[UPDATE] Welcome, Instapundit readers.
But debating Dick Cheney on terrorism? The Obama White House says it’s happy to do that anytime, as it did with Sunday’s split-screen standoff between Cheney and Vice President Joe Biden.
The dueling appearances, along with what is a clear administration strategy to play up its newly aggressive approach in Afghanistan, show a White House determined to project a posture of strength on national security and trying to gain the upper hand with Republicans who wish to portray Obama as weak.
“We have never engaged in chest-beating on what we’re doing on terrorism,” said a White House official, who was pleased by how the interviews had played out. “But this dynamic where we’re responding to criticism from the former vice president gave us the opportunity to explain what we’re doing, without just going out and talking tough.”
Except that what they didn’t do was debate Cheney. They whined about him. And then they bragged about whining about him. Anonymously. Joe Biden wouldn’t actually dare go face-to-face with Dick Cheney on this issue. Heck, he won’t dare go face-to-face with Scott Brown. And don’t get me wrong: that might even be smart strategy on Biden’s, or the White House’s, part. But this isn’t September 2008: the Democrats aren’t able to have it both ways quite this comprehensively anymore…