Nearly 48 hours after President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney went toe-to-toe at Hofstra University, former Vice President Dick Cheney used Thursday's Long Island Association's Fall Luncheon at the Crest Hollow Country Club to score some political points of his own.
Cheney sat down with LIA chief Kevin S. Law in front of hundreds of businesspeople, politicians and influentials, and weighed in on the economy, Obama's military policies and his own hopes for the upcoming election.
"I'm optimistic that my guy's going to win," said Cheney, who disapproved of many of Obama's policies, especially his military decisions in the Middle East. Cheney said the president made it look "like the U.S. is turning its back on the Middle East."
Cheney did, however, commend Obama on his continued use of drones, saying they turned out to be an effective system of support and that their functions had more usefully evolved.
As Cheney recalled the Bush administration's post-9/11 decisions about Iraq, Wednesday's foiled terror plot at the Federal Reserve building in Manhattan was fresh in every speaker's mind.
"Vice President Cheney is here at a very appropriate time," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, crediting Cheney with his successful anti-terror work while in the White House. "Like all the others who were arrested in the past, they were arrested before they could attempt their evil deed of terrorism … and since 9/11 there has not been another successful attack on the Unites States."
Cheney recalled his own 9/11 experience of being rushed through the depths of the White House through a tunnel to a safe room. He defended the actions of the Bush administration, saying the United States should be able to "speak with authority" on issues in the Middle East. Cheney was critical of Obama's decision not to keep a bigger presence once dictators like Libya's Muammar Gaddafi were removed from power.
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With the economy being a major factor in the upcoming election, Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, told the many local business representatives in the audience that the economy is a bipartisan issue, one Gillibrand believed Republicans and Democrats could approach in harmony.
"I do know that Democrats and Republicans can find common ground … because I've done it," she said, referring to working with Schumer and local representatives such as Rep. Peter King, R-Seaford, to pass the 9/11 health bill.
Although bipartisanship was touted, when asked whether he could compliment Obama on any of his other policies, Cheney joked, "Probably not two weeks before the election."