Dick Cheney spends his days sipping lattes in custom-ordered Starbucks cups surrounded by military history and political biography books in his study in Virginia—and apparently brewing over how President Obama has ruined the country. In an interview with Playboy, the former vice president describes the changes since his time in office.
- On the military: Obama has "done enormous damage to the military" and is "crippling the capacity of future presidents to deal with future crises," Cheney says. Already, the country's ability to deal with terrorist groups "is rapidly diminishing. I look at Barack Obama and I see the worst president in my lifetime, without question," he says. "We are going to pay a hell of a price just trying to dig out from under his presidency."
- On Obama and race: "To say that we criticize, or that I criticize, Barack Obama or Eric Holder because of race, I just think it's obviously not true," he says. "My view of it is the criticism is merited because of performance—or lack of performance, because of incompetence. It hasn't got anything to do with race." He adds, "I think they're playing the race card."
- On Ferguson: Cheney says Michael Brown's killing shouldn't be thrown "all over on the burden of race, or racial inequality, or racial discrimination." He adds, "I don’t think it is about race. I think it is about an individual who conducted himself in a manner that was almost guaranteed to provoke an officer trying to do his duty." He adds he's "disappointed" with the Obama administration's response to protests.
- On the conflict in Ukraine: "If you want to get Putin’s attention, you really ought to whack him economically, and that’s not just a matter of sanctions," Cheney says. "It's also a matter of going after his energy stuff. What's happening to oil prices now, frankly, is a blessing for us, because it really puts the screws to Putin. He's so dependent on oil, in terms of his economy, that we ought to do everything we can to encourage that."
- On Guantanamo and torture: "We did what we felt was necessary and needed to be done" after 9/11 "to make sure it never happened again," the former VP says. "And we bent over backward to adhere to the law, to not do something that was, quote, 'torture,'" he says. "So I feel very good about it." He adds Guantanamo is still open because it's a place to keep the "really bad guys ... If anything, we've let too many of them go."
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