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. GWC

    I agree with the President that we can uphold our values and have other methods that are equal or better than torture.

    Cheney is arrogant and is only interested in his reputation. He is NOT concerned about our security. I hope he fades into retirement soon. What he is doing is disgusting and embarrasing us globally.

    May 22, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  2. Doublethink

    Kevin in Ohio said:

    "Cheney is right. Ridge is wrong. The fearmongers are the Obama crowd."

    War is Peace
    Freedom is Slavery
    Ignorance is Strength

    May 22, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |

    The Republican Party can no longer pass the SMELL TEST..

    May 22, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  4. EDR

    @derek – So you know someone is going to attack by airplane... what airline, what day, what time, what flight, what airport, what is the target? Hmm – maybe we need better tools to gather such information like, eves dropping, infiltrating suspected terrorist groups..... waterboarding???

    May 22, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    Everyone have a great and safe Memorial Day and remember all our vets, both past and present over the weekend.

    Because everyone has been focusing on 9/11 this past week, and for a good read, google "The Phoenix Memo" which puts into perspective our counterintelligence the months leading up to 9/11.

    May 22, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  6. John

    There has to be some truth to the accusation that Dick Cheney is exaggerating the truth when his former head of Homeland Security and his former Secretary of State disagree with Dick Cheney.

    Dick Cheney might be trying to deflect attention to himself for breaking laws and corruption in the awards of no-bid contracts to Halliburton.

    May 22, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  7. Jyoti

    @ the truth. You are absolutely right. You don't hear a peep out of W 🙂

    May 22, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  8. Jyoti

    While Cheney is out there campaigning for torture, why doesn't he campaigh against "gay marriage" with his "gay" daughter by his side? 😉 Nothing he does has any logic to it.

    May 22, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  9. J.Crobuzon

    Nice try, Cheney. Now shut up.

    May 22, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  10. Ted Tartaglia

    Cheney is an egomaniac as well as a coward. He talks about sending the creme of our youth into harm's way when he was too much of a coward to put himself in harm's way. During Vietnam, he hid behind his wife's skirts to evade service.

    What a disgrace this man is. He should take himself hunting and solve his problem.

    May 22, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  11. KC

    Well Libs....If you want Cheney to be quiet then you all need to contact the White House and tell Obama to grow up, act like a man and quit blaming others for what he has "inherited". Ridge is right on this point.....Obama needs to quit looking backwards, pointing his finger and start marching forward. Obama continues to blame the Bush Admin so he can distract the voters and do things behind their backs that will hurt us all in the long run.

    May 22, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  12. The Unshrub

    If republicans want to put country before party they would all condemn Cheney. Where is McCain? Why doesn't he step in and condemn Cheney? Cheney is doing exactly what the republicans condemned others for doing during the Iraqi war.

    Phoenix96 you said, "Obama plays on class warfare, fear and hatred. That is the basis of every speech he gives." You can disagree with what Obama is saying, but your claim doesn't make a bit of sense. You are an idiot.

    May 22, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  13. Royster

    I applaud Ridge for having the cahones to tell the truth about this whole mess and throw it in Cheney's face.
    On the other long as the RNC keeps villifying Obama, Obama needs to back and criticize the Bush/Cheney regime in defense...Obama did NOT start this war of hate filled words.

    May 22, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  14. Patrick

    Hey, dummies, if Cheney was so irrelevant why does Obama find the need to defend himself against him.

    The answer: Pouring water on three guy's heads worked. It saved thousands of lives and if the documents that Cheney wants out comes out, Obama is going to look silly.

    Obama's honeymoon will last another few months. After that, he owns the economy and our national security. We will see what happens.

    May 22, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. Jason

    So you think we should have stayed in Vietnam, despite it being a mistake? We should just continue to fight a war just to win. What benefit would success in Vietnam do for us?

    May 22, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  16. JT

    @american first – Your comment speaks volumes about your lack of judgement.

    May 22, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  17. itbeme

    wow....even some of the repukes are starting to have their eyes open......

    better watch out.....Lush will kick you out of the party....

    if your lucky!

    May 22, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  18. LJS

    When people from another country come to my country, hurt and kill innocent civilians and plot to do more harm, if I capture one of them, and believe they have information which will save lives, I will torture them mercilessly and without remorse.

    Signed...a proud Viet Cong leader

    May 22, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  19. ANDROLOMA, Commerce City, Colorado

    Mr. Ridge will get some old-timey religion enforced in this country, fo' sho'!

    May 22, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  20. awesome-o

    ridge is not fully informed here. cheney's cpeech was scheduled months in advance. obama rescheduled his so that it would be immediately before cheneys

    May 22, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  21. JT

    Ben – So torture is good, legal, and okay for all of our citizens to be subjected to it abroad???

    You might want to get a clue. Torture is an indefensible policy. Who can defend it as a policy and keep their reputation intact? Nobody.

    May 22, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  22. New Day

    demwit – "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."

    ...and then there's a link where you can read the entire speech.

    Reading is Fundamental, jack ass

    May 22, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  23. John Black

    Well no. Cheney is not wrong.. these so called top republicans are the ones that are wrong!

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

    Give old Dick a break, he's just trying to proactively fend off the International Criminal Court indictment.

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