Cheney and Obama Duel on Bush Legacy

In 9/11 News, Civil Liberties on May 22, 2009 at 8:23 am

Obama tries to dismantle some Bush-era policies, while Cheney rigorously defends them:

Acid flashback: the election isn’t over and presidential candidates are still battling each other in televised debates. That is what it looked like on television Thursday as President Obama delivered a long, considered description of his national security policy and former Vice President Dick Cheney fired back an equally dense rebuttal.  Mr. Obama tried to persuade Americans that he was seeking ways both legal and safe to clean up what he described as the “mess” left by the Bush administration. Mr. Cheney was determined to defend his tenure — even at the cost of publicly upbraiding the sitting commander in chief. Their dueling speeches, carried live and back-to-back by the cable news networks, looked oddly like a replay of the 2008 presidential campaign: a showdown between biography and experience.

“I’ve heard occasional speculation that I’m a different man after 9/11; I wouldn’t say that,” Mr. Cheney stated. “But I’ll freely admit that watching a coordinated, devastating attack on our country from an underground bunker at the White House can affect how you view your responsibilities.”

Mr. Obama gave a long, well-reasoned discourse on his policies on torture and terrorism detainees, addressing many of the criticisms lobbed at him by Mr. Cheney in recent weeks. His opponent fired back, mocking Mr. Obama for getting “applause in Europe” and deriding his pursuit of consensus. “In the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground,” the former vice president said, “and half measures leave you half exposed.”

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