May 21st, 2009
09:54 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Pres. Obama Vs. Cheney

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Did you see both Pres. Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney give speeches today on national security? Tonight, we'll look at both of their messages. They're not on the same page.

Pres. Obama is sticking with his plan to close Gitmo despite opposition from Republicans and Democrats on Captiol Hill.

"The record is clear: Rather than keep us safer, the prison at Guantanamo has weakened American national security," Pres. Obama said today in Washington.

Meanwhile, across town, Dick Cheney blasted the current Commander-in-Chief.

"In the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground, and half-measures keep you half exposed," he said.

Cheney is arguing Pres. Bush was right and Pres. Obama is wrong when it comes to national security.

Do you agree? Share your comments below.

Tonight, Anderson will be talking with Liz Cheney.  She's defending her father. You won't want to miss this interview.

Join us for this story and more starting at 10pm ET.

See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Niki Beecher

    Oh, Jenny, I'm so sad for you. If only you'd actually look up the facts, rather than just swallow this stuff hook, line and sinker! How can you be so sure of yourself...do you have facts, real facts, to back it up? "Kept us safe" doesn't work...they had many warnings of 9/11 and did nothing and if there'd been any ACTUAL plots foiled, they'd have sung them from the highest rooftops by now. "Torture got answers" no longer works, either; experts have shown it doesn't work and other techniques work better. Nobody wants to "get along", we just want to deal with terrorists within our country's legal and moral standards, as we have MANY terrorists previously; some of which languish in our high-security prisons to this day.

    You don't even KNOW these people are hard-core killers, especially given some were swept up doing nothng and having nothing to do with Al Q'eda. Those that are will be dealt with appropriately; the right-wing scare tactics notwithstanding. Have you ever actually tried to "find the truth" yourself? I mean via exploring the actual facts, not just listening to Rush Limbaugh, but be sure that what you are expousing is TRUTH? Please, I'd LOVE some proof they "kept us safe", but I can't find it...can you? Don't just toss political catch phrases at us, show us some facts, please.

    May 22, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  2. jenny

    Go Liz! I am glad she is ready to stand up against this liberal media that is running rampant. I am glad there were people ready to make the hard decisions to protect our freedom. I am now very fearful that our current administration would rather sing "Cumbahyah" and all get along. That would be wonderful, but is not reality. We are dealing with hard core killers that are doing all they can to destroy our homeland. Keep your eyes open and always find the truth!

    May 22, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  3. Debi

    Anderson I want to commend you on calling out Liz Cheyney. She is, as her father, defending an unconstitutional act done in the name of the United States of America.
    The USA is not about torture, nor is it about defending war crimes. Both Cheneys are attempting to justify torture and war crimes.

    May 22, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  4. Nick Daniels

    Are these people insane? Enhanced interigation is torture. Don't give in to the buzz words that make the most terrible things sound fine. To hear cheneys daughter defend this garbage literally made me sick. Torture just makes people hate us more.

    May 22, 2009 at 5:26 am |
  5. Tony Long

    First, where did Cheney come from? I thought he was hiding in the presidential bunker. I can not recall seeing him during Bush's administration. Terrorism, well I new something was fishy when the border between us and Mexico wasn't secured. Why on earth would a terrorist try to fly into the US when it is so much easier to sneak into the country through Mexico. The illegals and drug smugglers have been doing this for years now. So it never made sense to me and I never felt any danger. Makes you go hmm.

    May 22, 2009 at 3:23 am |
  6. Nadine

    Anytime somebody mentions or refers to 9 / 11 , you call it scare tactics and fear mongering.
    What is the matter with you people , we remember wars and are always reminded , Lest We Forget.
    9/11 was a horrific attack on american soil and should never be forgotten , for all the things the Bush administration got wrong , they got one thing right , they kept you and your country safe.

    May 22, 2009 at 2:52 am |
  7. Robert

    I'd like to be a fly on the wall of the new interagation methods. I imagine it'll go something like this "Mr. Osama Bin Laden we have exhausted or verbal requests. We will now...... bride you. How about a million dollars and 10 virgins for some good intel." Mr. Laden "I will have to run that through my American Lawyer" American lawyer "Make it 10 million dollars, 72 virgins and overnight visits to the White House. In return Mr. Laden will drop his pending civil rights violation suit, thus saving thousands of American lives"

    May 22, 2009 at 2:22 am |
  8. Prince - IN

    Cheney wrong, Obama right!! Fearmongering versus hope! Hope always wins. And who is Liz Cheney to lecture us on the benefits of torture? Republicans will accuse you of treason if you oppose their Prez in a time of war on any issue, yet see them scrambling to undermine Obama. What a bunch of losers.

    May 22, 2009 at 2:22 am |
  9. Charles O. Grigsby

    I voted for GW Bush twice, and supported him long after it was clear that he was leading us into a disaster. I bought the national security arguments hook, line, and sinker. What appears clear to me now is that we were ill-served by the nominally "born-again Christian values" pressed by the Bush Administration, notably by Cheney and Rumsfeld.

    I am sincerely disgusted with the notion that, in order to protect ourselves from evil, we must, ourselves, become evil. The strength of America is that we embrace the rule of law. I would rather that we take the risk that some of us might be hurt rather than descending to the level of a Hitler, a Stalin, or a Saddam Hussein.
    At best, Mr. Cheney is misguided in his attacks on President Obama. More likely, he is fighting to protect a flawed vision of the world. A vision shared, by the way, by a lot of fundamentalist Christians. What is Christian about torturing people, even bad people? We have strayed from the core values of our nation, and I, for one am most dismayed.

    After a lifetime of voting Republican, I will never again vote for someone whose personal behavior is so divergent from his/her expressed beliefs, and from the core values on which our country was founded.

    I listen to the arguments of Mr. Cheney, and I see the hollow attempt to justify his participiation and leadership in what I now regard as war crimes.

    I am so disappointed in us as a nation, yet so proud of President Obama and his leadership out of the wilderness.


    May 22, 2009 at 2:18 am |
  10. Doris

    The Bush administration did not keep us safer. Everyone seems to forget that Sept. 11th happened on Bush and Cheney's watch. If they had been reading their security briefings prior to that, Sept. 11th may have never happened. Then they made us even LESS safe by invading Iraq and trying to justify it later, bringing major danger and hatred to America. Thousands of Americans and Iraqis, many innocent people, have died during the Bush administration, and now Cheney is trying to defend himself, blame someone else, and stay out of jail. Let's either get him off the air, or in jail where he belongs.

    May 22, 2009 at 2:15 am |
  11. tom

    Cheney is a criminal. He needs to be held accountable for some of the crimes committed against humanity.

    May 22, 2009 at 2:01 am |
  12. Antoinette Hille

    Please make Cheney go away. After the past eight years, it's difficult to listen to or see him.

    May 22, 2009 at 1:58 am |
  13. darcy sherrod

    I agree with Dick Cheney and his daughter, Liz; she is a well spoken and knowledgeable person. I realize why he is speaking out now instead of when he served with President Bush – no one during their 8 years of service spoke against or even challenged the types of interrogation used on the terrorists – as President Obama is now. Our country was reeling from the attacks and the buildup of terrorists cells in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, other Middle Eastern Countries and all this information was TOP SECRET material that was shared with the Congress. I agree with Steve from Houston, TX.....those of us who do not learn from the mistakes in history are doomed to repeat them – how about educating ourselves on these events as a second lesson to learn.....and not from hostility, nastiness, fear or slander!!

    May 22, 2009 at 1:56 am |
  14. Dennis Stewart

    This country has always attempted to try people who are accused of war crimes against our country. The big one is torture. The question that never seems to be asked to former vice-president Cheney or his daughter, mini-me: Should our country condom other countries that use advance interrogation techniques, such as water-boarding, on our soldiers when they are prisoners-of-war?

    May 22, 2009 at 1:45 am |
  15. Paul Vaughan

    Why does an ex-administration that allowed almost 7,000 Americans to be killed at the hands of angy middle-easterners still believe they are the people to protect us? Paul – Tucson, Arizona

    May 22, 2009 at 1:40 am |
  16. Laurita Moore

    I feel intense distrust of Cheney and anyone close to him.

    May 22, 2009 at 1:34 am |
  17. Cherise

    I agree I think that AC360 gets a bad rap. As a moderate and registered Independent (I lean towards conservative Democrat) I think that Anderson Cooper has a very balanced voice. His show always has someone on each side of the political spectrum. I don't like the bickering, belittling and condescending voices of either FoxNews or MSNBC. Well done Anderson Cooper, that was an amazing debate.
    Btw. Im not quite sure how i feel about torture but the way DIck Cheney is going about this is despicable and un-American to me.

    May 22, 2009 at 1:31 am |
  18. Sarah Martini

    Anyone who thinks that what happenned to the prisoners at Guantanamo is not torture is guilty of self deception. Whether it worked or not is not justification of the means. I have been horribly ashamed of the America that tortures in the face of our stedfast position that we do not torture.

    The American was in my opinion would be this: The Bush administration should have said "America wants to apply torture." "Here is why and here is why we think it is legal." Let it be determined in the public eye if it is legal or not. If it is determined to be legal, then move forward and apply torture.

    The Bush administration knew that would never happen. They chose the beg forgiveness route rather than the obtain approval approach.

    The fact that the Bush administration chose to apply torture, then find the twisted legalities to make is seem like something that is not torture is completely criminal, and completely unAmerican.

    By the way: What a misnomer the term "ehanced interrogation!" Are we talking about a cafe latte with an extra shot of expresso? Or are we talking about the use of dogs, electrodes, drowning of people who are accused, but not tried as criminals.

    What a shame has been brought upon my beloved America.

    May 22, 2009 at 1:30 am |
  19. michael silverman

    How can we really believe Cheney? Some might agree with his approach or rationale, yet with after all the 'lies' he and his administration told, whatever he said should be understood with extreme caution.

    As an engaged world citizen, who works with many regular people in developing countries, I have witnessed and heard the true distaste for America under Bush and Cheney.

    Don't give him or his family so much air time.

    May 22, 2009 at 1:28 am |
  20. Tom

    When is Obama going to quit campaigning for president and start acting like one? His inexperience becomes more evident every day.

    May 22, 2009 at 1:27 am |
  21. Dianne

    Cheny's daughter makes a big deal about Pres. Obama and how he should open up documents for the American public with regard to the 'enhanced' interrogation method. I guess my question to her (and Cheny himself) is – why didn't his administration open up those very documents prior to the new administrations start date? If those documents do exist and they do not reveal privileged information, why didn't they put them out there themselves? Short answer – because they can get more fire under their pot by stirring up the flames of intrigue and trying to make the new administration look as though they are trying to hide something. You lost the race, accept your defeat.

    May 22, 2009 at 1:25 am |
  22. Bruce Doxey

    Please spare us from being exposed to Cheney and his family!

    May 22, 2009 at 1:21 am |
  23. Sharon Rickard

    President Obama's speech was inspiring. He reminded us that as Americans, we have faced and met many difficult challenges. As Americans we have honored our Constitution and have been fortunate enough to have a long history of fair minds leading us. We are brave, resilient and reasonable. Why then is Dick Cheney trying to convince us that we Americans are too fragile and frail to exist under any but the most guarenteed security – no matter what the cost. Are we less able than citizens of other countries to undergo the trials required to shape our country and our future? If we are afraid to be Americans, to meet adversity with intelligence, wisdom, and when necessary sacrifice, then who are we asking to do it and what price are we paying? Our fear and withdrawal will guarantee that we will be treated like the captive population in third world countries. We will be taken advantage of, victimized, and impoverished by the ruthless aristocrats we have placed in charge of our wealth and honest souls.

    May 22, 2009 at 12:55 am |
  24. mick

    anderson gave a great debate with liz chaney. she and her father both agree the bush admin. should be held as war criminals, and are as bad as the terrorist they are protecting us from.torsure is torsure

    May 22, 2009 at 12:37 am |
  25. Sylvia

    I disagree with Cheney. He's looks like fear and sounds like guilt and he did absolutely nothing for the American people while in office. Cheney is afraid so he's trying to scare the American people but it wont work because we all know what he's really about.

    May 22, 2009 at 12:28 am |
  26. pastorbenjamin

    It's time for Cheney to sit down and SHUT UP!
    Give some respect to the office of the president, even if you don't respect the current president. Cheney needs to sit down before he has a heart attack! I don't see President G.W. Bush up trying to defend himself and his decisions.

    May 22, 2009 at 12:14 am |
  27. Linda Duthie

    After the "cheney" events today and prior, it's quite obvious who was running the presidency, not Bush. And it was the previous presidency that has so little respect. The only other reason Cheney would do such a thing (campaigning for the last month) is he's working very hard for the Republican Party, to give them some amunition in the next primaries, but what wasted energy.

    May 22, 2009 at 12:13 am |
  28. Dr J in California

    "How soon they forget" . . . . . the captured journalist beheadings, the firing squad executions of western sympathizers, the public stoneings of unfaithful wives, children who were human shields in combat zones and the "let's roll" call to fight.

    An unfettered Cheney unleashed, and the Cheney tag team, are refreshing reminders of the evil realities that suicidal terrorists hellbent on destroying America impose on the free world. These are not baseless fears. Let us never forget the innocent lives lost in 911 and other atrocities.

    Remember, the 911 terrorists were aliens with drivers licenses. Most were registered voters. They laugh at our honor system. I'd rather they fear us than scoff at our boy scout ways.

    The defense of national security is a sometime grisly business, not just a flowery debate of lofty ideals. As quoted in the movie "Patton" the military are often like police dogs in that no one wants to know too much about what it does, but wants it ready to attack and defeat at will.

    GO CHENEY GO ! ! ! ! He's making more sense than ever now.

    May 22, 2009 at 12:07 am |
  29. carol kesling

    why didnt chenney tell us where those "W.M.Ds" were, maybe because there werent any.........he and bush caused alot of needless deaths in this despicable war, he needs to be ashamed of himself. 90 percent of these soldiers were just young kids thinking they were really fighting for a just cause.......it was bush settling an old score for the threat on DADDY BUSHS death threat !!!!!!!!!!!! PRESIDENT OBAMA has more class than the two of them put together .

    May 22, 2009 at 12:02 am |
  30. Mark - Athens, GA

    I find it amazing the degree to which Cheney exposes himself as a hypocrite. How can he, with a straight face, state that “In the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground….,” when it was on his and Bush’s watch that 9/11 occurred, after ignoring intelligence briefings in the months preceding warning of an imminent threat of terrorism on our soil. The past eight years have only increased the threat of terrorism through the incitement of more terrorists in response to the war in Iraq (initiated and justified with lies perpetrated by the Bush administration), and the treatment of the detainees. The real terrorists were the key players of the Bush administration that have caused the deaths of over 4,000 US soldiers and over 100,000 civilians in Iraq. UNBELIEVABLE!

    May 22, 2009 at 12:01 am |
  31. Jeff Johnson

    Mr. Cheney not only had a right to reply to all of the accusations against him, but an obligation. The politicising of this issue is disgusting to many people. What they did saved lives, now later when it is politically convenient, there are those who "forgot" that we were in a bad place psychologically, (as a nation) back then. Some even "forgot" that they voted for most of what was done. DISGUSTING!!!!!!!!!!

    May 21, 2009 at 11:54 pm |
  32. Susan - Randolph, NJ

    Cheney is out, and Cheney would like to still be in. Bush and he did not keep us safe. Rather, during the last eight years they lied to us about WMDs to get rid of Saddam, got us into Iraq, condoned torture, ignored international standards of conduct with impunity, and destroyed the U.S.'s reputation abroad, and look at the mess we're in economically. President Obama has his work cut out for him. Cheney needs to stop all this partisan negativity and support the new administration.

    May 21, 2009 at 11:52 pm |
  33. susan - Midwest USA

    So funny. Cheney was afraid or told to hide during the election cycle. He is finally out to defend the Cheney-Bush/Bush legacy. He is finally articulating in some fashion his arguments for his position that got us into this mess.
    The odd thing is that he managed to fool us once. He still thinks he can fool us twice. God. I hope we arent that stupid. Even General Powell managed to get out of the slavish belief of anyone in power.

    May 21, 2009 at 11:35 pm |
  34. Neil Olstad

    I agree with Liz Cheney. I thought she did a great job defending the
    past administration and protecting the safety of all Americans. I feel the terrorists have no value of life and there are no boundries for what they wii do to Americans. They beheaded Daniel Pearl, hung 4 Americans of a bridge, and killed numerous American Troops that were captured POWs. Where is the outrage over that?
    Anderson you were complaining about Cheney blasting the President
    Obama. I never heard you blast Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid when they blasted President Bush.

    May 21, 2009 at 11:28 pm |
  35. Steve

    Cheney's extreme defensive posture is classic decompensation. This man is completely unable to admit, to himself, that anything he and the Bush admin. did was either ineffective or unjust. He is unwinding, and taking a weakened but still viable political party down with him.
    I only hope that Pres. Obama has the wisdom not to engage him much more on this or any issue. It is beneath the office of President to dicker with someone who hasn't the grace to step aside and honor the will of the electorate and the american people.

    May 21, 2009 at 11:16 pm |
  36. David, Colorado

    Time for a truth commission. When Cheney can sit there and continue and rewrite history, its time for a criminal investigation. Lawyer up Dick

    May 21, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  37. Steve - Houston, TX

    Cheney has a proven history of many, many years of experience and service to this nation. Obama has a history of being a community organizer. Too many folks are naive about the world in which they live. Unfortunately, there are people in the streets of Houston that would just as soon cut your throat as look at you. And unfortunately there are people around the world that would just as soon kill thousands of Americans as look at us. Those who do not study and understand the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. We have a lot of well meaning, but ignorant people in this world – many of which live in the good ol’ US of A…

    May 21, 2009 at 11:00 pm |
  38. Rochelle

    Deliver us from Cheney! We have not heard anything from President Bush who gracefully said he would give our new President r.e.s.p.e.c.t.. It's time to retire.

    May 21, 2009 at 11:00 pm |
  39. Penny

    Your comment to Liz Cheney about her father's statement being irresonsible concerning our country being weaken by the action of President Obama with regard to treatment of future terrorists brought something else to mind. Besides the fact that he(Obama) chose to play this power trip and not finish it. I would ask you the same question regarding our Commander in Chief to his recent travels abroad about the effect or weaken of our position he played when he apolized or in one some case "bowed down" to dictatorships.

    May 21, 2009 at 11:00 pm |
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