Former Vice President Dick Cheney. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
David Jackson, USA TODAY
Dick Cheney is still around, and still ripping President Obama's national security policies.
The former Republican vice president, speaking Saturday in his home state of Wyoming, focused on the administration's new national security team, saying: "The performance now of Barack Obama as he staffs up the national security team for the second term is dismal."
Speaking nearly a year after his heart transplant, Cheney said Obama has appointed "second rate people" to major jobs.
Cheney zeroed in on Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska. He said Obama "wants to have a Republican that he can use to take the heat for what he plans to do to the Department of Defense."
Planned Pentagon cuts will limit the military's ability to respond to world crises, Cheney said, both now and in the future.
Obama "is today ... establishing what limitations will be on future presidents," Cheney said.
Obama's new Secretary of State is former U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who lost the 2004 presidential election to incumbent George W. Bush and running mate Cheney.
Obama allies dismissed Cheney's criticism, noting that his aggressiveness led to the war in Iraq and alienation of long-time U.S. allies.
Speaking on ABC's This Week, Obama 2012 campaign deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said: "I think the worst thing that we could do right now is take Dick Cheney's advice on foreign policy."