May 21st, 2009
05:26 PM ET

Obama, Cheney offer competing views on national security

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President Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney offered competing views on how to keep America safe in back-to-back speeches Thursday.

Obama said his administration is trying to clean up "a mess" left behind by the Bush administration. He defended his plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, his ban on torture, the release of Bush-era interrogation memos and his objection to the release of prisoner photos.

Cheney stood up for the Bush administration's security record, arguing that Obama has weakened the country's ability to combat al Qaeda and other extremists. He defended the use of enhanced interrogation techniques as a success that changed thousands of lives. He called the release of the Bush-era memos a reckless distraction and belittled Obama's decision to close Guantanamo "with little deliberation and no plan."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's spokesman wrote off Cheney's address as something more beneficial to Democrats than Republicans.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Dick Cheney
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Chris P

    A great man once said "He who would sacrifice liberty for safety deserves neither." And so I say to you, let us not go down to their level, that we should forsake our values. Let us not throw away everything that the millions of American soldiers, throughout American history, have fought for and died to protect.

    May 22, 2009 at 5:16 am |
  2. Gary Anglen

    LIKE I SAID, Vice President Chaney was should have can out sooner...

    May 22, 2009 at 1:54 am |
  3. Tom Dailey

    If Obama is going to use former white house/CIA memos than he needs to release the memos that show how the interagations work
    as claimed by Cheney. If Obama is going to openly criticise the Bush administration, then he should be a big enough man to hear the other side as put forth by Cheney and his daughter.

    May 22, 2009 at 1:49 am |
  4. Gerald Orcholski

    When I hear the Cheneys question the decisions of the president as to how responsible they are, I find myself annoyed that CNN gives these two people airtime to peddle their propaganda which I believe is harmful to America.

    May 22, 2009 at 1:40 am |
  5. rob

    After all the hoopla since November's election I am finally realising Barak Obama is all talk and very little knowledge about critical problems facing the world and this nation. The people leading him, giving him teleprompter speeches, are so far from mainstream America I doubt they will be able to keep him from making huge mistakes eventually. I am black but I believe Dick Cheney and do not buy what Barak is saying. He continues looking back at the past administration. Those guys are gone and it is time for Barak to put up or SHUT UP. You can't continue talking to ME about the past. He was elected to make jobs but we are still losing over 1/2 million every week. The stimuluis package has not done anything, nada, nothing. How much talk can a nation take? 4 yrs? From this point forward I side with Cheney. I also watched a bit of ac360 and Cheney's daughter is kicking Anderson Cooper all over the studio. She knows what she is talking about and Cooper is spouting the Democrat talking points. I have had enough of what Democrats are doing already and will vote Republican next time.

    May 22, 2009 at 1:39 am |
  6. Bonnie Dailey

    Liz Cheney, V. Pres. Cheney's daughter did an excellent job...
    Put her on the show more so she can talk some sense into this
    politcal morass...Finally someone who can talk is able to express
    the views of millions of American who are sick and tired of being
    hoodwinked by Obama...

    May 22, 2009 at 1:39 am |
  7. Gary Anglen

    I feel Vice President Chaney was right on... Unlike our sitting president that can't seem to keep the same point of view for more than a polling. Lucky for the president the teleprompters were working and his speech writers were clear and not over writing.

    I still hope his polices work out for our nation, inspight of the facts and how I feel about his policies.


    Gary Anglen

    May 22, 2009 at 1:39 am |
  8. Raju

    US is facing one of the worst economic crisis, We have given power to president to solve the problems of the country, not spending time whether previous president left a mess or not. President thinks previous administration left mess, he was elected to clear that mess not to justify they were not able to solve the current problems due to the old mess. Before he takes the office he know he has to deal with the mess. What is new thing here to spend time on it. It is important to spend his time more efficiently to solve the current problems rather than spending his valuable time on the issues are very insignificant.

    May 22, 2009 at 1:35 am |
  9. Jaime

    When is someone going to ask supporters of "enhanced interrogation" whether they approve of its use on American soldiers by foreign governments & terrorists?

    May 22, 2009 at 1:25 am |
  10. Steve Epperheimer

    Obama is wrong, Cheney held a more conviencing argument. Obama is riding on the coattails of the Bush administrations war on terror. Obama is acting as Clinton did, and where did that get us with the terrorist?

    May 22, 2009 at 1:25 am |
  11. Gerald Orcholski

    The president is so correct as to torture and American values not tolerating it. Dick Cheney is an evil divisive manipulator only interested in his own legacy. To call torture enhanced interrogation is sheer deception on his part. I totally agree that Gitmo created more terrorists than the terrorism it claims it prevented.

    May 22, 2009 at 1:16 am |
  12. Sean

    Cheney claimed that we are worried about applying enhanced interrogation techniques (i.e. torture) to hardened terrorists.

    Were all those detained and had techniques applied to them really terrorists? Did we make mistakes? Additionally, do enhanced interrogation techniques provide actionable intelligence or do they just force confessions? What's to stop a terrorist from simply lying about information just to stop the interrogation? How will you know if any of the information you get is actually true?

    May 22, 2009 at 1:10 am |
  13. Sheree

    Cheney your time has been up. Embrace Retirement!!!

    May 22, 2009 at 12:46 am |
  14. Ismail

    Dear, Mr. President,

    Let me introduce myself first. My name is Ismail, from Indonesia.

    I agree for your policy that the Guantanamo should be close. I speak here as a one of human in the world that don't like a violence thing.

    And Guantanamo is just like the place only for Muslim convict.

    And also Islam is not enemy for USA.

    So, Mr. President, as i knew, you had been living in Indonesia. You knew that most of Indonesia people are Muslim do not like the violence thing. Because Islam do not teach us to harm other people.

    And as i knew also, other religions teach you all to be peaceful.

    I know that United States of America is a peaceful country also. And Indonesian people love USA as a peacefully Country.

    I hope that Mr. President understand and pay attention to "Third World Country" like Indonesia.

    Thank you very much to read this email,

    Warm and Peace Regards,

    Indonesian civil

    May 21, 2009 at 11:54 pm |
  15. SELAM


    May 21, 2009 at 11:25 pm |
  16. SELAM

    even if my life depends on it i would not take advice from cheney or his daughter what ever her name is. this people should be so ashamed of themselves to sit on national tv and talk about the safety of the american people where were they the last eights years. do they know how manypeople havd died on their own watch. now that someone is running the country so well and actually have a strategy of how to handle it and they will do anything to destroy it. May GOD be with this world after all he has the control. Mr Anderson, Gergen, Roland and all the lady that repesent all the women out there thank you for reporting everything so well but i seem not to believe anymore because so many young and innocent people have died for me to believe anything. this country have power i believe but the justice system is so corrupt. like what happened with the pirate ship that whole story i do not believe at all i do not think we have seen the whole story behind it. we only see what americans do to save people we do not see how it started. the people of this country got a heart but the justice system is so corrupt and the people who ran it the last eight years was corrupt and still is corrupt now Obama have to clean their mess. and they the verve to even open thier mouth on how he is running the country. LUV CNN KEEP UP THE GOOD JOB!!!!!! 1 AND GOOD BLESS AFTER ALL HE HOLDS THE POWER!!!!!

    May 21, 2009 at 11:22 pm |
  17. molefi olifant. Midrand south africa

    former us vice pres cheney needs to be mindful of the mandate pres obama by the us electorate which is based on his campaign promises and the closing of guantanamo bay is part of it. Pres obama understands his mandate, so should be given support on the basis that he's got the mass electorate support

    May 21, 2009 at 11:06 pm |
  18. Tracy Theyskens

    Cheney is like the abusive parent who believes the only way to discipline
    his children is through fear, whipping them into submission. He would believe that any other way would be considered "weak".
    President Obama is like the parent who believes the only way to discipline his children is through mutual respect, yet with a firm guidance to be pointed in the right direction.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  19. maris

    Mr Cheney did very little as a vice-president, what is he trying to gain with all this debating about gitmo closing,did he just wake up and realize he no longer has a job as vice-president. Hello wake up no one cares what you have to say, and those who do care need to leave out the side door, trying to use fear as a weapon because that is what was used to start a war.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  20. Sarah Byers

    We hardly saw Cheney during his VICE Presidency, he was either in the hospital or in hiding while his puppet George W. was either stumbling over simple words in speeches that had no validity or were pure nonsense. They took our country down in 8 short years that seemed like the longest 8 year administration in history. Why doesn't he go back intro hiding where he belongs and let a real President and his administration continue to make the necessary changes to save what is left of the United States of America and the raising of our status on an international level once again. I personally am relieved and feel way safer and very confident that President Obama truly has the well being of our country coming from his heart with no hidden agendas. We have been given another chance. Thank you God.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:43 pm |
  21. Jim M

    I am all for the torture of ware prisoners. What does Iraq do when they catch one of ours. They kill them.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  22. ANGELA

    Liz Cheney is doing exactly what the bush administration did when they decided to declare war on Iraq, in this case twisting the facts to support her views. You would think the USA was being attacked once per month before the bush administration and the tactics implemented by the administration put an end to the attacks, give me a break Cheney, go away quietly...

    May 21, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  23. Roddy

    We really have to stop giving this Cheney steamroller any air time. They completely withheld all the information they now want released. It is obvious that it is for both promotion of future book releases AND the fear of prosecution of the former administration.

    There's no time, or place to listen to this dribble. And they can not speak the truth. They won't give honest or complete information. Can you honestly believe that the lead of the shadow government is now out front and loud? Could they be running scared. It's like a child who is about to get caught overstating their case, making up history and repositioning the argument. Please – stop giving this lying gaggle a public forum.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  24. Jerroid

    It is ironic for the former Vice-President and not the President to be expressing these concerns. I think Cheney is doin this from a political gains prospective. His time has run out. He has his chance to be of good wise couselor to President Bush. Instead he set President Bush up for faliure, when he should have been giving him realistic and good sound advice.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  25. Scott

    Um, why exactly do we care what Liz Chaney thinks? She's not an elected offiical or an elected ANYthing as far as I know. I could get an equally-informed opinion at my local post office so why have this loser on AC360? Her wretched father was a part of the worst administration this country has had and it's time for him to retreat from public view as his former boss has done. Out with the old and in with the intelligent.

    May 21, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  26. Font

    The so called "enhancement" technics are nothing but words equivalent to torture. Aren't we supposed to be better than our enemies? What about the Geneva Convention that all civilized countries are suppose to abide for?

    May 21, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  27. Ruth

    why is Cheney talking so much now, he has said more in the past few days than he said for his entire term as VP. What is he trying to cover up? Makes one wonder

    May 21, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  28. ANGELA


    As vice president ,I do not remember Dick Cheney speaking to the American people as he seems to be doing now, why should we listen to him now

    May 21, 2009 at 10:11 pm |
  29. Real T

    What a mess. These bailouts and other past reminders of the Bush Admin. are just the worst. We are in a mess America. Too much debt.

    But I do love David Jeffrey poems

    May 21, 2009 at 10:09 pm |
  30. Karen W. McCalister

    National Security

    Former Vice President Cheney believes the ends justify the means-any means.

    President Obama believes the "means" define who we are as a nation built on our Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence.

    The juxtaposition is startling.

    Cheney, whom I never saw/heard at a press conference discussing WMD or national security during his 8 years in office, needs to understand the obvious consequences of this short-sighted paradigm. Not only did this attitude negatively impact our national security but, equally important, it was the catalyst erroding the foundation of our national economy.

    Karen W. McCalister
    Las Vegas, NV

    May 21, 2009 at 9:58 pm |
  31. isabel

    Gitmo means exactly the opposite of what the US preaches as right. It is a contradiction to uphold the rule of law and at the same time, practice torture, or for any reason. President Obama is well aware of the mistakes that its predecessor did and he has the task difficult resolve them.

    May 21, 2009 at 9:24 pm |
  32. Patton

    It is a good thing Obama was not president when Hitler was around otherwise we would all be speaking German. Obama foreign policy is non-existent. Now his lack of experience is really showing.

    May 21, 2009 at 9:10 pm |
  33. HANA

    Makes one wonder? Dick is talking now when he was in his ultimate power he was vanished from the planet of earth and busy shooting his buddy and now these days, he does the bad mouthing our President,,, gush makes me wonder he's the EX VP and like most of our Exes he talks too much,,,

    May 21, 2009 at 9:01 pm |
  34. Shawn, Fresno CA

    Why does Dick Cheney think he has any credibility left? I don't value the opinion of a fascist war criminal.

    May 21, 2009 at 8:58 pm |
  35. John Johnson

    No one ever mentions it but I feel the reason we have been safe since 911 is that we stopped teaching terrorist how to fly airplanes. Its obvious they were not able to learn how to fly while in the middle east so they came here to learn. People talk about the terrorist attack as though we were attacked by an army. We were attacked by 19 terrorist because no one cared why they came here to learn how to fly planes.

    May 21, 2009 at 8:34 pm |
  36. Mark from Saint Louis

    Unfortunately, the liberals forced Cheney to defend himself. Cheney is having to defend the Bush administration because of the Leftists attacks. I wonder what the critics would have done if they were faced with such circumstances. It is simply a matter of different philosophies and we all said "go get them, do something" to Bush 8 years ago and he did and we weren't attacked since. It turns out that virtually all Americans and most in the democratic leadership had agreed with the Bush approach 8 years ago. Quit being Monday morning quarterbacks and move forward. Take the country in a new direction and see if we become better off, drop the distractions and the attacks.

    May 21, 2009 at 8:28 pm |
  37. Jim M

    Enough with Chaney already!

    Let's clean out the closet. It's time to bring back J. Danforth Qualye, VP under the original Bush for his comments.

    May 21, 2009 at 7:42 pm |
  38. Valbee

    Just hearing Chaney makes me cringe.

    May 21, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  39. Fariba Noghli

    I just want to know where was chaney for the past 8 years?Who needs his openion now..He talks more now then when he was in charge..He needs to get lost ...we have a new president who does not need his input about national security..

    May 21, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  40. Frank

    Regarding Dick Cheney, republicans are better off with him in hiding. He was all over the news in 2002 to 2007 saying that "it is not a matter of if but when we will be hit again by terrorists". Now he makes the public think that republicans are praying for the country to be attacked again just to justify his use of torture.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  41. Als

    Cheney and Bush never made our country safe lets be clear here. We were attacked on their watch on 9/11. Cheney and Bush just opened up a can of worms that we will be fighting for years. Dumb and dumber made our solders half to fight this war by ourselves. Pres Obama made it clear we have dangerous terrorist in our backyard now.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:06 pm |