans, does the end always justify the means? I would rather risk an attack, then give up my values. I would rather have Freedom, than be wiretapped, spied on, and microchipped. Thats not freedom, its a cage. Frankly I fear Republicans more than terrorists. Osama never took away my rights, Bush and Cheny did.

    May 22, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  17. heather


    you play on ignorance, fear and hipocrisy with every comment you make

    May 22, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. mary


    So what you're saying is you believe uniting people and equal opportunities create class warfare, fear and hatred.

    That figures and say a lot about you and your selfish mentality.

    May 22, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  19. anita

    Ridge, use some of the leftover duct tape and plastic from the post 9/11 alert era, to wrap yourself up, (airtight) with postage paid to Afghanistan.
    Speaking of gas bags; Obama scheduled his campaign speech AFTER Cheney announced his own.

    May 22, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. Arlington,VA

    By no means am I a right winger, but honestly there was nothing that was going to stop 9/11 from happening. Yes the last adiministration was ridiculously dumb and their actions after 9/11 needed more thought behind them, but 9/11 was unimaginable to them and to the American people. Who would have thought people would crash planes into our trade towers? Yeah the warning signs were there, but so are many others every day. You can't blame Bush for bad airport security and so on-it was bad when he got there.

    Frankly, the American people don't change something until something bad happens...

    May 22, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. Sharyn in ATL

    I have said this before, and I will say it again and again until someone actually answers me. If the "enhanced interrogation techniques" and waterboarding were so effective – and legal – why were they used on "only" three targets? I mean, wouldn't it make sense that if it was just fine and dandy to do this, it would have been standard operating procedure?

    May 22, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  22. wayne king

    Cheney (and Rush Limbo) need to be investigated for inciting terror .

    May 22, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  23. robert

    9/11 was an inside job!
    google: bilderberg

    May 22, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  24. j

    I would love to be a Republican, however, I`m reither rich enough nor a radical, zealot. --– I`d consider returning if it were to return to its centralist views.

    May 22, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  25. JOE

    What is the difference betweeh Adolph Hitler and DICK Cheney????

    Hitler was a genious compared to DICK Cheney his IQ is the same as his shoe size.

    May 22, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13