Former Vice President Dick Cheney, in his first interview since a heart transplant operation in March, blasted President Obama, calling him “one of our weakest presidents.”
“Obviously, I’m not a big fan of President Obama,” said Cheney in an excerpt from an interview with ABC News aired Monday on “Good Morning America.” “I think he’s been one of our weakest presidents. I fundamentally disagree with him philosophically — be hard-put to find any Democratic president I disagree with more.”
Asked by ABC’s Jonathan Karl if Obama was “worse than Jimmy Carter, in your perspective,” Cheney responded, “Yes.”
Cheney again downplayed one of Obama’s signature foreign-policy achievements, authorizing the raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, repeating his claim that the actionable intelligence in that case came from policies implemented by the George W. Bush administration.
Cheney said Obama deserved some credit for the killing of many high-level al Qaeda operatives, but had made many missteps that overshadowed those gains.
“I wouldn’t say he’s been soft on terror,” he said. “But I think he made a number of mistakes. Bin Laden — fine; bin Laden had intelligence that laid the groundwork for what ultimately led to the capture of bin Laden. It came as a result of programs we had in place in the Bush administration.”
On one issue where Cheney and Obama hold the same stance, support for gay marriage, Cheney rejected suggestions that he should have spoken out more forcefully while vice president.
“Why? If I was out there 12 years [ago] in the first campaign in 2000 in the debate where [Sen.] Joe Lieberman [Conn.] and I were in front of millions of Americans on live television and I laid out my position then and it hasn’t changed? I’ve addressed it and moved on.”
Cheney was one of the first prominent Republican leaders to announce his support for same-sex marriage, which he did in 2009.
His openly gay daughter, Mary, recently married her longtime partner. Asked about the marriage, Cheney said, “We wished them well.
“She wanted to avoid having it be a media circus, having it become part of the political debate,” the former vice president said. “Lynn and I were very proud.”
Obama in May became the first sitting president to endorse same-sex marriage, saying that his views on the issue had evolved.
Cheney who is still recovering from his March heart operation, said he was doing “excellent” and “haven’t felt this good in years.” “There’s not been a single glitch, no sign of rejection. Everything’s gone perfectly,” he added.
He also expressed no regrets over his legacy. “I’m very comfortable with what I did, how I did it,” said Cheney.
Cheney has begun to take a more active role in political life, meeting with House GOP leaders earlier this month to share his views on the harm from impending defense sequester cuts.