Democrats pushed back forcefully against Dick Cheney on Sunday for comments the former vice president made accusing President Barack Obama of "dithering" on Afghanistan.
Appearing on CNN's "State of the Union," Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) called the attack "outrageous" and ironic.
"To listen to Dick Cheney, who was the mastermind of the most failed decade of foreign policy that this country's had at least in my political lifetime, perhaps my whole lifetime, perhaps my parents' lifetime too, to listen to him when they talk about dithering... when their mistake was to attack Iraq and lose sight of Afghanistan... eight years of failure of [Hamid] Karzai, implicitly is eight years of failure and dithering by that administration."
Brown was echoed by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) who called Cheney's remarks "out of bounds" and proclaimed that the former V.P. simply lacked the credibility to be taken seriously on the issue.
"It's just important that the president make the right decision," said Levin during an appearance on Fox News Sunday.
The two senators seemed to relish the chance to throw some punches Cheney's way; the target allows Democrats to invoke the political contrast that won them the past two elections. Even Republicans seemed in a bind over Cheney's words. Appearing alongside Brown, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) questioned why Obama would "not follow the advice of all of his generals" and suggested that the president was "exposing [soldiers] without the proper help that they've just got to have."
But, he added, "I would never want to call my president dithering."
UPDATE: No less an Afghan-hawk than Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) also expressed discomfort with Cheney's rhetoric. The Arizona Republican tells CBS' Face the Nation that he "wouldn't use that language" adding: "I think we ought to look forward, that is to support the President... I think the President will make the right decision."
"He has the right to speak out," McCain said. "Having said that, I think we should, as much as possible, say our message is... we want to support the President and unite the country behind it."
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