White House hits back at Cheney

Former vice president slammed as "more focused on criticizing the Administration than condemning the attackers"

Published December 30, 2009 9:28PM (EST)

Even by his standards, former Vice President Cheney was particularly harsh on Wednesday in his criticism of President Obama and his administration's handling of terrorism and the attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253. Now, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer has responded in kind.

"I think we all agree that there should be honest debate about these issues, but it is telling that Vice President Cheney and others seem to be more focused on criticizing the Administration than condemning the attackers. Unfortunately too many are engaged in the typical Washington game of pointing fingers and making political hay, instead of working together to find solutions to make our country safer," Pfeiffer wrote in a post on the White House blog.

"To put it simply: this President is not interested in bellicose rhetoric, he is focused on action. Seven years of bellicose rhetoric failed to reduce the threat from al Qaeda and succeeded in dividing this country. And it seems strangely off-key now, at a time when our country is under attack, for the architect of those policies to be attacking the President."

Pfeiffer also specifically addressed Cheney's claim that Obama has been pretending we aren't at war, and won't admit that we are.

"The difference is this: President Obama doesn’t need to beat his chest to prove it, and – unlike the last Administration – we are not at war with a tactic (“terrorism”), we at war with something that is tangible: al Qaeda and its violent extremist allies. And we will prosecute that war as long as the American people are endangered," he said.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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