Cheney to Obama: Rethink Tossing Terror Policies

Jan 7, 2009 9:00pm

ABC News’ Tahman Bradley reports:

You could say Barack Obama started the feud with his campaign rhetoric about Bush administration security tactics.

During the course of the presidential campaign, he slammed the outgoing administration’s positions on warrantless wiretapping, interrogation and Guantanamo Bay.

He said the country was less safe than it used to be because the government, distracted by Iraq, had lost focus on al-Qaeda.

Then, the feud escalated when Vice President Dick Cheney began defending the Bush administration and clashed with Vice President-elect Joe Biden over the role of the vice presidency. Biden, complaining Cheney had overstepped his authority, said the veep had given recommendations to Bush "not healthy for our foreign policy, not healthy for our national security, and it has not been consistent with our Constitution." Cheney, in response, accused Biden of not understanding the Constitution.

And in the latest episode, "the Angler" offered a few words of advice for the president-elect.

In an interview with CBS Radio’s Mark Knoller, Cheney urged Obama to keep security polices enacted during the last eight years because they were vital to keeping the country safe.

"If I had advice to give it would be, before you start to implement your campaign rhetoric, you need to sit down and find out precisely what it is we did and how we did it, because it is going to be vital to keeping the nation safe and secure in the years ahead," said Cheney.

"And it would be a tragedy if they threw over those policies simply because they had campaigned against them. I think they need to proceed very cautiously before they begin to change the policies that are in place. They need to know what they’re doing."

Cheney also said it’s easier campaigning than governing.

"Well, I’ve been through a lot of campaigns myself — two national campaigns, obviously, running for vice president — and the situation changes once you sit down in the Oval Office and begin to receive on a daily basis the president’s daily brief — intelligence briefing that the intelligence community pulls together and the CIA presents every morning about what’s going on in the world, and about threats, threats to the homeland, problems we face overseas.

"And it is a tough, dangerous, complex world that we live in. And my experience has been, having been through 40 years in the business, that there’s nothing like sitting down at the desk and having to deal with those problems to have a sobering effect on somebody’s outlook and expectations."

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