June 1st, 2009
09:10 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama refutes Cheney: He's 'wrong'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/21/art.cheneyobama.gi.jpg caption="Obama hit back at Cheney's comments in an interview on NPR Monday."](CNN) - President Obama is hitting back at Dick Cheney's string of recent statements declaring the new president has made America more vulnerable to a terrorist attack, flatly telling NPR Monday the former vice president is "wrong."

"He…happens to be wrong, right?" Obama said laughing. "And last time, immediately after his speech, I think there was a fact-check on his speech that didn't get a very good grade."

Obama's comments come 10 days after both he and Cheney gave dueling speeches on national security, during which the president sharply condemned Bush administration interrogation practices while Cheney vigorously defended them.

But Obama said Monday Cheney's vigorous criticisms do not complicate his administration’s efforts to chart its own course when it comes to conducting the war on terror.

"Does it make it more complicated? No, because I think these are complicated issues and there is a legitimate debate to be had about national security," he said. "And I don't doubt the sincerity of the former vice president or the previous administration in wanting to protect the American people. And these are very difficult decisions."

Obama also said he doesn't find it unusual Cheney has become so outspoken in his criticism of the new administration, citing former vice president Al Gore as an example.

"As I remember, there were some speeches given by Vice President Gore that differed with President Bush's policies and I think that's healthy; that's part of the debate," he said. "And I don't in any way begrudge, I think, anybody in debating sometimes ferociously these issues that are of preeminent importance to the United States."

But Gore himself may take issue with that statement. Appearing on CNN last month, the former vice president said Cheney is speaking out too early.

"I waited two years after I left office to make statements that were critical,” Gore said. (Some have noted Gore actually began to criticize the run-up to the Iraq war in September 2002 - about a year-and-a-half after Bush took office.)

Filed under: Dick Cheney • Extra • President Obama
soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. Antoinette from Florida

    President Obama is such a gracious leader. It almost as though Cheney wishes something bad would happen to "prove a point?"-and that is just sick. The Republican party is in a strong "time out" with no leader (oh yes, their leader is an addict/entertainer). Vice President Gore is correct-Cheney's outspoken behaviour is totally inapprorpriate. We didn't hear boo publically out of Cheney for 8 years, but and since the Democrats took it all in 2008, he won't shut up. He is best ignored--please do that CNN.

    June 1, 2009 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  2. Epidi

    *SIGH* I wish Cheney and the former admin would realize that information or confessions gotten from torture more often than not does not yield truths. Didn't we learn that from the Inquisitions & witch hunts? Get over losing the election to the democratic party and if you are going to say something – be constructive for crying out loud. All the nay-saying and bashing is not helping. If you can't offer any constructive advice don't offer up anything at all.

    June 1, 2009 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  3. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    besides having the ability to articulate words and use his feelings and truth .our president is doing a great job ..and cheney had his chance and it didn't work other than making him rich and I have issue with someone who continues to lie to america to cover up his screw ups

    cheney should just shut up and spend his money and go away

    he just keeps showing the world what kind of ass
    he really is CHENEY

    June 1, 2009 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  4. Nick

    The fact check proving Cheney's false statements should be included in this article.

    June 1, 2009 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  5. smiff

    Disregard any and all statements made by anyone not directly affilliated or approved by Chairman Obama.........Heil!!!!!!

    June 1, 2009 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  6. Gus The Willie

    Tricky Dicky Cheney had his chance for the past eight years. Now why would he crawl out of self imposed hole to defend King Georges policies. They should just fade away, and leave the safety of this country in more capable hands. Only a criminal will return to the crime scene. King George and Tricky Dickie Cheney should take a vacation in Spain, if they are still willing to host them.

    June 1, 2009 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  7. RealityKing

    How about AirFrance and it's lost 228 souls? Is political counter punches more important to Obama than sending high tech American search and rescue planes!!??

    June 1, 2009 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  8. Hannah Stevens

    I don't get it. Cheney hid in his bunker the whole of the bush/cheney regime and now he comes out swinging. But I guess I do. He's afraid of being indicted for war crimes which definitely should happen. He's a crook, plain and simple.

    June 1, 2009 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  9. Retired US Army Officer - Kansas

    If anyone made America less safe it is Cheney.

    June 1, 2009 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  10. Squigman

    Why is Cheney still running around free. He has been shown up as a liar, and his part of the decision making process during the Bush years in office have produced a nation divided by rumor and half truths. I will never understand why any person with an IQ higher than 65 would listen to this coward.

    June 1, 2009 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  11. steve in k.c.

    It's nice to know that the President has to rely on other's "fact check" to know right from wrong. He obviously knows he can't win this one, otherwise he would not put the responsibility on others.

    June 1, 2009 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  12. RealityKing

    Fact Check!? Please.., spare me the supporting liberal double talk. I mean, just because the progressive state run media doesn't question his ramblings doesn't mean Americans are blind to the clear media bias.

    June 1, 2009 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  13. Moe NY

    I agree with you President Obama, as I am sure most Americans will....VP Cheney is wrong, as he has been all along. I do not think for one minute that you would make America more vulnerable to a terrorist attack. Matter of fact, I think you made a great call on the pirate incident....called it correctly, and fast decision. VP Cheney does not have much creditability with most Americans, and for good reason. The majority of Americans are not paying any attention to the rantings of VP Cheney, as we all know that he is an obstructionist Republican/Conservative that is trying to win back their political power with lies and fear, which worked for them once/twice, but never again. I have complete faith in your national security policy....I feel safe anyway, as safe as anyone can realistically expect. I think what most people in this country needs to understand is that you cannot show your hand and tell the people everything.

    June 1, 2009 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  14. dustbunny

    I would belive Cheney before obama. obama has no experince to fall back on to have anything to say on the subject.

    June 1, 2009 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  15. DJ BALL

    Cheney belongs in prison.
    Torture or lying to go to war , take your pick.
    The United Snakes of Torture need to all be prosecuted before the U.S is looked upon as anything other than torturing hypocrits.
    Many Americans demand full disclosure on torture so that this grotesque act is never carried out in their name again.
    "Looking forward" is not acceptable and it makes the current administration complicit in blocking justice.
    This should be the number one issue for America right now as it tries to revamp it's tarnished reputation.
    Torture was the number one recruitment tool for the insurgents.
    Torture killed American soldiers. This is fact.
    Cheney wouldn't be canvassing so hard for torture if he didn't think he was in serious trouble.
    The only way to stop the Dick Cheney Pinocchio Parade is by subpoenas and dragging his fear mongering butt into a court of Law,preferably at The Hague.

    June 1, 2009 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  16. Doug504

    Dick Cheney has the same mindset as Richard Nixon and Herbert Hoover. Conservatives should pay heed to how they are being betrayed.

    In the early 1970's, American citizens were fired upon by the American military for protesting against Nixon's policies. Nixon also had American citizens falsely arrested.

    In the early 1930's, American citizens were fired upon by the American military for protesting against Hoover's policies. Hoover also had American citizens falsely arrested.

    Cheney says "we would have done anything". Bush/Cheney had American citizens falsely arrested.

    Worried about threats to your life and liberty? Then worry about conservative Republican politicians.

    Because conservative Republican politicians have a history of shooting people or arresting people who disagree.

    June 1, 2009 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  17. mjm

    Who needs terroists when Obama can destroy America all by himself?

    June 1, 2009 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  18. Elections have consequences

    Cheney is a credible spokesperson for the GOP. He has always either told the truth or had people waterboarded until they said what he wanted to be the truth.

    Cheney / Ginrich 2012
    The Human WMD's for the GOP
    Try Experience for a Change

    June 1, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  19. Joe Unger, San Francisco

    I find it interesting that CNN "checks the facts" on Al Gore. The majority in our country tend to go heavy on the rhetoric, heavy on the exagaration. Yet when a politician does this, it's a sign of bad character. Too many people do what Gore did, round up the facts for something good, round them down for something that doesn't make you look good.
    Anyway, CNN, you appear to be conservative on Gore; the length of time is actually more than 1 yr and 6 mos...but less than 24 months.
    So is it really about a year-and-a-half or about 2 years?

    June 1, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  20. Rick Grano

    Former V.P. Cheney is a criminal and belongs in prison. I'm not alone in my opinion. Who cares what he says... now or ever? Maybe he just wants to keep himself in the public eye so he can command even a higher paycheck from his latest book.

    While we're at it, let us remember that Republicans had everything they wanted for almost two decades. Congress, the Supreme Court, even had President Clinton tied up in the end. Look what they did to our country. Our world. This is the mess they left for President Obama's administration to clean up. Why don't we get off the rhetoric from the right and join the USA team. CNN has a Palin story or link on their front page almost every single day since last November. Fueling hate isn't what we need right now. No one ever erected a statue for a critic. Lets move on.


    June 1, 2009 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  21. George Guadiane Austerlitz, NY

    Investigate the last administration for war crimes, let Cheney give interviews from prison where he belongs.

    June 1, 2009 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  22. Hopeful Optimist

    Obama has an ingenious way of avoiding the cesspool of the political battleground that most politicians do not have. He is super cool and very confident. Therefore, he doesn't need to try to deceive or spin his way thru an issue. He can be truthful without damaging or compromising his position on practically anything he encounters. Kind of like the old proverb of 'if you always tell the truth you never have to worry about contradicting yourself.'

    June 1, 2009 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  23. CindyTea

    Dick Cheney is a disgruntled Republican who doesn't want to give up the idea that he's GOD. He'll be long remembered for his vicious lies and his inability to serve his country well.

    June 1, 2009 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  24. tranquil12

    I think that given the time frame that President Obama has been in office, the situation he is faced with, (excluding new sits), that he is doing a fine job and he needs the support of the American people. I believe this is a critical time, not just for America, but the world as a whole. Globally we all need to start re-thinking our priorities and setting some serious boundaries before we can even begin to think about getting out of this mess that we are in. Cause, like it or not folks, we are ALL in this together. We can either swim together or sink........

    June 1, 2009 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  25. Trilla

    Cheney's got the grin of the devil himself.

    June 1, 2009 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
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