Fox News Radio host John Gibson asked Liz Cheney for her thoughts on Barack Obama’s recent trip to Dover Air Force Base to witness the arrival of the bodies of U.S. troops who died in Afghanistan. Here is her response, via TPMDC:

“I think that what President Bush used to do is do it without the cameras. And I don’t understand sort of showing up with the White House Press Pool with photographers and asking family members if you can take pictures. That’s really hard for me to get my head around…It was a surprising way for the president to choose to do this.”

Pres. Bush didn’t used to do it at all, as TPM’s reporter points out:

It’s not clear exactly what Cheney is referring to when she says, “Bush used to do it without the cameras.”

It’s true that Bush’s Pentagon continued a long-standing policy of banning cameras at Dover when the nation’s fallen arrived in flag-draped caskets from foreign battlefields. (Upon taking office, Obama lifted the ban.)

So that covers “without the cameras.”

But as CBS’s Mark Knoller reported yesterday, Obama was the first president to visit arriving dead at Dover during the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq — meaning that when it came to taking trips to Dover like Obama did yesterday morning, Bush never used to “do it” at all.

Josh Marshall wonders if Fox will call her on this (HA!):

I’ve never been terribly impressed with Liz Cheney. … But I’m not sure I remember her fibbing on quite this scale before. But when Liz Cheney attacked President Obama for his visit to Dover Air Force Base to greet and honor the bodies of American servicemen killed in action in Afghanistan, she claimed that President Bush routinely did the same thing — only without cameras. Yet, there’s no evidence Bush ever did this. Not even once. Cameras or no cameras. Reporters who covered Obama and Bush say Obama’s the first to have done this.

Steve Benen remarks on “how pathetic Liz Cheney’s sense of decency has become.” (Emphasis in second paragraph below is mine):

President Bush didn’t used to “do it without the cameras”; President Bush didn’t used to do it at all. After seven years of the war in Afghanistan, Bush didn’t greet returning caskets once. He didn’t even want journalists to take photographs of the events, fearing that the images may turn public opinion against the war.

What’s more, President Obama didn’t “show up with the White House Press Pool.” The trip was not announced in advance — the White House wasn’t seeking publicity — and only a “small contingent” of journalists were allowed to attend. In fact, “most of the event was closed to media.”

As Steve (Benen, and Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog) also pointed out, though, some conservative bloggers did have the decency to give Pres. Obama credit:

Peter Hegseth at National Review Online calls it “a classy move,” while Rick Moran (brother of ABC’s Terry Moran) said, “the emotion that animated his face during this solemn, heart rending ceremony showed that he understands his responsibilities.”

Blue Texan offers photographic duct tape for Liz Cheney’s mouth:

Reagan with Marines killed in Beirut, Lebanon.

Reagan with Marines killed in Beirut, Lebanon.

Kathy Kattenburg
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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • JeffersonDavis

    I know where Liz Cheney is coming from, but she is wrong.
    The President SHOULD be their to receive soldiers that died under his command. That goes for ANY President. It is (or should be) part of the job.

    If he does it as part of a PR event to gain politically (as I suspect Obama does with every movement), then his ethics should be in question. I pray that is not the case here.

    I even respected the salute he gave as the caskets came off the plane. Some vets may resent that, but the Commander-in-Chief can salute any time he darn well wants to – and this time was very appropriate. It was even a correct salute. Most civilians get it wrong.

  • DdW

    Ahh, Liz Cheney. The daughter of the man who had more important things to do than to serve his country in the military….

    • kathykattenburg

      Yes — five times he had more important things to do. His wife was having a child. He was in college. His wife was having a child. I’m not sure what the other two were.

  • Guest

    It should also be remembered that Dick Cheney never served… not even once after five deferments.

  • StockBoySF

    “I think that what President Bush used to do is do it without the cameras.”

    Liz is thinking of the OTHER things Bush did without cameras.

    • JeffersonDavis


      “Liz is thinking of the OTHER things Bush did without cameras”.

      I know where you’re coming from on this (I think). I agree.
      But it’s one thing to have cameras – as a President would be filmed taking a crap if he did it in public.
      It’s quite another to orchestrate it as a PR event to glorify yourself. I’m not saying that Obama did this, but I suspect that he may have done that very thing – judging by his anal control of every aspect of his “transparent” administration. He’s done a great job controlling his image in the press – good on him. That’s good executive execution. But if he uses dead soldiers to better his image, he’s a scumbag.

      • kritt11

        Or, maybe he is expressing gratitude and pride for their sacrifice to their country.

        • JeffersonDavis

          “Or, maybe he is expressing gratitude and pride for their sacrifice to their country.”

          I hope you’re right. Until I find out otherwise, I’ll give Obama the benefit of the doubt.

  • rudi

    Liz Cheney is pushing her agenda and her fathers legacy on the backs of dead soldier. Quite a class family…

  • JSpencer

    Lliz Cheney is a mental and moral lightweight… even with the Cheney name… which is all she’s got – and that ain’t sayin much. If I could channel DLS for a moment, I’d say that “better people” will ignore her and move on. 😉

  • zeezil

    Bush honored our war dead – without fanfare, the photographers and the press corps. But then, Bush understands dignity.

    And, it’s my understanding that Bush sent a letter of condolence to the family of every soldier killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. (And the signature on each letter was by Bush’s hand – not a machine.)

    I haven’t heard what Obama’s practice is, if any.

    • imavettoo

      Dubya-Dignity=oxymoron, moron.

  • DLS

    Grow up, people. There’s no excuse for overreacting and silly-lib cheap shots. Someone was going to be first, and first in a professional-conservative-media-mouthpiece-role, to be publicly critical of Obama, just as a righty joined the foamier-mouth lefties in criticizing the President for not being more harsh toward Iran after that nation’s post-election suppression of protests.

  • rfyork

    I am beginning to think the whole Cheney clan is certifiable. A lesbian daughter who supports her father’s stand against gay marriage, a wife who bloviates out of sheer willful ignorance and lies. And, well, what can you say about a “man” who is incapable of any kind of self-reflection. As my fellow veterans call him – a chickenhawk.

    In the Cheneys’ world everything just turned out hunky-dory until Obama came along. Who needs reality anyway?

    Bush dignity? Another oxymoron stalks the blogs.

  • kritt11

    So would Liz say that she could not understand why President and Mrs. Reagan showed up with the press pool to view the dead marines coming in from Lebanon? He is, after all, the standard-bearer of the Republican party, and the political figure that W most sought to emulate during his 2 terms in the WH. 🙂