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. Dennis

    Being a Texan I have had absolutely zero respect for George W. Bush ever since he was our Govenor, but that all changed today. Thank God he served out his term as President or we might have been stuck with that psychopath Cheney having unfettered power.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:59 pm |
  2. Lori

    Why does Dick Cheney feel the need to be so visable all of a sudden? When he was VP I can't begin to count the number of political conversations in my surroundings where we would say "where is Dick Cheney anyhow"? No one heard from him – like he was in his own bunker waiting for the Bush Fiasco was overwith. Now here he is, all pompus and full of himself. If Cheney and Bush knew what they were doing we wouldn't be in the mess we are now. And we want to take more advice from him? I don't think so.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:59 pm |
  3. Katherine

    Lifetime Republican, but can't support Cheney – he's really gone off the deep end. His total lack of respect for our current leaders and media is the best we see in him. He may believe in what he did, but so did Hitler (he's conveniced me he ran the show – not Bush). It would be much healthier for this nation if he spent his time on the psychiatrist's couch – taking Liz with him. Hooray for our right to free speech – but aren't we all taught there is a time and place for everything spoken? Cheney's in the wrong venue.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:55 pm |
  4. lorraine

    yes, close gitmo asap! we are paying for a prison system like that , that is costing us to much money, and leaving a lasting negative impression
    on our children that it is ok to torture people to get them to say what you want them to say.

    what kind of example is this for future generations here in our country and around the world. Anderson Cooper keep up the good work of exposing people like the Cheneys for they are every thing america is not to be or become.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:54 pm |
  5. 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 a great debate.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:53 pm |
  6. Mari in Windy Indy

    Hi again.......the next time Liz or her Dad want to come on this network, can we just get a speeeeeeeed reader instead?

    May 21, 2009 at 10:53 pm |
  7. robert

    I have a hard time listening to obamas platitudes on the constitution and on the "decency" of the American People when he has disregarded and made a mockery out of other laws (GM, Chrysler) when it suits him. He disgusts me.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  8. Maclean

    Wow. The power of democracy ... and speech. I think Pres. Obama has more of a point. Can we claim to care about human rights Right is always right no matter what.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  9. nr

    Cheney is pathetic, where was he when he was VP, now you can't change channel without seeing him on every screen, go away already!!

    May 21, 2009 at 10:43 pm |
  10. Thomas J. McKee, DMD

    Please add my name to Linda's viewpoint. I consider the Cheneys to be an embarrassment to the USA. President Obama's position in regard to "enhanced interrogation techniques" [ torture ] exemplifies the principles for which our country used to – and still should- stand for.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  11. Lynne

    Cheney and other members of the republican party are so deluded that its frightening for the country. I am so glad they are no longer in power.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  12. Ward

    This is a serious topic that does not lend itself to a clear answer. Tough interrogation of possible terrorists seems to be reasonable; torture does not. In any case, a comparison of what happened at Abu Ghaib to enhanced interrogation techniques is clearly unfair and unwarranted, at least, in terms of the horrific acts that you showed pictures of on your show. Those horrific acts were not part of an terrogation effort. They were perpetrated by military personnel who had entirely other sinister motives. These persons were labeled as criminals by the former administration and brought to justice.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  13. Becky Potts Baker

    It is quite interesting and curious how former Vice President Cheney has fixated himself in the public forum, beginning the first few days after leaving office. We still see the same perpendicular positions as we saw during the eight year Bush-Cheney administration...Bush is quiet, Cheney speaks with the same "doom is upon us" tenor we heard for eight years.

    I simply let whatever VP Cheney fly over my head – I've heard it before and I don't agree with him. What I find quite interesting is an aside of all of this – we've discussed this before...who really is speaking for the Republican party? The GOP is fractured in so many different directions. I am just standing back and observing all of this – Cheney, Limbaugh, Steele, et al. Every time each of them opens their mouth to speak fractures the GOP more, I think. So long 2010 elections – what are they thinking?

    May 21, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  14. Ken

    A thought...our enemies and/or terrorists aren't moved by "elegant" speeches in "grand" venues. It's time for the President to stay in the Oval office and work. The campaign is over; now the work begins. Ironically, former VP Cheney seems to be more concerned about the welfare and safety of Americans than the current President. He (Obama) continues to be more concerned about image.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  15. geo

    Cheney is just trying to keep them honest, and the President in his run to be all to Europe and the rest of the world in his measures has for sure deluted the capabilities of our services to procure the knowledge we so continually need to keep us safe.

    Anything from the past, in my opinion is fair game to keep us safe, to hell with rest of the world. Remember this when one of our fine cities goes up in smoke and see how we all feel about this then.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  16. Khoi Nguyen

    It would be much simpler to separate the moral issues of enhanced interrogation techniques from their presumed efficacy.
    If we just focus in the moral validity, then VP Cheney and his daughter are on the very shaky ground. Their stand has no moral value and demonstrates the cynical attitude born out of fear. Defending these enhanced technique and making them legal equals to legalizing torture. As far as I know, Mao Tse Tung, Stalin and other tyrants while practicing torture, never attempted to legalize it.

    Khoi Nguyen

    May 21, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  17. carolyn

    I hope that the constant speechifying of former VP Cheney will convince Pres. Obama to go ahead and agree to begin investigations of Cheney's involvement in the torture; or, at the minimum I hope that all the questions around Nancy Pelosi will convince someone to start a Truth Commission on EVERYONE involved in this torture heresy.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  18. Reunell

    The views and hostility coming from the Republican party should make all that call themselves supporters ashamed. They have fought against everything that our great President has done. To have so much to say about this president and to have said so little during the last administration is mind boggling. I feel that the Republicans failed when their hand ran the country and they can't deal with the success from the Dem. party. It's time to stop bucking against what we as the American people have voted for. This national sec. issue is supported by documents and once they realize and fess up for all of their many mistakes we can move forward with Pres. Obama's plan. I'm not saying we should roll over for anything but when there is substantial evidence to support what's right, it's time to stop fighting. They need to realize that it doesn't have to be their idea to be a good one.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  19. Milo G. Gray, Jr.

    I appreciate your trying to be fair in your coverage. In this instance you are dealing with those who, if you don't agree with them, you are a wimp, defeatist, and unpatriotic. However, it does not appear they can do much more than call our current President names. They offer no proof, and in listening to his daughter you are even capable of interpreting a report about this activity, without their help. If it was so important that the documents Cheney wants released, why didn't they do so while he was in office. I don't recall they much wanted to tell anyone anything, nor did they feel they had to.

    All of this is baloney!!! My ancestors lived on a Choctaw Indian Reservation. The government put them thjere because the yhad supposedly tortured peeople, and were barbaric in their behavior among civilized people. Now I hear idiots trying to justify the behavior that put American Indians on reservations.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  20. dianne uno

    I think Cheney is way over the top as he was as a VP, quietly pulling the strings of government without any of the consequences of his behavior. Torture has no place in the American persona. I remember a man my husband knew who was a prisoner of war in WWII. He was a pilot in the German air comand and confined in Canada. He often spoke of the humane and kind treatment he experieced by the Canadians during his confinement. He wanted to stay in Canada after the war and after being expatrioted applied for entry back into Canada where he lived the rest of his life. If our detainees had been treated with common decencies and humanity it would have been a much better statement of what we are as a people in this wonderful country. I understand that not all prisoners would feel as our friend did but the hatred may be lessened. Pres. Obama is absolutely correct in stating that information may well have been obtained without torture and that we as Americans do not sanction this kind of behavior. I too, wish that Cheney would go back to where he came from and he is the one hurting this country with his dark and mean spirited personality. He has quite dishonest in many of his speeches and I would like to not see or hear him again.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  21. Janice Cooley

    I think we need to elect Cheney as Vice President again. At least then we didn't hear from him. He needs to slitter back into hiding.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  22. Inez

    I think Mr. Chenney's ego is too great and he is desperately trying to defend the old administration's image. President Obama is simply trying to clean up the mess we inherited from the past administration.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  23. 40 acres and A Mule

    Obama is in a class with all our great Presidents of the past. I felt pround to be an American today! After giving his speech next to our founder fathers constitutional writings. The man and his speech truely impressed and touched my heart. I could not for the life of me understand why Dick Cheney was speaking "about anything at all"....why???... Dick, gives me the same feeling OJ Simpson did when he kept running his mouth after Nicole's death. If I were you Mr. Cheney I would stay away from the television cameras period. But I guess after today it would seem that this advice may be too late!

    May 21, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  24. Kurt

    This is a joke listening to Cheney and his daughter defend the “master plan” with war on terror. And since when has a past VP become primetime talk? I guess that's what happens when you do something illegal!

    It’s is a new President with a new plan (which the American people voted for).

    May 21, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  25. Karen Annis

    Considering how long the debate about torture has been going on, why didn't Cheney and the Bush administration release the information Cheney is now requesting be released to prove the success of their interrogation techniques?

    May 21, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  26. Pamela

    Ms. Cheny insists that brave CIA agents were responsible for savinging many lives using enhanced interrogation techniques, however the FBI agent that testified before congress said they obtained information until the CIA "CONTRACTORS" who were not trained in interrogation techniqes took over. Once again it is the CONTRACTORS that have caused much trouble.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  27. Gregory Absten

    You can tell that it's truly Cheny's daughter.
    I consider his recent conduct and public statements despicable.
    Now I think you truly can tell who was really our President.
    What goes around comes around.
    I'll go with Obama's dignity & respect for all individuals over Cheney's bow them away approach.
    We had this debate during the election and it was apparent what the choice was. Cheney should just bug off.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:28 pm |
  28. Meredith

    It is really in bad taste that this man and his family still try to get on the air and spew their hatred. They do it in the name of democracy and security. Haven't we had enough of these twisted people? Grandpa Cheney please go and have a shuffleboard match with Grandpa McCain. W can officiate it. Palin can try and keep score. Stay out of politics please, we have had enough suffering.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  29. Dillon Moroney

    Why does it matter what intel we received while torturing? Isn't torturing still a crime?

    May 21, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  30. Darrel W. Johnson


    The argument presented by Dick Cheney's daughter was compelling. I agree with Cheney and am concerned about the direction that the President is taking our nation. I appreciated the fact that you did listen to Dick Cheney's daughter....I believe she even helped you see correctly.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  31. Richard Zhang(Vancouver,Canada)

    I support Cheney and I think he was right. If the prisoners were locked up would they do any harm terrorist or non-terrorist? NOOO! The American President Obama made the mistake of releasing the prisoners into the real world in which the terrorist or people that were converted to terrorsits in Gitmo can do harm.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  32. Sofia

    My imagination is running wild.
    Would Dick Cheney please expand on his statement, "half measures keep you half exposed." Besides the outrageous images it evokes, content-wise it is a ridiculous, illogical, nonsensical statement.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  33. Christine

    I agree with Linda. Get Dick Cheney, the ultimate hypocrite and war criminal off my TV. Also, please get his daughter off of my TV. Everything Dick and his daughter say is completely self serving and also completely disrespectful of the current administration.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  34. Jim Wilkinson

    It is totally out of line for Cheney to place himself in the spotlight after leaving office. He promoted himself and his authority above any prior V.P. in history. Now he's doing the same after leaving office and you're helping him. Shame on you. Enough of Dick Cheney already. It's time to move on. He should go talk a wander in some remote pasture. And take his shotgun with him. And maybe a mirror. Oh- and take that daughter too. He should be happy that he's not going to jail for his illegal activity. Stop giving him a platform. A criminal like him does not deserve it.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  35. paul

    Cheney is appearing 'un-American'. Wether you agree with the current administrations policy or not, I think he should get behind it. Just as our democrates got behind president Bush after 911. We are all in this together.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  36. Joseph Gillis

    Liz Cheney I think she got under Anderson Coopers Skin........Keep you cool AC........she should go into Politics.....I would vote for her. this is fun to watch........Cooper and Cheney Show debuting in the fall 2009...........

    May 21, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  37. RLWellman

    Why do we have to have the detainees brought to our back yard? Why can't we take them back to their own countries? Why do we have to spend our money to defend these terrorists?

    I for one believe they should be flown back to their own countries and let go, with or without a parachute. It makes me no difference. These people have no problem in killing us. You can not negotiate with terrorists. They want us dead. Period.

    President Obama with his Muslim background knows this. I do not see why he is wasting time in trying to negotiate with them. The Muslims have been fighting Christians since the beginning of time.

    Christians want Muslims to except Christ so when they die they will have eternal life. Muslims want Christians dead, period. This is the difference between the two.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  38. jane L Conners

    I fully support President Obama and have always felt that Cheney is a deterent to our democratic form of government.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  39. Roy

    Now we are about to get to the heart of the argument about keeping terrorist in American prisons now that a few have been caught in New York. Are these super prisons going to refuse to house these American terrorist like they refuse to house foreign terrorist? Refusing to house foreign terrorist is politicizing the issue. I am ashamed of my country today.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  40. Adnin

    I still have not seen anything that have shown us that these "techniques" have saved lives. We are a country that should handle things with professionalism. Since when did we become so personal and hypocritically (This means I'm with OBAMA on this one, its great to have a intellectual President's view and not a "CUNNING" Vice President's one).

    May 21, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  41. Alice

    Dick Cheney contributed to the failed policies of the Bush administration that took our country to war with Iraq under false pretenses, the death of our troops in Iraq for no good reason, the bankrupting of our country (in large part to pay for the Iraq war), and countless lies to the American people. He has absolutely no right to criticize a sitting president in such derogatory terms! Mr. Cheney should just fade away and hope that he isn't tried for his misuse of power.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  42. Louise

    Where was Cheney during the Bush administration? He made few public appearances. Now he is worried about how he will go down in history. Cheney had five deferments and was a chickenhawk. He has been the brains behind Bush for eight years and is dispicable. Get Cheney and his clan off the air. He has had his day and it is over!
    The public has NO RESPECT for him and he needs to go home.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  43. Gerald Miller

    Mr. Cheney should give it a rest and return to Wyoming and go fishing.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  44. Nancy

    President Obama's speech was more impactful and I can't believe Cheney is speaking out this way!

    May 21, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  45. Linda Emmart

    I respectfully disagree with Cheney and agree with President Obama. This way of interrogation and torturing is not American. Cheney should NOT be speaking out against the President as he is. OK, Cheney, make a comment when asked but don't go on the road and make it a "mission" to speak out in lectures about this. The President is intelligent and smart, a different person from Bush. We can have every confidence that his judgements are not stupid. It's politics as usual for Cheney and I don't like it! STOP IT!

    May 21, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  46. Alexis

    Cheney needs to slither back to the swamp. Why is he allowed to spout off his insanity & come near to slandering the President? His administration started the war in Iraq under false pretenses and never was honest w/the American people. There was never any transperancy. This man has never cared about the citizens of the US or had any ideals that benefitted this country so send him to Gitmo, Iraq, Afganistan, Pakistan – anywhere but here! I'd rather listen to just about anyone than him. He's irrelevent, deceitful, hypocritical and a lot of nastier things that I won't even mention.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  47. Dan Orellano

    President Obama seemed to be trying too hard to be convencing and came off as someone that didn't believe what he was saying himself. Vice President Cheney was engaged and projected beleif and truth.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  48. Joseph Gillis

    The Former VP knows what it felt like to have the weight of Americans lives lost on his watch. If Obama (God Forbid)knew that Feeling he might share Bush and Cheney views.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  49. jeanne

    You're coverage over the past few months has made me a fan.... I am still a fan of Fox news but have found a truly balanced voice in Anderson Cooper... .... I try to hear Maddow and oberman but their hostility turns me off.... keep up the good work.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:09 pm |
  50. Linda

    Get any of the Cheney's OFF my TV screen. I used to like him and agree with his views (somewhat) but not anymore. I think it's inappropriate behavior on his part; putting himself in a position to be arguing with the President of the United States. Especially in view of the fact he HAD his day as VP and hardly said anything. Besides,
    he's lying; how do we know? Because President Bush claimed the US does not torture. Mostly I just want him AND his family members off my screen; his constant lip curls and smirking make me sick. So now you have his daughter on your show? I'm changing the channel. They are all pathetic, embarrassing war mongers, and so scared of being sued. Pres. Obama WAS going to turn to the future; but now? I think he ought to take Cheney to court. I don't care anymre, just get him OUT! Go away! Nobody voted for you for President. Obama won; get over it!

    May 21, 2009 at 10:09 pm |
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