Boehner, McConnell Cheer Cheney's Public Role

On Sunday, the top Republicans in both the House and the Senate affirmed that they were pleased with former Vice President Dick Cheney for taking an active and combative public role just months after stepping down from office.

John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, the House and Senate minority leaders, both expressed support for Cheney's attacks on President Obama during their respective Sunday show appearances. Boehner went so far as to say that the former VP's broadsides against the current White House "helps" the Republican Party.

"Dick Cheney is a private citizen and is entitled to his views," Boehner told CNN's State of the Union.

As for the possibility that Cheney was drowning out the younger and/or more moderate Republicans, Boehner replied that "having a chorus of voices out there" was better than none. "It doesn't hurt us," he said, "it helps us."

On Fox News Sunday, Mitch McConnell did not offer a similarly specific endorsement of Cheney's recent rhetoric. He did, however, say the former VP had been vindicated in his remarks, as evidenced by Obama's change in policy on matters from releasing torture photos to military tribunals.

"These are serious issues and I think it's noteworthy that in the last week the President himself has been adjusting his positions," he said. "He's no longer decided to release additional photos from Abu Ghraib. He has revisited the issue of whether or not the military commissions that we passed a couple of years ago are an appropriate way to try terrorists. We know he changed his mind in Iraq and decided to follow the advice of the military generals, and we also know that he's now ordered a surge in Afghanistan just like the one that was successful in Iraq. So I think the administration has responded to the critique of the vice president and others that it might... be drifting off in the wrong direction on national security issues."

A recent survey of GOP strategists and advisers found that 57 percent believe Cheney has hurt the Republican Party since the election, versus 33 percent who think he is helping.


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