Sorry … took the video down because it plays automatically when page loads which is freakin’ annoying. If you want to watch the interview, go here.
If you want more fun and excitement visit the All That Natters homepage.
Former Secy of State Gen. Colin Powell is appearing on Face the Nation today. An advance by CBS contains the quotes that follow. Whatever. Powell still thinks of himself as a Republican. He should have hit back hard at Limbaugh and Cheney if he believes they are hurting his party. You can hit hard without stooping to their smug level. I wish Powell wasn’t so diplomatic.
“I am still a Republican. I’d like to point out that in the course of my 50 years of voting for presidents, I have voted for the person i thought was best qualified at that time to lead the nation.
Last year I thought it was President-now Barack Obama,” Powell said.
Powell said the Republican party needs a new look if it wants to stay relevant.
“I think the Republican party has to take a hard look at itself and decide what kind of party are we?” he said.
“I have always felt that the Republican party should be more inclusive than it generally has been over the years.
Powell also addressed criticism from conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, saying his assertion that Powell only voted for President Obama because “he is black” was “unfortunate.”
On Thursday, President Barack Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney gave dueling speeches on National Security policy. The man who is trying to re-invent hope versus Darth Cheney is the way this blogger interpreted what was billed by the Washington press as the “Thrilla on The Hilla.”
By early afternoon the results were in. Obama gave a long, thoughtful better angels treatise on the rule of law and maintaining the moral high ground. Cheney, gave a shorter, pithier shout from the undisclosed location.
It was the Constitution versus the red, orange, yellow threat meter.
According to the latest CNN/Opinion Research Corp. Poll, Darth Cheney’s favorability number has waxed since January. In January, Cheney’s favorability was at 29%. In polling conducted last week, it had risen to 37%.
Saving Grace: Cheney’s “Job Approval Rating” can no longer be measured.
As prepared for delivery
Vice President Cheney Remarks at the American Enterprise Institute Thursday, May 21, 2009
Thank you all very much, and Arthur, thank you for that introduction. It’s good to be back at AEI, where we have many friends. Lynne is one of your longtime scholars, and I’m looking forward to spending more time here myself as a returning trustee. What happened was, they were looking for a new member of the board of trustees, and they asked me to head up the search committee.
I first came to AEI after serving at the Pentagon, and departed only after a very interesting job offer came along. I had no expectation of returning to public life, but my career worked out a little differently. Those eight years as vice president were quite a journey, and during a time of big events and great decisions, I don’t think I missed much.
Being the first vice president who had also served as secretary of defense, naturally my duties tended toward national security. I focused on those challenges day to day, mostly free from the usual political distractions. I had the advantage of being a vice president content with the responsibilities I had, and going about my work with no higher ambition. Today, I’m an even freer man. Your kind invitation brings me here as a private citizen – a career in politics behind me, no elections to win or lose, and no favor to seek.
The Politico is reporting that on Thursday, a day former Veep Dick Cheney is scheduled to give a speech titled, “Keeping America Safe,” President Barack Obama will give a major speech outlining the “political and intellectual” framework behind his anti-terror stance and all things related to detainee treatment.
Mr. Cheney, meet Mr. Obama – you might want to talk to Mr. McCain about bringin’ the scary hype against the man who seems to have re-invented hope.
I can see it now. Cheney, talking like Burgess Meredith’s Penguin character from the old Batman TV series, spitting all the worn out Bush era lines about fighting “them” over there so we don’t have to fight “them” here. Through teeth clenched around a cigarette holder he might even throw in a few nasal, conspiratorial giggles as he derides Democrats as soft.
On the other side of the split screen is the man who is steady, unafraid. Barack Obama will use his moment to teach, to inspire. Cheney will undoubtedly use his moment, in front of a partisan crowd at the American Enterprise Institute to stoke the flames that divide us.
America will once again be reminded what a great choice she made in November.
I’ll be the first to say that as an Obama voter, I’m not down with the whole cult of personality thing. I’ve criticized the Administration’s policies of feeding corporate America while middle America is hungry for work. I criticized recently the flip-flop on the release of detainee abuse photos.
But of one thing I’m fairly certain. When President Obama speaks on big issues, he speaks from a carefully considered, thoughtful point of view. His values – some may label them “Left” – go into his positions, but I do believe that all sides of the issues are considered. This pragmatism, something entirely missing from U.S. national politics since Bush 41, leads to decisions like that of using military tribunals to adjudicate some of the Guantanamo detainee cases. When you’re pragmatic and you compromise you rankle the extremes. Since most of us inhabit the space more near the center, that’s O.K.
I’m looking forward to this speech from President Obama on Thursday like no other public appearance he’s made since the address to the Joint Session of Congress. I’ll take in the coverage of Cheney also. I just won’t expect anything of value.
Go check out the excerpts from Jon Meacham’s interview with the president aboard Air Force One. Obama seems to be more befuddled by former Veep Dick Cheney than concerned:
Meacham: What’s your reaction to Vice President Cheney’s ongoing criticism? He’s not quite twittering your administration but he’s coming fairly close.
The President: You know, Dick Cheney had a strong perspective about national security. It was tested in the early years of the Bush administration, and I think it resulted in a series of very bad decisions. I think what’s interesting is that, in some ways, Dick Cheney actually lost these arguments inside the Bush administration.
And so he may have won early with Colin Powell and Condi Rice, but over the last two or three years of the Bush administration, I think there was a recognition among Republicans and Bush administration officials that these enhanced interrogation techniques that were being applied—that they had applied early on—were potentially counterproductive; that a posture of never talking to our enemies, of unilateral action, of framing national security only in terms of the application of force, often unilateral—that that wasn’t producing.
And so it’s interesting to me to see the vice president spending so much time trying to vindicate himself and relitigate the last eight years when, as I said, I think, actually, a lot of these arguments were settled even before we took over the White House.
Great piece from yesterday’s Washington Post and Dan Balz on Dick Cheney’s sudden love of the limelight. Here’s a graphic from the story.
Devastating piece by Olbermann tonight on the widening pool of slime around the former Veep. Links to stories which are mentioned in video below.
- Daily Beast Story by Robert Windrem – Cheney’s Role Deepens
- Lawrence Wilkerson – The Truth About Richard Bruce Cheney
The other day DICK Cheney told CBS’ Bob Schieffer he’d take Rush Limbaugh over Colin Powell. Here’s what Maureen Dowd thinks:
Cheney, who had five deferments himself to get out of going to Vietnam, would rather follow a blowhard entertainer who has had three divorces and a drug problem (who also avoided Vietnam) than a four-star general who spent his life serving his country.
Once their terms are done, Presidents and Vice Presidents are supposed to ride quietly off into the sunset.
Not the Prince of Darkness.
Since being wheeled out of the Capitol on Inauguration Day, former Veep Dick Cheney has surfaced every three weeks or so to throw bombs at the Obama Administration. Perhaps he believes enough bombs thrown will make us forget the shotgun blast to his friend’s face.
(Source: CBS’ Face the Nation)
SCHIEFFER: Good morning again. The former vice president is in the studio with us this morning, as he has been many times over the years.
Mr. Vice President, thank you for being here. You’re obviously here because we invited you here and we appreciate that, but I want to ask you something. President Bush has done what people normally do when they leave the Oval Office — he has remained mum. He said very little. At one point, he said that he thought President Obama deserved his silence.
But you have taken a very different tack, and I must say a very unusual tack for somebody just leaving the vice president’s office. You’ve been speaking out not just frequently, but often very pointedly. At one point you said, for example, the Obama administration has made this country less safe. That’s a very serious charge. Why have you taken this approach?
President Barack Obama has pretty good instincts – most of the time. His lack of support for investigation and consequences into state-sanctioned torture during the Bush Administration is one of those times squarely not in the “most” category.
Apparently the presdent has abandoned the righteous indignation of the campaign trail for the Washington Easy Button. When one pushes this red button, the difficult parts of governing are cast aside with rhetorical flourishes that sound like this – “The president said that given all that’s on the agenda and the pressing issues facing the country, that a backward-looking investigation would not be productive,” a White House official who attended the session said. “The president was very clear…that he believes it’s important that there’s not a witch hunt.”
The “session” being recounted by the White House official was a meeting Obama had with Congressional leaders (presumably only Democrats) in which he counseled them that investigations into “harsh interrogation tactics” and other Bush Administrations legal missteps along the way in the War on Terror would do nothing to advance the political agenda of Democrats today.
That Democratic agenda – including health care reform and a new energy economy – is vital. But, who is to say that the Congress and the U.S. Dept. of Justice can’t walk and chew gum at the same time? Paul Krugman today:
What about the argument that investigating the Bush administration’s abuses will impede efforts to deal with the crises of today? Even if that were true — even if truth and justice came at a high price — that would arguably be a price we must pay: laws aren’t supposed to be enforced only when convenient. But is there any real reason to believe that the nation would pay a high price for accountability?
For example, would investigating the crimes of the Bush era really divert time and energy needed elsewhere? Let’s be concrete: whose time and energy are we talking about?
Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, wouldn’t be called away from his efforts to rescue the economy. Peter Orszag, the budget director, wouldn’t be called away from his efforts to reform health care. Steven Chu, the energy secretary, wouldn’t be called away from his efforts to limit climate change. Even the president needn’t, and indeed shouldn’t, be involved. All he would have to do is let the Justice Department do its job — which he’s supposed to do in any case — and not get in the way of any Congressional investigations.
I don’t know about you, but I think America is capable of uncovering the truth and enforcing the law even while it goes about its other business.
The fact is, there are reasonable and important questions that need to be answered regarding the Bush Administration, and in particular the role of Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and their staffs in the subverting the Constitution and rule of law. Above all else, the United States is held together by the rule of law and citizens’ acceptance of this state of affairs. The U.S. is a beacon of freedom and fairness when we honor the best of our traditions and hold everyone – no matter their station in life – to their obligations under the law. This includes international treaties like the Geneva Conventions.
The world is not only wary of the U.S. because of debacles like Iraq. Our standing in the world is stained at the very least due to the impression that we broke a few rules over the past several years. Serious rules.
Those in Washington arguing that to honestly investigate alleged rule breaking and shed the light of day on it are missing the point that it’s not primarily about punishment and retribution. It’s about upholding the rule of law in a land made great by those laws.
Admiral Dennis C. Blair, White House Intelligence Director, told colleagues in a memo last week that some Bush era torture techniques did produce information helpful in the nation’s fight against terrorism, according to a story tonight on the New York Times website.
This is interesting for two reasons. The first is obvious – Blair’s analysis could be construed as detracting from the Obama Administration’s stance on torture and the contents of the Bush Administration memos it has released. Today, Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs summed up the current versus former administration’s positions in his daily briefing when asked about former Vice President Dick Cheney’s latest shots across the bow:
Q Okay, last point is Vice President Cheney saying he’s disturbed by all of this.
MR. GIBBS: Well, you know, I — we’ve had a at least two-year policy disagreement with the Vice President of the United States of America. That policy disagreement is whether or not you can uphold the values in which this country was founded at the same time that you protect the citizens that live in that country. The President of the United States and this administration believes that you can. The Vice President has come to, in our opinion, a different conclusion.
The second reason for interest tonight is disturbing for those of us who voted for and count ourselves as Obama supporters. It appears that one of two things happened with regard to making Blair’s memo public. Either, a) a reporter found out about and requested a copy of the document; or, b) the Administration decided to proactively release it. Whether A or B, here’s the rub. The White House Press Office changed it. What was released, was not what was written. It’s even more troubling if it was changed after a request for a public document was made by the media. Since Blair is involved in national security and intelligence wouldn’t it have been easier to call the memo classified? Instead, it appears a lie was perpetrated.
From the Times story:
Admiral Blair’s assessment that the interrogation methods did produce important information was deleted from a condensed version of his memo released to the media last Thursday. Also deleted was a line in which he empathized with his predecessors who originally approved some of the harsh tactics after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“I like to think I would not have approved those methods in the past,” he wrote, “but I do not fault those who made the decisions at that time, and I will absolutely defend those who carried out the interrogations within the orders they were given.”
A spokeswoman for Admiral Blair said the lines were cut in the normal editing process of shortening an internal memo into a media statement.
What all reasonable people want from their government is the unvarnished truth. I can understand a public official – even more the president – not wanting to air staff work. What counts the most is the final policy. But, if that staff work is to be released, it should be accurate and not sanitized.
It’s obvious that this Administration is as message driven and communications savvy as any. What I hope does not happen is that this Administration begins obscuring the truth and lying to Americans to preserve the message.
As promised, a Special Comment now on the president’s revelation of the remainder of this nightmare of Bush Administration torture memos. This President has gone where few before him, dared. The dirty laundry — illegal, un-American, self-defeating, self-destroying — is out for all to see.
Mr. Obama deserves our praise and our thanks for that. And yet he has gone but half-way. And, in this case, in far too many respects, half the distance is worse than standing still. Today, Mr. President, in acknowledging these science-fiction-like documents, you said that:
“This is a time for reflection, not retribution. I respect the strong views and emotions that these issues evoke.”
“We have been through a dark and painful chapter in our history.
“But at a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.
Mr. President, you are wrong.