During an interview with President Obama, Harry Smith asked about recent criticism by Dick Cheney and President Bush: "Leon Panetta intimated that the former Vice President was playing politics with national security issues. The former President has intoned his own displeasure with some of your policy changes. I think they feel like some of the things that you've done, in fact, are treacherous."
Smith failed to provide any direct quote of Panetta’s comments, made during an interview for The New Yorker, in which the CIA director declared: "I think he smells some blood in the water on the national-security issue...It’s almost, a little bit, gallows politics. When you read behind it, it’s almost as if he’s wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point. I think that’s dangerous politics."
Instead of asking Obama why a member of his administration would make such an outrageous statement about a former vice president, Smith simply mentioned that Panetta accused Cheney of "playing politics with national security issues."In reference to President Bush’s comments, even Obama thought Smith’s description was unfair: "I think, if you read President Bush's remarks, I think that is – that's not a fair characterization of what President Bush said." Smith replied: "Maybe not so unfair [with] what Vice President Cheney said." Obama responded: "Well, I think, when it comes to Vice President Cheney, he and I have a deep disagreement about what's required to keep the American people safe...I would argue that our policies are making the American people safer. And that some of the policies that he's promoted in the past have not."