McCain dodges when asked if Cheney is ‘helping or hurting’ the GOP.

Yesterday on CBS’ Face the Nation, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) — a frequent face on the Sunday show circuit — joined conservatives George Will and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in denouncing former Vice President Cheney’s recent statement that President Obama is “dithering” on Afghanistan. “I wouldn’t use that language,” McCain said. But later in the segment, host Bob Schieffer asked if Cheney is “helping or hurting” the Republican Party with such comments. While noting that the former Vice President has the right to speak out, McCain dodged the question:

McCAIN: I think we should as much as possible say — and our message is, we want this strategy and we want to support the president and unite the country behind it. Let’s face it. The president, when he makes his decision — and again, I believe that he will — will have trouble with the base of his own party. And so the more united we can be behind him, I think the more the chances are of success and American public support.

“I don’t believe I heard you say whether you thought that was helpful or unhelpful,” Schieffer noted. “I don’t know. I would leave that to others to judge, really,” McCain again dodged. Watch it:


On ABC’s This Week, Center for American Progress President and CEO John Podesta said, “I think if Cheney is the voice of the opposition, that’s fine. I think he has the least credibility. Almost every strategic piece of advice he gave the president was wrong. I think President Bush stopped listening to him by the end of the administration. So if that’s what the Republican Party has decided — that they want to have him as their most outspoken critic of the administration — I think President Obama ought to welcome that.”