June 1st, 2009
09:10 PM ET
12 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. BarbraK

    Cheyney was always assumed to be acting President when Bush was President. I get the impression he is still acting.

    June 2, 2009 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  2. Ex-RepublicanTX

    Cheney is the reason the Obama administration should release the photos and shut up Chenye once and for all. I am going to spit on Cheney's, Bush, Rumsfeld and Rush grave.

    June 2, 2009 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  3. Miguel

    Mr. President,
    If Cheney is wrong that waterboarding gleaned crucial information that saved lives, please release the memos and prove him wrong. If you continue to keep the memos secret, we will only wonder what you are hiding.

    June 2, 2009 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  4. russ street

    Why shouldn't president Obama enjoy a night on the town with his wife. It wasn't his fault that GM went belly up. besides all the crittiisium of what went wrong wil not help the situation at al. Could President Obama have changed anything by staying in the White House ?

    June 2, 2009 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  5. Wanderer

    I can see how patriotic former vice president Cheny is, but I don’t understand why he and other GOP still think the USA was safer after the 9/11 and keep picking on the newly elected president who has just been on his job for less than half a year. It is true that there was no terrorist attack after 9/11, but it does not mean USA was safe or safer. How many years have passed since 09/11 until the new president Obama started his job? What was the USA like before the 9/11? What was the USA like at the end of Bush administration? How long has Obama been in the White House? I think 'don't know' is one of the best answers at this time.

    June 2, 2009 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  6. Babs

    President Obama is too nice. I'd be slamming Cheney and his big mouth. Cheney is one big scarry dude that needs his butt kicked.

    June 2, 2009 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  7. tanya

    I'm sick of the "dick" whose constantly screwing himself!

    June 2, 2009 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  8. T Mckinley

    I applaud our DEMOCRATALLY ELECTED President for standing up to former U.S. emperor Darth Haliburton and his lies. By now it is evident who was REALLY running the show during GWB's 8 years as our alledged "President."

    June 2, 2009 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  9. mike

    Obama is a very smart man, he Knows that he and the democrats have already destroyed Cheney's legacy. So, deep down he understands why Cheney is trying to save what little reputation he has left! What baffles me about Cheney is why was he silent during his tenure as vice president, and is deciding to speak out now? Wasn't it his job to defend the very policies he was advocating, and implementing at the time?

    June 2, 2009 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  10. renea

    My question for the former vp is if he cared so much about the america people then why didnt he speak out when jobs was being lost the stock market was taking a real hard hit, people was beginning to lose their homes. that was a time when really needed to hear from his administration to give us feedback, to what was going on then.

    June 2, 2009 12:30 am at 12:30 am |

    Dick Cheney is making a top notch fool of himself, this guy needs to be waterboarded.

    June 2, 2009 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  12. Marry

    What a difference between the two men!
    It is incredible how president Obama replays with style, intelligence and good manners, when others do not discuss issues but attack personally. The president is just fantastic and such a good example how to treat others. And he is working for the people – what a nice change!

    June 2, 2009 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  13. Hal

    Cheney wrong?? Say it ain't so. But can you name one thing he has gotten right??

    June 2, 2009 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  14. Proud American

    Mr. President please don't waste your time on someone like Cheney, our country is less safe because Cheney and Bush and the rest of their thugs.

    June 2, 2009 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  15. J.P.

    Only time will tell... I pray the new president is right.

    June 2, 2009 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  16. Chtei

    Cheney has a lot of nerve to challenge a brand new administration on foreign policy, following the disaster of his own administration. Is he really this insecure? At least Al Gore was somewhat trusted at the time and didn't consider a 36% approval rating a "great improvement!". Mr. Cheney, if you are so knowledge please run for office in 2012, let's see what happens.

    June 2, 2009 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  17. Dave

    Dick Cheney is like a trick birthday candle that wont go out...like a whack-a-mole that just keeps popping up, like a green hot dog you taste twice....

    June 2, 2009 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  18. Kari in Huntington Beach

    I think Cheney's comments could leave the impression that America is not safe with Obama's policies, however I also think he protests to much. Looks like he is trying to gain favor for his decisions, knowing they were illegal. How many attorneys did they contact before they found the ones who would give them the legal advice they wanted to hear?

    June 2, 2009 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  19. Tatianna

    Sorry, the dems/libs kool-aid drinkers might believe Obamas nonsense, but the rest of us are not that easily deceived. Obama is mastering a political maneuvering. First: Denounce your presidential administration predecessors for a given policy, energizing your partys base and capitalizing on their unpopularity. Second: Pretend to have reversed that policy upon taking office with a symbolic act or high-profile statement. Third: Adopt a version of that same policy, knowing that its the only way to govern responsibily or believing doing otherwise is too difficult. Repeat as necessary. Obama has executed versions of three-step on warrantless wiretaps, Iraq war, renditions, Predator Drone, email intercepts, military tribunes, and block release of photos depicting prisoner abuse. Dont be confused, learn how to decipher the Obama Code: Say one thing while doing the opposite!

    June 2, 2009 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  20. Biased

    Why should there be a mandatory waiting period? Obama took over and has never stopped complaining constantly that he inherited every mess from Bush. No matter how much you dislike anyone you can still see why Cheney has every right to speak up. Maybe if Obama would just deal with things and accept he is the President now, then quit with the constant blame game.....maybe he might sound as if he realizes he has the job and is still not campaigning. Now flame away democrats – I dared speak words other than glowing ones.

    June 2, 2009 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  21. sharper

    This is not about a good grade speech, Mr. President. Don't be so arrogant by saying someone's else speech didn't have a good grade. This is about the safety of 300 millions Americans, Sir!

    PS: You're good at speech because you use teleprompter!

    June 2, 2009 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  22. Steven

    Cheney's wrong ? Well can we see the unedited memos please mr president.
    I think we the american people are smart enough to tell for ourselves who's right or wrong after we see all the facts ( memos and intelligence estimates).
    As much i hate cheney and dislike the the bush crowd i also have to at least agree with them on national security issues.
    Some say the code red and orange alerts were made to keep us paranoid- which i was- however if someone terrorist had my family member somewhere and i get my hands on them i would make them sing.

    Last time on CNN they showed a cop delivering a blow to an unconscious male to the face after a car chase and THAT was standard procedure; And i'm being told terrorists who behead people deserve to be treated nicely ?

    June 2, 2009 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  23. Michael in Ventura,CA

    The President is correct. The EX Vice President is amoung other things the EX! He made no sense for eight years and cost this country dearly. He should face war crimes charges and his opinions are out-of-touch with reality as always. Go AWAY Dick!

    June 2, 2009 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  24. Beber

    Cheney is a douche bag.

    June 2, 2009 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  25. Mary - Humble, TX

    Where was Cheney's voice when he was VP? Mr. Cheney you had your time and we are not interested in what you have to say.

    June 2, 2009 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
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