Cheney criticizes Obama nominees in Wyoming speech
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Saturday night that President Barack Obama has jeopardized U.S. national security by nominating substandard candidates for key cabinet posts and by degrading the U.S. military.
"The performance now of Barack Obama as he staffs up the national security team for the second term is dismal," Cheney said in comments to about 300 members of the Wyoming Republican Party.
Cheney, a Wyoming native, said it was vital to the nation's national security that "good folks" hold the positions of secretary of state, CIA director and secretary of defense.
"Frankly, what he has appointed are second-rate people," he said.
John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, has been confirmed as secretary of state. CIA designate John Brennan and defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel are still awaiting U.S. Senate confirmation.
Wyoming's two U.S. senators, Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, voted for Kerry's confirmation. Both Enzi and Barrasso gave introductory speeches for Cheney Saturday night.
Cheney said Hagel, a former Nebraska U.S. senator, was chosen because Obama "wants to have a Republican that he can use to take the heat for what he plans to do to the Department of Defense."