When Vice President Joe Biden says Iraq war may turn out to be one of President Barack Obama's greatest achievements, Dick Cheney wants credit where he says it's due: the Bush administration.
"If they're going to take credit for it, fair enough, for what they've done while they're there," Cheney said Sunday. "But it ought to go with a healthy dose of 'thank you, George Bush' up front and a recognition that some of their early recommendations, with respect to prosecuting that war, were just dead wrong."
Obama opposed the war in 2003 and, as an Illinois senator, the troop increase ordered in 2007 by President George W. Bush. Then-Delaware Sen. Biden voted in 2002 to authorize the use of force in Iraq but later declared the war against U.S. interests and opposed the surge, which he once called "a failure."
In a CNN interview last week, Biden said: "I am very optimistic about Iraq. I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration."
Asked about Biden's comments, former Vice President Cheney said, "If they had had their way, if we'd followed the policies they'd pursued from the outset or advocated from the outset, Saddam Hussein would still be in power in Baghdad today."
Biden, appearing on Sunday news shows, said he believes Obama has managed the war in Iraq "very well" since taking office a year ago. He said, however, that he doesn't believe the war was worth the "horrible price" in lives lost and the initial mismanagement of the war by Bush.
"We took our eye off the ball, putting us in a much different and more dangerous position in Afghanistan. We lost support around the world. It's taken a lot of hard work to get it back. But we were handed — we were dealt a hand, and I think we're handling it incredibly well," Biden said.
After Cheney's comments aired, Biden said the Obama administration isn't "taking credit" for the war.
"We had to take responsibility. When we took responsibility for the mess that we were handed to us at the end of last year," Biden said.
The vice president also said: "We built on the positive things that the Bush administration had initiated, and we have jettisoned those things that were negative."
Cheney appeared Sunday on ABC's "This Week" while Biden spoke on NBC's "Meet the Press" and CBS' "Face the Nation."
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