Feb. 14, 2010— -- Vice President Joe Biden and former Vice President Dick Cheney don't agree on much, except how wrong they believe the other one is when it comes to running the country.
Today the two leaders went toe to toe on the Sunday talk shows. The standoff came about after the White House caught wind of Cheney's scheduled appearance on ABC's "This Week." In response, they put Vice President Biden on two different Sunday shows to stage a rebuttal and to seize an opportunity.
"This administration never misses a chance to engage with the previous administration," says ABC political analyst George Will. "They think the contrast serves them and what better contrast to have then with the vice president who except for certain hard-core Republicans is not widely liked in the country right now. When in doubt define the Republican Party in terms of their most polarizing figures: Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney."
In separate interviews today, the two leaders clashed on a whole host of issues including the likelihood of another terrorist attack on U.S. soil on the scale of 9/11.
"The reason it's unlikely," Vice President Biden said on CBS' "Face the Nation," "is because we have been relentless, absolutely relentless in isolating al Qaeda."
But Cheney says that kind of attitude makes America vulnerable.
"You don't want the vice president of the United States running around saying, "Oh, it's not likely to happen," he said.
Another major point of contention is the war in Iraq. Biden has suggested that Iraq could be a great success story, and today on CBS he said, "I think we've managed it very, very well. And we'll be able to get out of Iraq at the end of 2011, leaving behind a stable government."
Dick Cheney responded, "If they're going to take credit for it, fair enough, for what they've done while they're there, but it ought to go with a healthy dose of 'Thank you, George Bush' up front."
President George W. Bush has been mostly silent since leaving office more than a year ago, while his vice president appears to be relishing the freedom that comes from being out of office.
"I have the great freedom and luxury of speaking out, saying what I -- what I want to say, what I believe."
Cheney Says 'Vindication' Will Come
Some analysts point to a power vacuum in the Republican Party that has left a wide opening for the former vice president to say his peace.
"Since they lost in 2008 and until they find a presidential candidate in 2012, leadership is up for grabs, and he's grabbing it," said Will.
Cheney may also be looking for some public vindication. Today he pointed to several Bush policies that the Obama administration has not been able to fully roll back, including the operation of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and the use of military tribunals.
The former vice president did have some praise for the Obama administration today. He said when it comes to the president's strategy in Afghanistan he is a "complete supporter." It's a complicated endorsement for the man Biden once called the most dangerous vice president in history.
"Churchill once said that history will vindicate me because I will write the history," said Will, "and Cheney says history is going to vindicate him and he's going to help write the history."