The White House has benefited from no shortage of partisan enemies to attack. On Monday, Dick Cheney played the punching bag role, with spokesman Robert Gibbs calling the former vice president the latest member of the "Republican cabal" to be "trotted out" by the Republican Party.
"I guess Rush Limbaugh was busy so they trotted out the next most popular member of the Republican cabal," said Gibbs. "I will say that the president has made it quite clear that keeping the American people safe and secure is the most serious job he has each and every day. I think the president saw over the past seven-plus years the delay in bringing people the very people to justice that committed terrorist acts on this soil and on foreign soil. That delay in seeking swift and certain justice is what he decided to change in his executive order.... I think the American people will in this administration see those actors brought to the swift and certain justice that was not brought to them in the previous administration."
Later, he added: "I think not taking economic advice from Dick Cheney may be the best possible outcome of yesterday's interview."
The remarks came a day after Cheney took to the Sunday airwaves to bash the current administration for its liberal economic agenda and, in the former VP's view, making the country less safe. Gibbs' comments were of such obvious biting tone that a follow-up questioner Monday, CBS' Chip Reid, wondered whether the administration was trouncing on traditional formalities when discussing past White House occupants (of course, Cheney took the first step.)
"Sometimes I ask forgiveness rather than permission," Gibbs replied. "I hope my sarcasm didn't mask the seriousness of the answer with which I addressed Ed [Henry of CNN]. For seven plus years the very perpetrators that the vice president said he's concerned about weren't brought to justice. The president, on the very first week of his administration, chose to change that."
The Cheney remarks competed with several more pointed questions as to what, if anything, the Obama administration was going to do with the bonuses AIG was awarding its senior executives. Gibbs stressed from the podium that the president was outraged by the news that $165 million was going to be shelled out to workers of the bailed-out company, and added that Obama had "specifically asked his economic team to go back again and determine if there was any legal avenue available to block these bonuses."
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