Tags: gibbs | cheney | cia

White House Fired Back at Cheney: He's Peddling Ideas U.S. Rejected

Tuesday, 12 May 2009 08:15 AM

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WASHINGTON – The White House Monday accused ex-vice president Dick Cheney of refighting the Republican Party's 2008 election defeat, after his latest attack on President Barack Obama's security policy.

Cheney maintained in a Sunday television interview that tough Bush administration interrogations of suspected Al-Qaeda militants had saved "perhaps hundreds of thousands" of US lives.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said however that Cheney was peddling ideas rejected by Americans in the November 2008 election which swept Obama to power.

"I think that - I think you've got a series of ideas and a series of thoughts that in many ways the last elections was about, and the last election rejected," Gibbs told reporters.

"They're essentially going forward by looking backward. If the vice president believes that's a way of growing and expanding the Republican Party, then we're happy to leave him to those devices."

Gibbs also compared Cheney, who has made a series of stinging attacks on the Obama administration with his former boss, ex-president George W. Bush who has disappeared from the political scene since leaving office in January.

"I've been struck in watching the former president and the former vice president take markedly different views to their lives post their administration," Gibbs said.

On Sunday, speaking to CBS "Face the Nation" Cheney said he had "no regrets" at backing interrogation techniques decried by critics as torture.

"I'm convinced, absolutely convinced, that we saved thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of lives," Cheney said, arguing again that Al-Qaeda was bent on attacking a US city with a nuclear device.

At the annual dinner of the White House Correspondents' Association on Saturday, President Barack Obama skewered Cheney's views for comic effect.

"Dick Cheney was supposed to be here but he is very busy working on his memoirs, tentatively titled 'How to Shoot Friends and Interrogate People,'" he quipped.

In one of his first acts as president, Obama reversed Bush's approval of harsh interrogation methods such as "waterboarding," or near drowning.

Recently released Justice Department memorandums detail the reasoning used by Bush administration lawyers to justify waterboarding and other techniques such as sleep deprivation, physical slaps and painful "stress positions."

Cheney reaffirmed his belief that Obama had made the United States more vulnerable to attack, and condemned calls by Democratic lawmakers for the Bush legal officials to face prosecution.

© 2009 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.

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