Is Cheney trashing Obama? Card says no.

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    Former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card says Dick Cheney's recent criticism of President Obama's policies is acceptable because they aren't personal attacks. "Dick Cheney has very strong opinions on protecting the country and I think it is appropriate for him to be out there talking about that."
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Every time Dick Cheney opens his mouth, he receives a barrage of criticism for speaking up.

And he's receiving a lot of it for his candid assessment of President Obama's decision to release Justice Department memos discussing controversial interrogation tactics.

Take Steve Murphy for example, a little known Democratic operative who appeared on FOX News earlier today. He said the former vice president should pipe down.

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"Dick Cheney is not trying to pursue what's best for the United States of America," Murphy said. "Just as he's done year after year, he's pursuing what he thinks is best for Dick Cheney. He ought to show a little class and shut up."

Outspoken

Former Republican Congressman and current MSNBC host Jim Scarborough wasn't nearly as bristly as Murphy, but he also wondered aloud this morning if Cheney should be as outspoken as he is.

Scarborough, on his morning TV program "Morning Joe", told former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card that he admired President George W. Bush for refraining thus far from public discourse on what's happening in the Obama administration.

"President Bush has done what I like ex-presidents to do," Scarborough said. "He kept his head down ... he stayed out of the way, he said I'm going to let [the president govern]."

Cheney

But he couldn't say the same thing for Cheney. Scarborough asked Card if he thought the former veep should quit talking.

"Dick Cheney has very strong opinions on protecting the country,'' Card said. "And I think it is appropriate for him to be out there talking about that."

"I don't think it's appropriate for him to be criticizing a president," he continued. "I think instead calling attention to the challenges of protecting the country and suggesting options that should be considered [is OK]."

Cheney

So what's Cheney doing? Criticizing the president or suggesting options?

"Well, he was criticizing the policies, not the president," Card said.

What's the difference?

"Taking personal shots" should be off-limits, Card explained. But there's no harm in voicing an opposing position on a policy the president pursues.

Chris Matthews

Card's old Massachusetts pal Chris Matthews appeared on the show as well and didn't seem to agree with Card's assessment.

"He's made us weaker, but he's not a bad guy," Matthews said of Cheney's criticism.

Less safe now?

To that, Scarborough asked Card if he believed Obama's policies have made the US less safe.

"I think some of his policies don't allow people who have to do the job of protecting us do the job," Card said. "I wish he had listened a little more intently to the CIA directors -- current and former -- that suggested how to go about ... getting information from bad guys to better protect the country."

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