Former Vice President Dick Cheney has been critical of President Obama since he took office six years ago, but on Tuesday evening's Hugh Hewitt Radio Show he went further than ever before, saying that if there were a president who tried to take the country down, he would do exactly what Obama was doing.
Appearing on the program with his daughter, former State Department official Liz Cheney, the former V.P. criticized Obama for weakening "our position in the world," reducing "our capacity to influence events," "turning our backs on our allies" and encouraging "our adversaries."
After welcoming them to the show and discussing their book on foreign policy to be published on September 1, Hewitt asked the pair about some of Obama's comments made about the Iran nuclear deal:
Hewitt: Liz Cheney, former senior State Department official, you are also the head of the Iran/Syria policy and operations group when you were at State. Let me play for you President Obama from Sunday, a small pull, cut number three if we can have that, Adam, from Sunday.
Obama (Tape): Well, I think that it’s important to recognize that Iran’s a complicated country, just like we’re a complicated country.
Hewitt: Liz Cheney, is Iran a complicated country just like we’re a complicated country?
L.Cheney: Boy, Hugh, I cannot even imagine an American president saying any sentence that has Iran in it and says they’re just like us. I mean, it’s outrageous. Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terror. They’ve got the blood of hundreds if not thousands of Americans on their hands. And they are continuing their attempts to obtain a nuclear weapon. And I thought it was so telling the day that the administration sort of went out and proclaimed victory in the nuclear talks, that when the Iranian foreign minister came out, he said we aren’t going to stop enriching, we aren’t going to shut down any facilities, and all of the sanctions are going to be lifted. That’s his interpretation of the deal. And so you know, this president, to be in a situation where he’s aligning our policy with that of Iran is breathtaking, and it’s really shameful.
Hewitt: Let me play for both of you a cut from earlier today. The President sat down with an NPR reporter who asked him about Scott Walker’s statement on this show last week, that he’d repudiate the emerging Iran hologram, I don’t call it a deal, on day one. Here’s what the President said:
Obama (Tape): Any president who gets elected will be knowledgeable enough about foreign policy and knowledgeable enough about the traditions and precedents of presidential power that they won’t start calling into question the capacity of the executive branch of the United States to enter into agreements with other countries. If that starts being questioned, that’s going to be a problem for our friends, and that’s going to embolden our enemies. And it would be a foolish approach to take, and you know, perhaps Mr. Walker, after he’s taken some time to bone up on foreign policy, will feel the same way.
Hewitt: Vice President Cheney, you’ve been boning up on foreign policy since you entered the House 30 years ago. What do you make of that statement?
D. Cheney: Well, it starts from a flawed presumption on Obama’s part. For most of the last 70 years since World War II, we’ve had a bipartisan accord in this country between Democrat and Republican, Harry Truman, Jack Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower, the Bushes, believed that America had to play a leading role in the world, that we needed to maintain a first class military capability to do that, and occasionally use it, that the world works best with U.S. leadership. The first president, really, who doesn’t, no longer believes that fundamental truth, is Barack Obama. And what he’s saying in his criticism of Governor Walker I think probably Governor Walker welcomes. It’s almost like a paid commercial. I heard today that as soon as the statement came out from Obama criticizing the Governor, he immediately sent out letters to all of his supporters. I’m glad he did that. I think it’s a mark of the weakness of this president that he’d say such a thing.
Hewitt: Let me play a couple of other cuts from the Sunday interview, cut number eight, Adam, please:
Obama (Tape): What we’ve also seen is that there is a practical streak to the Iranian regime. I think they’re concerned about self-preservation.
Hewitt: And cut number nine:
Obama (Tape): I think they are responsive, to some degree, to their publics.
Hewitt: So Mr. Vice President, you dealt with Iran a lot both as Secretary of Defense, and eight years as Vice President. Do they strike you as a practically minded and responsive regime?
D. Cheney: Absolutely not, Hugh. This is the most, one of the most radical regimes in history, headed up by the mullahs who believe in a very, sort of, I think, twisted version of the Koran, who are sworn to destroy Israel, who always have these big meetings. They did just this week, because they were negotiating in Geneva, shouting Death To America. This is a totally radical regime that is the premier sponsor of state terrorism in the world, and Obama’s about to give them nuclear weapons. It’s, I can’t think of a more terrible burden to leave the next president than what Obama is creating here.
Hewitt: Is he naïve, Mr. Vice President? Or does he have a far-reaching vision that only he entertains of a realigned Middle East that somehow it all works out in the end?
D. Cheney: I don’t know, Hugh. I vacillate between the various theories I’ve heard, but you know, if you had somebody as president who wanted to take America down, who wanted to fundamentally weaken our position in the world and reduce our capacity to influence events, turn our back on our allies and encourage our adversaries, it would look exactly like what Barack Obama’s doing. I think his actions are constituted in my mind those of the worst president we’ve ever had.
The questioning turned to the Hillary Clinton email scandal and the trial and conviction of Dick Cheney's former aide Scooter Libby, whom the former V.P. strongly believes was railroaded. Then Hewitt asked the Iran deal and Congress:
Hewitt: Last question, and we have a minute, Mr. Vice President, so I’ll end with you. Do you think President Obama’s Iran deal is headed to a Woodrow Wilson-like League of Nations defeat in the Congress?
D. Cheney: I think it is. My sense of it is that the members of Congress are much more realistic in their expectations of what Iran is prepared to do. They’re familiar with the history. They know the background. They’ve been around long enough, and I think are far more realistic in their assessments of Iran than Barack Obama is. I trust the Congress at this stage, not the President.