Cheney: Obama and Holder are 'playing the race card' against critics

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Former Vice President Dick Cheney said in an interview published Tuesday that President Obama and Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderSenior House Republicans fighting for their lives Issa hits back at Obama over campaign mailer Podesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs MORE are guilty of “playing the race card” against their critics.

“I think they’re playing the race card, in my view,” Cheney said in an interview for Playboy with Fox News reporter James Rosen.

“Certainly we haven’t given up — nor should we give up — the right to criticize an administration and public officials. To say that we criticize, or that I criticize, Barack ObamaBarack ObamaThe Trail 2016: Comeback in the works? Trump promises ‘new deal for Black America’ Trump and millennials: He might do better than we think MORE or Eric Holder because of race, I just think it’s obviously not true.

"My view of it is the criticism is merited because of performance — or lack of performance, because of incompetence. It hasn’t got anything to do with race.”

Cheney, one of Obama's harshest critics, took issue with the administration’s handling of the events this summer in Ferguson, Mo., where white police officer Darren Wilson shot an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown.

The shooting set off protests in Ferguson and around the country, though Wilson was not ultimately charged by a state grand jury or by the Justice Department.

The Justice Department later issued a report that found that police in Ferguson regularly violated the constitutional rights of black residents.

“And [I think] that we should not sort of throw it all over on the burden of race, or racial inequality or racial discrimination, as being responsible for this particular event,” Cheney said.

“I think that would be wrong, and it bothers me that that kind of an incident has generated that kind of response. I don’t think it is about race. I think it is about an individual who conducted himself in a manner that was almost guaranteed to provoke an officer trying to do his duty.”

Unlike former President George W. Bush, Cheney has been vocal in speaking out about the actions of the Obama administration.

In September, he said he was “stunned” by the president’s decision to mention the events in Ferguson in a speech before the United Nations. He has also frequently blasted Obama on national security issues, which was his focus when he served as vice president.