While plugging his new book, former Vice President Dick Cheney surprised many when he came to the defense of the tea party, saying President Barack Obama is the “extremist in Washington.”
During an appearance Monday evening on Fox News’ “Hannity,” Cheney talked about his book, “Heart: An American Medical Odyssey,” and his history of heart disease that includes five heart attacks and a heart transplant.
Cheney then turned to politics, responding to the battle between establishment Republicans and the tea party.
“I’m not unsympathetic to the frustration that’s led many Americans to sign on for, or become part of, the tea party,” he told host Sean Hannity.
“I don’t think of the tea party as extremist… the extremist in Washington is Barack Obama,” Cheney said. “He’s the guy that wants to fundamentally transform our health care. He’s the guy that’s done enormous damage to America’s standing in the world.”
“To the extent there is an extremist or radical political view in Washington these days, I believe it is the president of the United States,” he concluded.
In commenting on U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and the turmoil within the GOP, Cheney said he sees this as a good thing, as long as it is happening within the party and not outside.
In an earlier interview on NBC, Cheney was asked if he considered himself a member of the tea party.
“I’m not a card-carrying member,” he said. “I don’t think there is a card, but I have respect for what the people are doing… It’s a normal, healthy reaction, and the fact that the party is having to adjust to it is positive.”