Former President George Bush pointedly passed up a chance to criticize President Barack Obama, who has increasingly peppered his speeches with pointed criticism of Obama — once again underlying a seeming split between Bush and his former Vice President Dick Cheney.
On several occasions since leaving office, Cheney has criticized Obama in terms that are more akin to a talk show caller than a former Vice President. But Bush made it clear he’s not going to follow suit — and that he doesn’t agree with talk show host Rush Limbaugh:
Former President George W. Bush said on Tuesday that he won’t criticize Barack Obama because the new U.S. president “deserves my silence,” and said he plans to write a book about the 12 toughest decisions he made in office.
Bush declined to critique the Obama administration in his first speech since leaving office in January. Former Vice President Dick Cheney has said that Obama’s decisions threatened America’s safety.
“I’m not going to spend my time criticizing him. There are plenty of critics in the arena,” Bush said. “He deserves my silence.”
Bush said he wants Obama to succeed and said it’s important that he has that support. Talk-show host Rush Limbaugh has said he hoped Obama would fail.
“I love my country a lot more than I love politics,” Bush said. “I think it is essential that he be helped in office.”
Bush is in Canada where he’ll give his first speech since leaving office. This speech is reportedly called “A Conversation with George W. Bush.” It’s clear from this and from some of Cheney’s other recent comments that Bush and Cheney didn’t always see eye to eye in their conversations. Or is there another possibility?
Newsweek’s Holly Bailey:“Are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney doing the old good cop, bad cop routine–or do they genuinely disagree?”
The good cop/bad cop idea seems less likely since these are two former officials and aren’t scrambling to stay in office. Their main constituency now is history.
And, in that, Cheney’s ranking is likely to be even lower than he is in the polls.
UPDATE: Here’s more on Dick Cheney’s White House feud.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.