Cheney: Administration 'thin-skinned,' Biden's 'not the best responder'

Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Thursday that the Obama administration is "thin-skinned" and goes into campaign mode to react to his criticism of its "indefensible" policies.

Cheney, in an interview with The Scott Hennen Show, a conservative radio show based in North Dakota, surprised conservatives at the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier in the day where he predicted that President Barack Obama will be a one-term president.

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In the interview with Hennen, Cheney said that every time he publicly criticizes Obama "bells and whistles go off," noting that the White House once scheduled a presidential event to compete with a speech by Cheney.

In late May, Obama delivered remarks on national security at the same time Cheney was scheduled to do so. Cheney said that and other White House responses to his criticisms are ineffective.

"Once, they sent out the president himself, scheduled him prime smack on top of my speech trying to distract. That didn’t work," Cheney said. "This time around, they had Joe Biden all the way from the Olympics in Vancouver to respond to things I said on the Sunday shows. I just think they’re thin-skinned and they don’t like being criticized. And they feel like they have to go out to respond as it happens. I mean Joe Biden’s probably not the best responder they’ve ever seen."

Cheney insisted that he doesn't "plan my schedule based on their schedule -- and I don't go out that often, frankly."

Cheney said Obama "totally misread the results of the last election."

"He really believed he had some kind of a mandate to take the country in a radical direction ... healthcare policy, cap and trade, economic policies, size of the government, the counterterrorism policy, and I think he’s been proven wrong on virtually every point," Cheney said.

The former vice president said that recent Republican wins in Massachusetts, Virginia and New Jersey indicate "we’re beginning to see the ramification of that now."

The former vice president again predicted a strong midterm election year for Republicans and said he is "delighted to be on the sidelines watching."

"“I’m delighted to watch," Cheney said. "It’s great fun to watch the next generation come along and engage as effectively as they have."

Cheney agreed with Hennen when the conservative talk show host asked him if the country is at the point where "it’s no longer amateur hour, it’s downright dangerous."

The controversial former vice president said he was dismayed to see Obama's Justice Department's discussion of pursuing criminal action against CIA officers and former Justice Department lawyers for their actions in the war on terror during the Bush administration. Cheney said those discussions were Obama's efforts to follow through on "some of the crazy things they campaigned on" last year.

"That set off something for me in terms of what their priorities were, what they were trying to carry through on some of the crazy things they campaigned on all across the country and, frankly, they were advocating for positions -- the vast majority of Americans -- things we simply don’t support," Cheney said. "They’ve had to back off a lot of that now in the last few months, but they still don’t have the degree of commitment I’d like to see on those issues.”


Cheney also took issue with Biden's recent comments that Obama should be lauded for success in Iraq, calling the comments "one of his more outrageous statements."

"If they had their way, Sadaam Hussein would still be in power in Baghdad today," Cheney said. "I thought that Joe was over the edge in some of the comments he made.”

Cheney also took exception to the White House's responses to GOP criticisms over the treatment of suspected terrorists, particularly that attempted shoe bomber Richard Reid was Mirandized and not tried in a military commission.

Cheney said that military commissions had yet to be set up, and the White House response was simply a return to politics.

“Well, they got onto a campaign-mode blitz," Cheney said. "For two years they went around the country criticizing us. Fair enough. That’s a presidential campaign. But they’ve kept it up as a steady refrain no matter what the issue is."

The former vice president did offer some feint praise for the Obama administration, saying that the administration is pursuing a good strategy in Afghanistan after Bush "left them with a good package."

“I give credit where I think credit is due," Cheney said. "The operation in Afghanistan I think is sound -- I think it’s good policy”