Liz Cheney is known for making controversial statements. But on Sunday, she clashed with a surprising challenger: conservative commentator George Will. The former Vice President's daughter and the Washington Post columnist sparred on both terrorism and racism.
Will gave a fairly positive take on Obama's terrorism response: "I don't think it's behind him yet, but I think he began to dig out of the hole he had dug for himself with his first statement which was that this was an isolated extremist, which seems to cast this problem of terrorism as a problem of neurotic individuals rather than conspiratorial groups arming, training, and directing as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula did with this man."
Cheney pushed back. "There is clearly a problem here. I disagree with George. I don't think that the events, the briefings that were provided this week have begun to give Americans any comfort that there is a real understanding of the threat the nation faces and what it's going to take to deal with it."
Later, when Liz Cheney accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of being a racist, it was Will who fought back.
Cheney claimed it was "inexcusable" for liberals to defend Harry Reid for saying privately that Barack Obama could win the election because he's a "light-skinned" African American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."
"Can I just point out, I think one of the things that makes the American people frustrated, time and time again, liberals excuse racism from other liberals," Cheney said. "The comments were outrageous ... I don't think it's okay if you say it in private or public. The excuse by liberals is inexcusable."
A spirited back and forth between the two followed.
WILL: I don't think there's a scintilla of racism in what Harry Reid said. At long last, Harry Reid has said something that no one can disagree with, and he gets in trouble for it.
CHENEY: George, give me a break. I mean, talking about the color of the president's skin...
WILL: Did he get it wrong?
CHENEY: ... and the candidate's...
WILL: Did he say anything false?
CHENEY: ... it's -- these are clearly racist comments, George.
WILL: Oh, my, no.