WASHINGTON – Dick Cheney said Sunday that Republicans need to look to a new generation of leaders as the party deals with poor approval ratings following the government shutdown.
The former vice president said Republicans have faced challenges before and it’s healthy for the party to work to rebuild.
The GOP “got whipped” in the 2012 presidential campaign, when President Barack Obama won re-election over Mitt Romney, and the party needs to build its base of supporters and find “first-class” candidates and turn to a new generation of leaders, Cheney told ABC’s “This Week.”
“It’s not the first time we have had to go down this road and it’s basically, I think, healthy for the party to be brought up short, say, OK, now it’s time to go to work,” Cheney said.
He predicted that his daughter, Liz Cheney, would win her Senate primary challenge against Republican Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming next year. The former vice president said it was “simply not true” that he and Enzi were “fishing buddies,” and asserted that Enzi has received the vast majority of his campaign funds from Washington-based political action committees.
“Washington is not going to elect the next senator from Wyoming. The people of Wyoming will elect that senator,” Cheney said. He said his daughter’s campaign is “going full speed. She’s going to win.”
Asked to name a prominent Republican who can attract Democrats and independent voters, Cheney said he was “not going to predict or endorse anybody. We’ve got a long way to go to the next presidential election.”
On foreign policy matters, Cheney declined to weigh in on surveillance activities by the National Security Agency, saying he hadn’t been regularly briefed in five years.
He expressed skepticism that the Obama administration would be able to force Iran to comply with demands that it show its nuclear program is peaceful. Asked if military action against Iran was “inevitable,” Cheney said he had “trouble seeing how we’re going to achieve our objective short of that.”
Cheney faulted the Obama White House’s handling of Middle East politics, saying the U.S. presence in the region had been “significantly diminished” in recent years. “I think our friends no longer count on us, no longer trust us and our adversaries don’t fear us,” he said.