Vice President Joe Biden tore into his predecessor Sunday bluntly that former Vice President Dick Cheney is misinformed and is using that misinformation to mislead Americans.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Biden said Cheney doesn’t listen to the facts and is trying to rewrite history.
Cheney claims the Obama administration is failing to treat the battle against terrorism as war. But Biden says Cheney’s criticism rings false.
Biden disagrees. Under President Barack Obama’s direction, he says, the U.S. has been more successful at killing off al-Qaida leaders and their followers than it was during the years George W. Bush and Cheney sat in the White House.
NBC’s Official Transcript of the interviews:
DAVID GREGORY: Let me ask you about some of the criticism that’s been leveled at this Administration by former Vice President Dick Cheney. He has argued that this Administration has failed to treat the fight against terrorists as war. He cites the decision related to Khalid Sheik Muhammad to offer him a civilian trail as one example. Giving the Christmas Day Bomber the privileges of the American criminal justice system is another example. The decision to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison. What do you say?
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Let me choose my words carefully here. Dick Cheney’s a fine fellow. He’s entitled to his own opinion. He’s not entitled to rewrite history. He’s not entitled to his own facts. The Christmas Day Bomber was treated the exact way that he suggested that the Shoe Bomber was treated. Absolutely the same way. Under the Bush Administration there were three trials in military courts. Two of those people are now walking the streets. They are free.
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There were 300 trials of so-called terrorists and those who engage in terror against the United States of America who are in federal prison and have not seen the light of day. Prosecuted under the last Administration. Dick Cheney’s a fine fellow, but he is not entitled to rewrite history without it being challenged. I don’t know where he has been. Where was he the last four years of the last Administration?
DAVID GREGORY: What about the general proposition that the President according to former Vice President Cheney doesn’t consider America to be at war and is essentially soft on terrorism? What do you say about that?
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: I don’t think the Vice– the Former Vice President Dick Cheney listens. The President of the United States said in the State of the Union, “We’re at war with Al Qaeda.” He stated this– and by the way, we’re pursuing that war with a vigor like it’s never been seen before. We’ve eliminated 12 of their top 20 people. We have taken out 100 of their associates. We are making, we’ve sent them underground. They are in fact not able to do anything remotely like they were in the past. They are on the run. I don’t know where Dick Cheney has been. Look, it’s one thing, again, to– to criticize. It’s another thing to sort of rewrite history. What is he talking about?
DAVID GREGORY: You have often said, when I’ve asked you and others, that you never impugn a man’s motives. But why do you think Dick Cheney is speaking out and being so critical of the President and the Administration so publicly?
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: I don’t know. I– I– I’m not gonna guess about his motive. All I know is he’s factually, substantively wrong. On the major criticisms he is asserting. Why he’s insisting on that. He either is misinformed or he is misinforming. But the facts are that his assertions are not accurate.
DAVID GREGORY: You would not be this outspoken or critical when you’re out of office. Is that fair to say?
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Well, I– I– I would hope I– look, it’s one thing to be outspoken. It’s another thing to be outspoken in a way that misrepresents the facts. And I– I guess– again, I– it’s almost like Dick is trying to rewrite history. I can understand where the– why that would be– you know, an impulse. And maybe he isn’t– literally, I’m not being facetious. Maybe he’s not fully informed of what’s going on. I mean, the progress we have made. There has never been as much emphasis and resources brought against Al Qaeda. The success rate exceeds anything that occurred in the last Administration. And they did their best. I’m not– I’m not impugning their effort. It’s simply not true that the President of the United States is not prosecuting the war against Al Qaeda with a vigor that’s never been seen before. It’s real. It’s deep. It’s successful.