Washington – President Barack Obama has said his first priority is to keep the American people safe. While he has kept them safe from attacks from terrorist organizations and other foreign entities thus far, he has not been able to keep them safe from the man who is perhaps the administration’s fiercest enemy – former Vice President Dick Cheney. Mr. Obama acknowledged as much in a press briefing today at the White House.
“I have to look at it honestly and objectively, and when I do that, I see that I haven’t done the job,” the president said. “Vice President Cheney is still out there, speaking, scaring the bejeezus out of kids and nervous people everywhere, and I have to take some of the blame for that.”
Mr. Cheney has been on what has amounted to a media blitz of late, appearing on several television programs and making public speeches, attempting to defend harsh interrogation policies authorized by the Bush Administration. Americans have been exposed to Cheney far more often than some of them would like.
Jane Armster of Portland, Oregon said she thought the worst was over. “You know the election happened, and I thought, ‘Wow, he’s gone. Cheney’s really gone.’ And then here we are, what, a few months later, and he’s back. And he’s on TV all the time. He’s everywhere. It’s like he’s vice president all over again, except this time he has the energy to appear in public and talk all the time. It’s terrifying.”
Mike Mansher of Cleveland, Ohio said, “I feel like I’m in some kind of time warp or something. Like it’s 2003 again. And I hated 2003. I was dating this chick, and she was just a nightmare. Clingy, psycho. Hated my friends. So I don’t want to go back there again, thank you very much.”
Washington was abuzz this morning over a Washington Post report that Mr. Cheney is amassing a private army made up of thousands of paid soldiers ready to fight the U.S. military, if necessary. The former vice president is also named in separate Post story as “someone who expressed interest” in obtaining a black market nuclear weapon or the materials to make such a weapon by a Pakistani man in British custody who is awaiting trial on terrorism charges. The man, Ejaz Youseff, claims to have “extensive firsthand knowledge” of the nuclear weapons black market.
Lynne Headman, a spokeswoman in Mr. Cheney’s Washington, D.C. office, called both stories “flatly untrue.”
“Vice President Cheney has never pursued the purchase of a nuclear weapon,” Ms. Headman said. “And if he did, he would pay for it above board, fair and square and using the proper channels. Like he does with all his other weapons of mass destruction.”
Mr. Obama vowed to fight the forces of Mr. Cheney with new resolve, but said he won’t go beyond the rule of law.
“What I won’t do is torture, or do anything else that undermines the rule of law or goes against our founding principles,” he said. “We can defeat our enemies without sacrificing the moral authority that is our greatest currency. We can do that even against an enemy as formidable as Dick Cheney.”