In what the media hyped as dueling speeches President Obama and former vice president Dick Cheney delivered back to back speeches on their view of national security yesterday in Washington,, D.C.

First up was President Obama standing in the National Archives speaking about the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and how as a young boy in a foreign land his mother made him arise early each morning to learn the truths of those documents.

Obama wove those personal vignettes into his speech as he laid blame for the torture controversy and Guantanamo squarely at the feet of the Bush administration.  He even went as far to state that “the existence of Guantanamo likely created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained.”  even though we only started to hold terrorists there after we were attacked.

The president did a masterful job of weaving a story but it was short on answers and substance.  He wants to close Guantanamo and send detainees to the U.S.  A measure that the Democratically controlled Senate rejected by a 90-6 vote the day before.

Cheney chose to wait until Obama was finished before beginning his previously scheduled speech.  It is worth noting that the White House just recently scheduled the president’s speech which ABC’s George Stephanopoulos referred to as a coincidence.  George should check with White House press secretary Robert Gibbs who admitted that they were aware of the Cheney speech.  That’s not a coincidence, that’s a pre-emptive strike!

For those of us that were waiting at the American Enterprise Institute for the former veep, it was well worth the wait.

Whereas Obama gave one of his patented soaring oratorical speeches, Cheney gave a hard hitting speech that credited Obama for reversing his decision to release incendiary photos and his Afghanistan policy but at the same time criticizing him for being so willing to compromise when it comes to terrorism. Cheney told the audience that “in the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground,” and “There is never a good time to compromise when the lives and safety of the American people are in the balance.”

If the White House thought that they were clever in scheduling the president’s speech at the same time as Cheney’s  and that it  would give them the edge in the national security debate they badly miscalculated as Cheney basically delivered the body blow to Obama’s missed punches at the Bush administration.

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