- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 17, 2009

UPDATED:

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs took a swipe at Dick Cheney Monday, sarcastically dismissing the former vice president’s tough comments criticizing President Obama on Sunday for changing Bush administration war-on-terrorism tactics.

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

Mr. Cheney, in his first television interview since leaving office, told CNN’s “State of the Union” program that Mr. Obama’s moves to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and alter interrogation techniques would “raise the risk to the American people of another attack.”

Mr. Cheney also said Mr. Obama was unfairly blaming the Bush administration for the bad economy.

Asked about the comments at his press briefing Monday, Mr. Gibbs brushed them aside.

“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 knocked 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.

Asked if he meant to be so harsh to a former vice president, Mr. Gibbs didn’t back down.

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

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

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

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