Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of State John Kerry will join Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and President Barack Obama in taking a pay cut this year as a result of sequestration.
“The Attorney General intends to take a pay cut equivalent to the maximum amount any Justice Department employee has to take as a result of the sequestration, which is up to 14 days this fiscal year, so that those funds can go back into the Treasury,” a Justice Department official told TIME, noting Holder wishes to minimize the impact of sequestration on the department’s employees. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland announced that Kerry would give 5 percent of his salary to a charity for State employees.
On Wednesday, the White House confirmed that Obama will return $20,000 to the Treasury over the rest of the year — or 5 percent of his salary. Hagel pledged to take a pay cut equivalent to 14 furlough days. Both Hagel and Holder earn $199,700 annually and their maximum pay cut would amount to $10,750. Kerry makes $183,500 this year, according to the AP, and his donation is worth $9,175.
I’m a bit late with this particular story but after finally reading about it, I decided to share. According to various press reports, this president can really deliver a punchline…
Did you hear the one about President Obama, Sen. John McCain, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel?
“These days, John McCain and I are spending so much time together that he told me we were becoming friends,” Obama told member of the Gridiron press club during its annual dinner Saturday night.
“I said, ‘John, stop — Chuck Hagel warned me how this ends up!’”
Appearing at the white-tie dinner in which politicians and journalists make fun of each other, Obama cracked wise about politics, the news media, the sequester and even about himself.
“My joke writers have been placed on furlough,” Obama began. “I know a lot of you reported that no one will feel any immediate impact because of the sequester — well, you’re about to find out how wrong you are.”
He added: “Of course, there’s one thing in Washington that didn’t get cut — the length of this dinner. Yet more proof that the sequester makes no sense.”
Other topics covered by Obama and his substitute joke writers:
Complaints by reporters: “Some of you have said that I’m ignoring the Washington press corps — that we’re too controlling. You know what, you were right. I was wrong and I want to apologize in a video you can watch exclusively at whitehouse.gov.”
His agenda: “I have my top advisers working around the clock. After all, my March Madness bracket isn’t going to fill itself out. And don’t worry — there is an entire team in the situation room as we speak, planning my next golf outing, right now at this moment.”
His skeet-shooting photo: “Of course, maintaining credibility in this cynical atmosphere is harder than ever — incredibly challenging. My administration recently put out a photo of me skeet shooting and even that wasn’t enough for some people. Next week, we’re releasing a photo of me clinging to religion.”
Changes in his administration: “With all these new faces, it’s hard to keep track of who is in, who is out. And I know it’s difficult for you guys as reporters. But I can offer you an easy way of remembering the new team. If Ted Cruz calls somebody a communist, then you know they’re in my Cabinet.”
Vice President Biden: “Look, it’s no secret that my vice president is still ambitious. But let’s face it, his age is an issue. Just the other day, I had to take Joe aside and say, ‘Joe, you are way too young to be the pope. … You can’t do it. You’ve got to mature a little bit.’”
The press: “I know that there are people who get frustrated with the way journalism is practiced these days. And sometimes those people are me. But the truth is, our country needs you and our democracy needs you.”
Obama wrapped up by making fun of his recent mix-up of Star Wars and Star Trek:
“In the words of one of my favorite Star Trek characters — Capt. James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise — ‘may the force be with you.’”
Now on to the next manufactured crisis…oh, that would be the sequester fiasco.
The U.S. Senate confirmed former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) as President Barack Obama’s next secretary of defense by a 58 to 41 vote Tuesday, marking an end to one of the most drawn-out fights for a president’s Cabinet pick.
The opposition to Hagel melted away Tuesday after the Presidents’ Day recess, with the Senate moving earlier in the day to end debate on his nomination by a 71-27 margin, and 18 Republicans voting in favor. On Feb. 14, Republicans succeeded in maintaining an unprecedented filibuster against the nominee.
Four Republican senators voted for Hagel: Sens. Thad Cochran (Miss.), Richard Shelby (Ala.), Mike Johanns (Neb.) and Rand Paul (Ky.)
Paul’s vote was most surprising because he had voted against cloture earlier Tuesday, moving to continue the debate on Hagel’s nomination. He had also said previously that Hagel had provided incomplete financial information since he left the Senate.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday the time had come. “The questions had been answered and it’s time for a vote,” he said.
Hagel will follow Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, coming into office just as across-the-board cuts are set to hit the Pentagon on March 1 as a result of the 2011 Budget Control Act.
Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), a strong supporter of Hagel, defended the confirmation process. “This has not been that long a process on Hagel, by the way,” he said. “There was no more that needed to be brought out,” he noted, adding that Hagel had provided senators with his speeches and financial disclosure. “The fact that people around here are allowed to talk until 60 people decide to vote is the Senate rules.”
Hagel has been under fire during the confirmation process for his outspoken opposition to the war in Iraq, criticism of the Israeli lobby’s influence in Washington and past statements on Iran. Hagel also didn’t do himself any favors by performing poorly in his confirmation hearing.
Some Senate Republicans have spoken harshly about Hagel throughout the debate. McCain, once close with Hagel and one of the 18 Republicans to vote in favor of ending debate earlier Tuesday, had heated exchanges with him over the troop surge in Iraq. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) took his opposition further, accusing Hagel of taking money from North Korea and Saudi Arabia. GOP-leaning outside groups also attacked Hagel over his past statements on Israel.
That opposition campaign seemed to peter out Tuesday.
“They were so far over the top,” said Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.). “There were so many false, inaccurate statements that basically they ended up hurting themselves as much as helping themselves.”
As we found out earlier today, the GOP belief that Chuck Hagel had been on the payroll of an organization called “Friends of Hamas” crashed and burned when it turned out to be a bad joke that conservative morons took seriously.
Like their unshakable belief in “skewed polls”, Republicans consistently cling to any craziness that validates their world view. And like their unskewed election results shocker, they don’t appear ready to learn from their mistakes. They would much rather whine instead.
Opponents of Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel are fuming in the aftermath of sloppy work by their allies that has backfired and risks turning their cause into a joke.The bumble: A thinly sourced claim that Hagel had taken money from a heretofore unheard of group called “Friends of Hamas,” floated by the conservative website Breitbart.com, and sourced to Capitol Hill.
“This sort of thing drives me crazy because it undermines legitimate concerns about Sen. Hagel, his views and financial associations,” said a Senate Republican aide involved with the anti-Hagel efforts. “In this business we deal in facts or the pursuit of facts and making up groups like the Friends of Hamas distracts us from legitimate questions as to what private foreign foundations and wealthy foreign individuals are contributing to the Atlantic Council or investing in Sen. Hagel’s firms.”
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! This Republican staffer thinks Republicans “deal in facts”, when they gave up that ghost decades ago. Their entire campaign against Hagel has been nothing but one round of bullshit after another. Or put another way, there hasn’t been a single “legitimate concern” floated against Hagel. The fact that one of their most fantastic conspiracy theories was exposed as (literally) a big joke only underscores how little they have against Hagel.
I mean, think about this: Some random GOPer staffer hears some random thing about “Friends of Hamas”, and rather than research it (and discover that no such organization actually exists), he runs to Breitbart, which then runs it uncritically, again refusing to do any research.
Now, conservatives should know better than to trust anything Breitbart says, because, you know, they’re Breitbart. They don’t research or check facts (an actual fact). But no, the rest of conservative media then uncritically runs that ridiculous story. And not just their fringy outlets, but their supposedly respectable ones like the National Review and Lou Dobbs at Fox Business.
But the chain of stupid doesn’t end with their bubble-creating media, as a U.S. SENATOR (Rand Paul!) then runs with the story, because like the rest of the conservative movement, he also lacks a single person able to check a fact.
Can’t blame them, though. Facts do have a well-known liberal bias. If Republicans actually got around to checking theirs, they would be left with nothing else to work with. Which is why Breitbart continues to cling to its story.
“Our Senate source denies that Friedman is the source of this information,” [Breitbart writer Ben] Shapiro wrote in a post that also referred to Friedman as a “hack.” “‘I have received this information from three separate sources, none of whom was Friedman,’ the source said.”
Congress justified its absurdly low approval rating this week as Senate Republicans blocked the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be defense secretary.
Hagel, who is perfectly qualified for the post, made the unforgivable mistake of disagreeing with his former colleagues while he was still in the Senate.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) candidly told Fox News that Hagel had committed the sin of saying President Bush was “the worst president since Herbert Hoover” and that the escalation in Iraq “was the worst blunder since the Vietnam War.”
But Hagel’s biggest mistake was that he was very “anti his own party, and people don’t forget that.”
Democrats then postured for political purposes, and according to the New York Times, “decided to press ahead and require Republicans to record a vote against Mr. Hagel, allowing Democrats to accuse them of a new level of obstructionism.”
To end the pitiful week, lawmakers then left for a 10-day recess.
As Ron Fournier points out, “In addition to an empty seat at the Pentagon, the unfinished business in Washington is staggering: Billions of dollars of haphazard cuts due to automatically take effect, immigration reform, gun control, climate change, and millions of Americans left behind in a wrenching economic transition. If you took 10 days off with this much work undone, you’d be fired.”
Republicans have offered up a litany of excuses for filibustering former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel’s appointment as Defense Secretary, and none of them make a lot of sense. But the award of biggest fail belongs to John McCain. John McCain filibustered Hagel yesterday over Hagel’s criticism of Bush, but in 2008 McCain’s harsh unleashing on Bush left no stone unturned.
Republicans are supposed to be rebranding their party, but instead, they’re busy making history by filibustering a defense secretary nominee. This is the first time the filibuster has been used against a defense secretary nominee (note: Republicans are pretending it wasn’t a filibuster). Perhaps Republicans aren’t concerned about national security after all.
Of the many reasons given for obstructing the Republican nominee, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) offered the most insane. After McCain threatened to block Hagel unless the Obama administration answered his questions about Benghazi (McCain was too busy giving interviews on camera complaining about the lack of information on Benghazi to actually attend one of the briefings on Benghazi), and the Obama administration complied, McCain moved the goal post again. Now he’s holding a grudge over Hagel’s criticism of Bush. Apparently McCain thinks that aligning the party with George W Bush will be helpful.
Yesterday McCain cried to Fox News that Hagel has said mean things about George W Bush and people don’t forget that:
To be honest with you Neil, it goes back to there is a lot of ill will towards Senator Hagel because when he was a Republican, he attacked President Bush mercilessly. At one point said he was the worst President since Herbert Hoover. Said the surge was the worst blunder since the Vietnam War which is nonsense. And was very anti his own party and people. People don’t forget that.
If “people” (aka: Republicans) are as petty as McCain said they are, then that would mean that the Republican Party put their grudges about Bush ahead of national security.
This probably isn’t the best argument McCain could have made for the GOP poutrage vote.
Furthermore, this is the same McCain who told the Washington Times in October of 2008 that he rejected many of Bush’s failed policies, and that he would not be four more years of W. McCain listed Bush’s many failures:
“Spending, the conduct of the war in Iraq for years, growth in the size of government, larger than any time since the Great Society, laying a $10 trillion debt on future generations of America, owing $500 billion to China, obviously, failure to both enforce and modernize the [financial] regulatory agencies that were designed for the 1930s and certainly not for the 21st century, failure to address the issue of climate change seriously,” Mr. McCain said in an interview with The Washington Times aboard his campaign plane en route from New Hampshire to Ohio.
“Those are just some of them,” he said with a laugh, chomping into a peanut butter sandwich as a few campaign aides in his midair office joined in the laughter.
Those are harsh words. McCain spared Bush nothing, raking him over the coals on his out of control spending, his financial regulatory agency failures, his $10 trillion debt, and of course, “(T)he conduct of the war in Iraq for years”, accused the man who now claims that criticizing the surge is a reason Hagel should not be nominated. Americans await McCain voting against himself, should he be nominated for anything, because people don’t forget.
41 Republicans voted against Hagel’s nomination to head the Pentagon, but he did get 4 votes from Republicans, giving him close the number he needs to overcome a Republican filibuster (essentially 59, he needs 60).
McCain admitted that Hagel is likely to be confirmed after recess, which sounded exactly like it reads: After Republicans get over their preschool recess pout, they will concede that — SIGH — having someone running the Pentagon is probably a decent idea. However, they will have achieved their goal of undermining Hagel and Obama in the eyes of the world, since Hagel will miss a defense ministers’ meeting in Brussels next week. Republicans must be pleased to force America’s defense secretary out of the NATO conference. This is coming from the party that made security at Benghazi an issue. They’d better hope nothing happens unitl they come back from recess. USA! USA! USA!
We can only hope that the rest of the world understands that Republicans are a minority insurgent party that doesn’t represent most Americans, and thus their lack of support is indicative of nothing other than their hurt feelings that they lost yet another national election. Hagel, after all, represents a stark rebuke of the modern day Republican Party. Hagel called out the Iraq debacle at the time, and although he supported McCain’s 2000 run, by 2008 he had drifted to the center (also known as away from crazy).
McCain’s latest excuse is just another reactionary hit, aimed at the messenger instead of the problem. Hagel’s criticisms were valid, and the neo cons will never forgive him for being right. The Republican Senators’ temper tantrum over Hagel should be recalled the next time a Republican tries to suggest that the problem in DC is that Obama won’t work with them.
Chuck Hagel will eventually be nominated. After all, does the Republican Party want to show the world just how unreasonable they are during rising global crises on a daily basis?
The void between outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the confirmation of Chuck Hagel is dangerous, considering the ongoing Afghanistan war and nuclear threats from Korea.
Republicans managed to make history, blocking a cabinet nominee with majority support. What’s the damage?
Well, they did it: Thursday evening, Senate Republicans staged what amounts to the first-ever successful filibuster of a presidential cabinet nominee, mustering enough votes to leave Defense Secretary-designate Chuck Hagel — himself a former Senate Republican — one aye short of confirmation. Four Republicans voted with all 55 members of the Democratic caucus to proceed to an up-or-down vote that Hagel is sure to win — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) changed his vote to “no” at the end, a procedural move that will allow him to bring up the vote after the upcoming recess. But President Obama, Hagel, the Pentagon, and outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, now have to wait at least 10 days until Senate Democrats get another shot at ratifying a new defense chief.
David Weigel at Slate, who has been a tireless guide through the labyrinthine Hagelian drama,argues pretty persuasively that everybody (but Hagel himself) won something in Thursday night’s vote. The anti-Hagelian “troika of the Washington Free Beacon, Breitbart.com, and Jennifer Rubin,” for example, have gained at least 10 more days to dig up (or invent) a disqualifying skeleton in Hagel’s closet. But while Republicans successfully “humiliated the administration, yet again,” and “humbled” Hagel, whom most Republicans have grown to dislike, they’ve also become “villains on a vote they’ll eventually lose.” So, let’s count the costs — to the GOP, the nation, and the military — of the GOP’s filibuster of Chuck Hagel:
1. Republicans come out looking pretty shabby
“The impressive thing about the anti-Hagel effort is how politically tone-deaf it is,” says Daniel Larison at The American Conservative. Republicans in Washington “are desperate for a winning issue, but Senate Republicans seem to be missing the point that stalling Hagel’s confirmation (which will happen eventually) isn’t a winning issue for them.” Quite the opposite, in fact. “In the short-term, they will take a justified beating in the press for their ridiculous tactics,” but they’re also “making sure that all of the moderates, independents, and realists that they have alienated over the last 10 years will keep running away from them.” Laurence Vance at the libertarian LRC Blog seems to agree: “I am no fan of Hagel,” he says, but it’s clear that Republicans are throwing up roadblocks just “because Hagel is not seen as being as bloodthirsty and war-crazed as they are. The GOP cannot be reformed.”
2. They’ve set a dangerous precedent
Filibustering Hagel, simply put, “is just insane,” says Kevin Drum at Mother Jones. “If there’s one thing practically everyone agrees about, it’s that presidents should basically get to pick their own cabinets.” You only try to derail nominees in extreme circumstances, and that’s hardly the case here. Hagel is “a standard issue DC pol with no skeletons in his closet, no bizarre views, and no scandals in his background,” and normally his nomination wouldn’t even be controversial.
The “potentially serious short- and long-term consequences” of this filibuster “should worry both parties,” says Steve Kornacki at Salon. Once you “shatter tradition” by pulling this maneuver once, it very well “might lead to similar filibusters in the future — both for Obama’s nominees and for nominees of future presidents from both parties.” Yes, “future Republican Cabinet nominees for major posts are now much more likely treated in the same way,” says The American Conservative‘s Larison. “That won’t be good for future Republican administrations or the government as a whole.”
3. This could revive filibuster-neutering efforts
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), who lost a fight to radically scale back the Senate filibuster last month, reminded his Democratic colleagues that they could have avoided this setback if they’d agreed to the stronger measures he proposed. “It is deeply disappointing that even when President Obama nominates a former conservative colleague of the GOP caucus, the minority is abusing the rules and the spirit of ‘advise and consent,’” he said. “If our step we took last month is to be successful, extraordinary stunts like today’s filibuster can’t happen.”
Well, “if this isn’t enough to get Reid to revive the threat of filibuster reform, nothing will be enough,” says Greg Sargent at The Washington Post. Agreed, says Ed Kilgore at Washington Monthly. Reid is an institutionalist who is loath to take away senators’ privileges, but “he needs to pick up the threat for real, shake it at Senate Republicans, and mean it.”
4. The military is stuck in limbo
Panetta didn’t have any plans to work past this week, and now he has to lead the U.S. military for at least another week and a half, including a trip to a big NATO summit he assumed Hagel would attend. Nobody knows “what foreign challenge will face this country perhaps within the next 10 days,” Reid warned his colleagues Thursday. “It would be nice if we had a secretary of defense.” The White House made a similar argument, noting pointedly that “we have 66,000 men and women deployed in Afghanistan, and we need our new secretary of defense to be a part of significant decisions about how we bring that war to a responsible end,” the focus of the NATO summit. “This waste of time is not without consequences.” But the sentiment wasn’t only from Democrats. With all the challenges the Pentagon faces, including looming budget cuts, “I just think it’s important to have a secretary of defense in place,” said Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), one of the two Republicans who’ve committed to voting for Hagel.
The damage from this standoff could be more far-reaching than the temporary water-treading at the Pentagon, though. The GOP filibuster and breakdown in longstanding comity on defense issues, especially in the Senate Armed Serviced Committee “is way over the line — disgraceful!” military expert and former SASC staffer Charles Stevenson tells The Atlantic‘s James Fallows. Republicans are poisoning the Senate but “also hurting the institution of the office of Secretary of Defense and thus undermining our system of civilian control.” This pitiful hounding of Hagel shows that “the Republican Party has abrogated its role — really, abandoned any interest — in shaping or seriously discussing American foreign policy,” says Fred Kaplan at Slate.
Why risk incurring those costs to probably just delay Hagel’s confirmation? That’s what Senate Democrats, and plenty of observers, want to know. “What more are you trying to get out of this?” asked a frustrated Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) on the Senate floor. Senate Republicans aren’t providing very good answers. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) said they wouldn’t block Hagel’s confirmation if the White House answered their question about whether Obama spoke with Libyan officials on the night of the Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi — the White House answered the question, McCain said he was satisfied with the response, then he and Graham voted to block the confirmation anyway.
But if Senate Republicans aren’t giving persuasive answers — Graham says he’ll “feel better about it” in 10 days, while McCain told Fox News that “there’s a lot of ill will towards Senator Hagel because when he was a Republican, he attacked President Bush mercilessly…. He was anti-his own party and people” — The Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza got some straight talk from “a handful of smart Republican types — both inside and outside the Senate.” They collectively give three reasons for filibustering Hagel:
1. There’s no downside. While the fight over Hagel is consuming official Washington — and enraging the Democratic base — Republican strategists believe that not only are few regular people following all of this, but the former Nebraska senator isn’t someone with all that many allies outside of Washington….
2. The beefs with Hagel are legit. Several operatives rejected the notion that the Hagel blockade is largely about politics….
3. It’s a Republican rallying cry. Republicans thought they would be in the Senate majority right now. And they thought they might also have Mitt Romney in the White House. Neither of those things happened…. In short: The Senate GOP conference needs something to rally around and Hagel’s nomination serves as a useful exercise to do just that. [Washington Post]
Well, that was somewhat of a squeaker for Chuck Hagel, but he made it…
Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee backed former senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska to lead the Pentagon on Tuesday afternoon, paving the way for the full Senate to vote on President Obama’s nominee this week.
The committee vote predictably split along party lines, with the 14 Democrats voting in favor of moving the nomination to the floor and 11 Republicans voting no. One Republican was absent.
Democrats backed the former Republican lawmaker despite a performance during his Jan. 31 confirmation hearing that even supporters called underwhelming. Republicans on the committee continued to voice strong reservations about Hagel, who has faced persistent questions about his views on Iran, Israel and nuclear policy.
“The next secretary of defense will have to deal with a world on fire,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said before the vote, explaining his opposition.
Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said efforts to portray Hagel as a radical ideologue were off base, and he pushed back on Republican demands for more information about the nominee, including additional details about his finances.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) declined to heed calls for a walkout, which some Republicans had advocated, but did not mince words in expressing how unimpressed he was by Hagel as he voted against his former colleague.
“His performance before this committee was the worst I have seen of any nominee for office,” he said, complaining that Hagel had failed to agree with McCain’s view that the 2009 troop surge in Iraq had been a strategic success. “Senator Hagel’s judgment was wrong, continues to be wrong.”
In explaining their support, some Democrats invoked the importance of deferring to a president’s Cabinet picks. Several said they were hopeful that Hagel’s experience as an enlisted soldier during the Vietnam War gave him a valuable perspective. But none offered a ringing endorsement.
“I think we owe deference to a president for choices to executive positions,” Sen. Timothy M. Kaine (D-Va.) said. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) said she had confidence in Hagel but wished he had been “much feistier” during his confirmation hearing.
Republicans used the eight minutes each got to speak before the vote to continue to challenge Hagel’s bid to lead the Pentagon during a time of steep budget cuts, a waning war in Afghanistan and a flurry of national security threats around the globe.
“We saw with his nomination something truly extraordinary, which is the government of Iran formally and publicly praising the nomination of a defense secretary,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said. Cruz said that having Hagel at the helm of the Pentagon would make “military conflict in the next four years substantially more likely” because it could “only encourage the nation of Iran to continue and accelerate its program to develop nuclear weapons capacity.”
Where did they find this guy? I would say that George W. Bush was the one appointing second rate people…starting with his vice presidential selection…
Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Saturday night that President Barack Obama has jeopardized U.S. national security by nominating substandard candidates for key cabinet posts and by degrading the U.S. military.
“The performance now of Barack Obama as he staffs up the national security team for the second term is dismal,” Cheney said in comments to about 300 members of the Wyoming Republican Party.
Cheney, a Wyoming native, said it was vital to the nation’s national security that “good folks” hold the positions of secretary of state, CIA director and secretary of defense.
“Frankly, what he has appointed are second-rate people,” he said.
John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, has been confirmed as secretary of state. CIA designate John Brennan and defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel are still awaiting U.S. Senate confirmation.
Wyoming’s two U.S. senators, Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, voted for Kerry’s confirmation. Both Enzi and Barrasso gave introductory speeches for Cheney Saturday night.
Cheney said Hagel, a former Nebraska U.S. senator, was chosen because Obama “wants to have a Republican that he can use to take the heat for what he plans to do to the Department of Defense.”
He said Obama’s plans are to allow severe cuts in U.S. defense spending, which would limit the capability of the U.S. military to respond to future foreign crises well after Obama has left office.
“He is today … establishing what limitations will be on future presidents,” Cheney said.
Cheney noted that the security situation in the Middle East and North Africa has worsened under Obama’s watch with Iran actively pursuing nuclear weapons and with turmoil in Egypt, Syria, Mali and elsewhere.
“That part of the world is as dangerous now as it has ever been,” he said.
The Obama administration’s response has been to pull back U.S. military presence and influence, resulting in rising mistrust of the U.S. from allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, he said.
Despite Obama’s re-election victory, Cheney said he hopes Republicans can revive their political fortunes by holding to conservative principles.
“I believe we’re all going to pull together, work hard, dig in and do what needs to be done,” he said.
Cheney, who received a heart transplant about a year ago, appeared fit, although his voice turned hoarse on occasion during his half-hour speech.