Vice President Joe Biden hit the airwaves Sunday morning to parry his predecessor’s outspoken comments on the Obama administration, even accusing former Vice President Dick Cheney of “trying to re-write history.”
Cheney, who served as vice president under George W. Bush, appeared this morning on ABC’s This Week and said that “it’s the mindset that concerns me” in regard to the Obama administration’s handling of terrorist suspects.
Biden, in Vancouver for the Olympics, went on two morning shows to pre-empt Cheney’s Sunday morning appearance, saying “Dick Cheney’s a fine fellow, but he is not entitled to rewrite history without it being challenged.”
“I don’t know where he has been,” Biden said on Meet the Press. “Where was he the last four years of the last Administration?”
Cheney said on Sunday that he was concerned how Obama initially called Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas Day Bomber, an isolated extremist and was read his Miranda rights despite the fact that he was trained by Al-Qaeda.
“I think the proper way to deal with it was to treat him was as an enemy combatant,” Cheney said.
Biden disputed Cheney’s criticism saying Abdulmutallab was handled the exact way Richard Reid, the Shoe Bomber, was treated during the Bush administration.
“There were 300 trials of so-called terrorists and those who engage in terror against the United States of America who are in federal prison and have not seen the light of day. Prosecuted under the last Administration,” Biden said.
Cheney paused and chuckled when asked about Biden’s previous comments that the Obama administration’s handling of Iraq will be one of their greatest accomplishments. “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by my friend Joe Biden,” he said, adding he’s glad Biden “now believes Iraq is a success” and that “for them to try and take credit for what has happened in Iraq strikes me as a little strange.”
“So if they are going to take credit for – fair enough – for what they’ve done while there are there – but it ought to go with a healthy dose of ‘thank you George Bush’ up front. And a recognition that some of their early recommendations with respect to prosecuting that war were just dead wrong,” Cheney said.
“I believe very deeply in the proposition that what we did in Iraq was the right thing to do,” Cheney said. “We got rid of one of the worst dictators of the 20th century.”
Biden, asked about how Cheney claims Obama doesn’t consider America to be at war and is essentially soft on terrorism, said he doesn’t think Cheney “listens” and that Obama is “pursuing that war with a vigor like it’s never been seen before.”
On CNN’s State of the Union, National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones tiptoed around the question of what he thought of Cheney’s criticism.
“You know, if it’s informed, then that’s one thing,” Jones said. “But it’s important that people understand that we have a sitting vice president who is very much involved in the day-to-day operations of our national security, he is a member of the National Security Council, has access to all of the information.”
Reporter Alex Pappas can be emailed at email@example.com