- The Washington Times - Monday, March 16, 2009

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs took a swipe at Dick Cheney Monday following the former vice president’s tough comments criticizing the Obama administration Sunday.

During his regular press briefing, a reporter asked Mr. Gibbs about Mr. Cheney’s assessment of the two-month administration’s policies as making the nation more vulnerable to a terrorist attack during an interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“I guess Rush Limbaugh was busy, so they trotted out their next most popular member of the Republican cabal,” Mr. Gibbs said Monday.

Mr. Cheney also said Mr. Obama was unfairly blaming the Bush administration for the bad economy, another element Mr. Gibbs took issue with.

“Not taking economic advice from Dick Cheney would be the best possible outcome of yesterday’s interview,” he said.

It was not the first time the press secretary has blasted Mr. Limbaugh, who has been in the headlines for weeks after saying he wants the Obama administration to fail. Mr. Gibbs also has taken on CNBC personalities Jim Cramer and Rick Santelli, who have been critical of the administration.

Another reporter followed up with Mr. Gibbs, saying the remark about Mr. Cheney was harsh.

“Sometimes I ask forgiveness rather than permission,” he said. “I hope my sarcasm didn’t mask the seriousness of the answer.”

The former vice president’s own words were tough as well.

“I think those programs were absolutely essential to the success we enjoyed of being able to collect the intelligence that let us defeat all further attempts to launch attacks against the United States since 9/11,” Mr. Cheney said on CNN. “President Obama campaigned against it all across the country. And now he is making some choices that, in my mind, will, in fact, raise the risk to the American people of another attack.”

Mr. Gibbs said Mr. Obama’s actions on detainees were intended “to bring about swift and certain justice” in the first week of his administration.

“For 7-plus years the very perpetrators the vice president says he’s concerned about weren’t brought to justice,” Mr. Gibbs said.

He added later, “The steps the president has taken to keep this country safe underscore the seriousness with which he takes that job.”

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