LAKE BUENA VISTA -- For Republicans trying to cast themselves as the party of the future, their choice to headline their annual fundraising gala Thursday night seemed a lot more like a nod to the past.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney, 74, gave more than 1,000 Republicans gathered at Disney World a grim assessment of the threats facing America and a blistering attack on the record of President Barack Obama.
“My impression is that Obama's eager to get out of town. I'm eager to have him get out of town,” Cheney said. “It's extraordinarily important that the Republican Party reclaim the reputation that we've had for most of my life — that we are the go-to guys on national security and defense.”
Cheney, a divisive figure even with members of his party, happens to be one of the main reasons why the GOP lost the trust of many voters on foreign policy and national defense. A leading force behind President George W. Bush's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he left office in 2009 with only 13 percent of the American people having a favorable opinion of him.
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam introduced him as “easily the most consequential leader in the modern Republican Party and certainly the most consequential vice president in the history of our country.”
But even among the avid Republicans gathered in Orlando for Thursday's Statesman's Dinner and a two-day presidential candidate summit starting Friday, audience members found Cheney a less-than-ideal standard-bearer to put forth.