WASHINGTON – Former Vice President Dick Cheney rallied fellow Republican conservatives on Thursday, predicting gains in November congressional elections and declaring that Barack Obama will be a "one-term president."
Cheney was a surprise speaker at the Conservative Political Action Committee conference in Washington, joining his daughter, rising Republican star Liz Cheney, on stage.
Conservatives believe they will make solid gains against Democratic majorities in the U.S. Congress in November elections when all 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs and more than a third of the Senate.
Republicans were heartened victories in governors' races last November in Virginia and New Jersey and by winning the Senate seat in January long held by Democrat Edward Kennedy in traditionally liberal Massachusetts.
Cheney, who served as vice president to President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009, said this year would be "phenomenal" for conservatives and flatly declared Obama would not win re-election in 2012, calling him a "one-term president."
Since leaving office, Cheney has frequently verbally sparred with the Obama administration by raising questions about its commitment to fighting terrorism.
Another conference speaker was former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who lost the 2008 Republican presidential nomination to John McCain and appears to be plotting another campaign for 2012.
Romney was sharply critical of Obama's proposed healthcare overhaul and said the President has too often blamed Bush for the problems he inherited.
"After all the finger-pointing is finished, it has become clear who is responsible for President Obama's lost year, the 10 percent unemployment year -- President Obama and his fellow Democrats. So when it comes to pinning blame, pin the tail on the donkeys," Romney said.
The Democratic National Committee rejected Romney and Cheney's criticisms.
"The Republican Party still pines for the very leadership that bankrupted this country financially, with their reckless economic policies, and ethically, with their allegiance to special interests over the American people. And that's what real failure looks like," said DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse.
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