He's at it again. Former Vice President Dick Cheney is once more stirring the pot on national security issues, this time on North Korea.
"We're in deep doo doo," Cheney told House Republicans in analyzing the current confrontation with the Pyongyang regime, according to CNN.
Using that phrase in a private meeting Tuesday was a strange moment for Cheney, who is usually more careful in his choice of words. President George H.W. Bush, for whom Cheney served as secretary of defense, was in the habit of using that phrase as a euphemism for political trouble, and he was derided for his inartful language.
Cheney apparently was suggesting that the North Korean regime is unpredictable and dangerous, and that the U.S. could easily miscalculate.
The former vice president recently told the Republican Party of Wyoming (a state he served as a GOP congressman) that President Obama was weakening national security by trying to cut the military budget and by making "dismal" and "second-rate" choices for his national security team. Cheney was apparently referring to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry.
But Democrats were quick to defend Obama.
Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg told me that Americans think Obama is handling the North Korea situation well, balancing tough talk with measured responses. What Americans want most from their commander in chief in the current situation, in which North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un is threatening a nuclear war, is toughness, good judgment and a refusal to overreact, and so far that's what President Obama has been delivering, Greenberg says.
During his eight years as vice president under President George W. Bush, Cheney was an extremely influential adviser and one of the most hawkish officials in government.
Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com, and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and followed on Facebook and Twitter.