Elizabeth “Liz” Cheney

CPAC - February 18, 2010

Elizabeth “Liz” Cheney
February 18, 2010— Washington DC
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So I- I'm not going to take up much of your time, but I think it's time as we move to new generations of leadership, getting rid of folks like me for example, that- that we hear from another generation of Cheneys who … generation from a family that really has a lot to say, a lot to add, and who, like her parents, is one of us. Liz. [applause] Thank you so much. It is such an honor to be here. It's an honor to be introduced by Dave Keen, who has done so much for this country and for our movement, so thank you David very much sir … [applause] And thank you to all of you.

What a fabulous time to be a conservative. Now, it has always in my family been a good time to be a conservative, but there have been some critics, you might have noticed, and I had a good lesson back during the 2004 campaign and how to deal with criticism and critics from my daughter Kate. Kate was then ten years old, and she had a friend spend the night. The next morning we were in the kitchen, I was making breakfast, and Kate and her friend were on the floor of the kitchen working on an art project. Now, the TV was turned on and pretty soon Howard Dean, who was then running for president, showed up on the TV screen. Now it didn't take long before Howard Dean said some pretty nasty things about my dad, and I thought to myself, “should I turn it off? What should I do here?” And I decided no, I'm just going to, you know, act cool and hope the girls aren't listening. Well Kate's friend immediately paid attention and she said, “Kate, that guy is really saying nasty things about your grandpa,” and my sweet darling little girl looked up from her art project, looked at the TV, saw that it was Howard Dean, and said, “you know what? Don't worry about it, that guy’s psycho.”

Now, you all know that criticism of conservatism and predictions of our demise reached a new crescendo after the last election. All across the mainstream media, you could see so-called “experts” giving their analysis, saying conservatism was dead and Barack Obama's plans to radically change this nation were a done deal. Well I think a few weeks ago, the people of Massachusetts told those experts what they could do with their analysis. And you know the White House was spooked by that election. You could tell because the day after the results came in, you saw the president's men all over the airwaves, David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs and Rahm Emanuel, saying hey we're populous you know we're returning to our populists roots, Barack Obama's a populist.

Now, you have to admire that ambition because everybody in this room remembers that President Obama is the president who said “small town Americans are bitter and that's why they cling to guns and to God,” but now suddenly the White House tells us he's a man of the people. Good luck with that one.

In the year that President Obama has been in office, we've learned a lot, haven't we? We've learned he's not going to govern from the center. We've learned he doesn't believe in American exceptionalism and he's going to travel the world apologizing for this great nation. We've learned he's going to raise everybody's taxes. He's going to try to expand the size of the federal government until it permeates every aspect of our lives in every corner of our land. He's going to try and turn our health care system over to the federal government, and we've learned that he wants to give terrorists constitutional rights, including the right to remain silent. We've learned he wants to move dangerous terrorists from Guantanamo onto the American homeland while he investigates, and possibly prosecutes, the CIA officers who interrogated them. That is not change we can believe in, it's not changed the American people voted for, and it is time for all of us to stand up and take this country back. [applause]

Now nowhere have this president's policies cause greater concern than in the area of national security. A little over a year ago, as you all know, he said he was going to close the facility at Guantanamo Bay where we detain hard core al-Qaida terrorists. He had no plan for what to do with the terrorists, and he had no national security reason for closing the facility. So it's not a surprise that he's failed to meet his objective, but what he has done over the course of the last year, week by week, continuously is release and transfer hardened terrorists out of Guantanamo Bay. Now, if you pay attention you'll see that the White House likes to make these announcements late at night on news days where there are other things going on, hoping we won't notice. But the problem is that the terrorists currently at Guantanamo are such bad guys that most of their own home countries don't want them back. Now, President Obama, therefore, in order to keep his campaign promise has to transfer these terrorists, the worst of the worst, into America.

As we meet here today, the Obama administration is trying to appropriate over 200 million dollars to buy the facility at Thompson Illinois, the correctional facility, to hold the terrorists there. Now, this is on top of the money the US taxpayer has already spent on Guantanamo Bay. This isn't rocket science. My nine-year-old daughter Grace who is a genius if I may say so myself, asked me about this recently. She said, “Mom, is President Obama really trying to bring terrorists into the United States?” and I told her, “yes, grace. Sadly that's exactly what he's doing.” Without missing a beat, she cut right to the core of the issue and she said, and I quote, “man use your brain dude. That's totally stupid.”

But it's not only stupid, it's dangerous also, and if President Obama and Attorney General Holder don't get it, then it is time for Congress to act, and we need all of you here today to help us in this effort. Please go to my new website keepamericasafe.com join us. We've got a new petition up that tells President Obama terrorists belong in Guantanamo not in the American heartland. [applause] And while we're sending messages to President Obama today here's one more, stop apologizing for this great nation, and start defending her. [applause]

Keeping these terrorists detained is important, it's necessary, but it's not enough for us to win this war. We also have to be able to get good intelligence, and there's no question but that in the time President Obama has been in office, he's diminished our capacity to do so. Last April, you all know, he released the details of our enhanced interrogation program, a program we know saved lives and prevented attacks, but he stopped the program and he said, “don't worry, I'm going to replace it with something else. I'm going to have my National Security Council set up the high-value interrogation program, the HIG.” At about that same time last August, Attorney General Holder said he's going to start investigating and maybe prosecuting the CIA officers who kept us safe after 9/11. Well since then, guess how many al-Qaeda terrorists have been interrogated by the HIG? That's right, none. But during that same period of time, this administration has been working day in and day out investigating, questioning, and possibly prosecuting many CIA officials. [applause]

Now, one can't help but think that they don't understand who the enemy is, so let's help them out. Attorney General Holder and President Obama, the CIA officials who kept us safe after 9/11 are patriots. [applause] They deserve our thanks and our praise, and they don't deserve to be the targets of a politically motivated investigation by your Justice Department. [applause] Now the next time you hear President Obama say he's using every tool at his disposal to fight terrorists, remember this, he revealed our enhanced interrogation program to the terrorists and then he stopped paying attention. He failed to follow up for nearly a year. He couldn't be bothered to make sure that his national security council had actually established a new interrogation program, and it turns out they hadn't.