From Another Cheney, Barbs At President

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

For the Cheneys, attacks on the Obama administration have become a family affair.

Elizabeth Cheney, the daughter of the former vice president and a former State Department official, made a round of cable television appearances yesterday to defend her father's stinging assessments of President Obama, and to toss out a few barbed observations of her own.

In an interview with Fox News Channel, Cheney accused the Obama administration of being selective in releasing documents related to harsh interrogation tactics and said it was "inexplicable and inexcusable" that the Justice Department was considering the possibility of prosecuting Bush-era officials responsible for approving the measures. She also suggested that her father feels more liberated to speak since leaving the White House.

"One of the nice things about my dad being out of office is that he doesn't need sign-off," Cheney said. "He is out there speaking out because he personally feels so strongly about these issues."

The remarks are the latest in a series of sharply worded attacks on Obama from former vice president Richard B. Cheney and his allies, who seem to be particularly outraged by Obama's decision to release Justice Department legal memos permitting the use of abusive interrogation tactics, such as waterboarding, which Obama himself has said constituted torture. Cheney's frequent appearances stand in stark contrast to the approach of his former boss, George W. Bush, who has maintained a low profile since leaving office and has refrained from criticizing Obama.

Cheney took to the airwaves again yesterday, slamming Obama's economic policies on the Fox Business Network. Cheney defended Bush's bailout of major Wall Street firms and banks but said he would have favored letting distressed auto companies go into bankruptcy and said that Obama's continuing rescues have gone "too far."

"The banks were different, and the reason the banks are different is because they are part of the financial system that is the heart and soul of our economy," Cheney said.

He also reiterated his view that Republicans must stick to their conservative principles rather than "becoming more like Democrats." He also put in a good word for Bush's brother, Jeb, as a possible GOP presidential candidate.

"I like Jeb," Cheney said of the former Florida governor. "I think he's a good man. I'd like to see him continue to stay involved politically . . . I'd probably support him for president."

The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank that enjoyed a prominent role during the Bush years, announced yesterday that Cheney will deliver a May 21 speech on "keeping America safe."

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