They’ll trade shots in dueling campaign-style speeches Thursday, with each man insisting he’s better at protecting America.
The sparing partners, who are eighth cousins, have had plenty of practice at pounding each other. Obama treated Cheney like a pinata on the campaign trail last fall, while the ex-veep has taken to TV to slap around the new commander in chief over his decision to close the terror prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Obama will make the case that he must keep his promise to close Gitmo by January to restore U.S. credibility around the globe and ease potentially dangerous anti-American hatred in the Muslim world.
He’ll speak in the National Archives’ Rotunda – amid cases preserving the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights – about his plans for the remaining 241 detainees at the U.S. base in Cuba.
Cheney is expected to insist – as he has in numerous interviews since leaving office this year – that dismantling the Gitmo camps will put the nation at greater risk of a terror strike.
He’ll also likely defend the Bush administration’s tough interrogation tactics in his address to the conservative thinktank where his wife Lynn works, the American Enterprise Institute.
The clash of political titans comes as the debate over Gitmo intensified this week.
On Wednesday, FBI Director Robert Mueller raised concerns about imprisoning or releasing detainees on U.S. soil.
“The concerns we have about individuals who may support terrorism being in the United States run from concerns about providing financing to terrorists [to] radicalizing others,” Mueller told the House Judiciary Committee.
And earlier, lawmakers on Capitol Hill voted to withhold $80 million Obama requested to close Gitmo, demanding first to see a detailed plan on where the current prisoners will go.
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