Scoring the Cheney Vs. Biden Bout

No exchange of valentines for dueling veeps

By DANIEL MACHT
|  Monday, Feb 15, 2010  |  Updated 10:18 PM CDT
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Best of Biden's Gaffes

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Valentine's Day saw a battle of the veeps.

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Vice President Joe Biden and his predecessor, Dick Cheney, took to the airwaves Sunday to argue President Obama’s national security policies – and showed no love on Valentine’s Day.

In a series of appearances – across three networks in total for both men – Cheney argued that Obama was making the country less safe by disavowing waterboarding and misjudging the nature of the enemy, while Biden sought to portray the former veep as misinformed since Obama has continued to follow many Bush-era national security policies and is taking the fight to terrorists.

Here’s what the pundits made of the he said, he said exchange:

  • “Dick Cheney and Joe Biden created a portrait of themselves Sunday that would have been unthinkable a year ago: Cheney as the odd man out in the Bush administration, and Biden as a proud supporter of the Bush administration’s policies on terrorism,” writes Politico’s Carol E. Lee. The argument was especially “striking” for Biden because he used to campaign “passionately” against Bush’s policies, she writes.
     
  • Lee’s colleague, James Homnann, adds that Biden’s appearance shows “a White House determined to project a posture of strength on national security and trying to gain the upper hand with Republicans who wish to portray Obama as weak.”
     
  • Nile Gardiner writes for the U.K.’s Telegraph.co.uk that Cheney has “become an extraordinarily influential game-changer in post-Bush Washington, emerging as Barack Obama’s leading nemesis on national security.” Cheney is an “unapologetic and uncompromising patriot who believes in the greatness of America on the world stage…” Gardiner writes.
     
  • “Cheney's sell-by date passed a long time ago,” writes HuffPo's Jacob Heilbrunn, author of “They Knew They Were Right: the Rise of the Neocons.”  "The truth is becoming increasingly clear: Barack Obama is a war president,” Heilbrunn writes. “If Obama's current military offensive in Afghanistan pans out, he will neutralize the GOP on national security.”
     
  • John Nichols, writing for The Nation, argues that Cheney “outflanked the Obama white House on the left” by unequivocally calling for the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” A former Secretary of Defense, “Cheney’s acknowledgement of the reality that society has moved on puts him in a more progressive position on this issue than the Obama administration,” Nichols writes.
     
  • Kansas City Star columnist Yael T. Abouhalkah judges Cheney as ill-informed, especially since he isn’t privy to the information he used to receive as vice president. But Biden seems like “Mr. Know-it-all” in TV interviews, Abouhalkah laments.
     

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