Newsweek journalist Dan Stone appeared on MSNBC’s News Live, Monday, to offer a bizarre complaint about Dick Cheney’s new memoir. He lamented, “This book is very focused on rehashing. It’s very based on the past, from what I can tell.”
Responding to a question about whether the book could cause problems for Obama, the White House correspondent added, “Not many people are taking it to look forward.” Of course, it would be hard to write a memoir on one’s life and not look backward. [MP3 audio here.]
Stone parroted the anti-Cheney sentiments that have arisen from the release of In My Time. After host Veronica De La Cruz played a clip of Colin Powell deriding the book as something a “gossip columnist” would approve, Stone agreed, “[Powell] was right.”
Referring to the ex-Vice President’s promotion of the book as one that will make “heads explode,” Stone proclaimed, “That very much was a tabloid thing to say.”
The Newsweek reporter offered the White House’s reaction to Cheney’s contention that the Bush administration played a role in the effort to kill Osama bin Laden: “They see it here as a vindication effort to save face and rationalize a lot of the terror activities that the Bush administration took, much of its term.”
Regarding the rift between Powell and Cheney, Stone seemed to accept the idea that this was unique and very different from any such disagreements in the Obama White House: “And every White House, the Obama White House would tell you as well, there’s always disagreements. You know, there’s always these small spats…” But, he indicated, these didn’t match-up with the Bush fights.
A transcript of the August 29 segment, which aired at 11:24am EDT, follows:
VERONICA DE LA CRUZ: Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s memoir hits store shelves tomorrow, but, it is already angering many of Washington’s elite. One of the most controversial elements of the book is the idea that the Bush administration deserves much of the credit for the capture of Osama bin Laden. Here’s a clip of his exclusive interview with NBC’s Jamie Gangel.
DICK CHENEY: I really thought it was a culmination of ten years of effort by a lot of very talented, capable and dedicated people and I gave President Obama credit for having sent the Seal Team Six team six in to capture and kill bin Laden.
GANGEL: Were you bitter at all- Was it bittersweet or were you disappointed it hadn’t happened on your watch?
CHENEY: Well, we would have liked to have succeeded, but I think we laid the ground work for what ultimately happened.
DE LA CRUZ: Dan Stone is the White House correspondent for Newsweek magazine and contributor for the Daily Beast. He joins us now live from the White House. Uh, Dan, thanks for joining us.
DAN STONE: Sure.
DE LA CRUZ: So Cheney has been hyping this impact that the memoir is going to have. He has been saying that heads are going to explode. Do you think that this book will have that type of impact?
STONE: We have seen a lot of hurricane damage around Washington but certainly no heads exploding around town. That claim, that specific one you played of the Bush administration and specifically him deserving some credit for the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden, is what has gotten most of the attention here at the White House and on Capitol Hill. A lot of dismissing that attitude and saying, you know, this is something you tried for many years and couldn’t seal the deal. Now, we can- they see it here as a vindication effort to save face and rationalize a lot of the terror activities that the Bush administration took, much of its term.
DE LA CRUZ: Still, there is lots of criticism. Former secretary of state Colin Powell, just one of the voices criticizing him. He accused Cheney of taking cheap shots in his book. He thought the tone overall was misguided. Take a listen to this.
COLIN POWELL: In fact, the kind of headline I would expect to come out of a gossip columnist or the kind of headline you might see one of the supermarket tabloids write. It is not the kind of headline I would expect to come from a former Vice President of the United States of America.
DE LA CRUZ: Hmm. What do you think of that?
STONE: He was right. That very much was a tabloid thing to say. It has many members of his own party not very impressed, like we saw with General Powell. You know, he, he showed with this book and this media tour he’s doing, a portrait of the Bush White House that not many of us got to see of a lot of conniving. And every White House, the Obama White House would tell you as well, there’s always disagreements. You know, there’s always these small spats, but we see between General Powell, certainly Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, these major players in the administration, that certainly don’t even have positive feelings for each other, even all these years after leaving office.
DE LA CRUZ: But, let’s go back and talk a second, Dan about the impact this book is going to have, about the timing of its release, because it does come at a moment where the President is seeing his lowest approval rating.
STONE: Absolutely. And that’s a concern for the White House. Of course, they are very focused on the economy at the moment. This book is, is very focused on rehashing. It’s very based on the past, from what I can tell. Not many people are taking it to look forward. But, the White House is certainly trying to gain the upper ground over this sniping and conniving among Republicans and Bush White House officials, to say, “This is a new day. We ran on change and hope. You know, “our officials are not behaving like this.”
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.