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Poll: The more Dick Cheney talks, the more Americans seem to like him

May 26, 2009 |  1:24 am

The more former Vice President Dick Cheney criticizes the Obama administration for drastically changing the national security policies of the Bush administration, the more popular Cheney seems to become among some Americans. Vice

Surprising to some. Even annoying. Or worse.

But a little-noticed new CNN/Opinion Research poll released the other day shows Cheney's favorable ratings have jumped by more than a quarter since last winter.

And this May poll of 1,010 adults was taken before his widely viewed speech to the American Enterprise Institute that further assaulted President Obama's policies for threatening U.S. national security. (See video below.)

The Cheney speech -- the full text is right here -- drew much more public attention and even liberal comments and denunciations than one would expect for an old conservative guy with a heart problem and bad aim hunting doves.

In fact, the speech of the has-been vice president and former representative from Wyoming was discussed on a par with the presidential address of Obama defending his own policies with the Constitution and Bill of Rights encased right near the TelePrompter. (Obama text here.)

Obama's speech got mixed reviews, coming across to some as well-staged but more of a legal seminar than Cheney's surprisingly human inside recollections of the deadly dramas we all want so hard to forget from 9/11.

Other Cheney-Obama speech items are available here and over here.

Almost as if the two cousins, Obama and Cheney, were debating as equals.

Some turnaround from that chilly Jan. 20 inauguration day. There was Cheney naturally wearing a large black hat then and slumped in a wheelchair from a back injury. Many on the left make him out to be the evil Darth Vader driving the Bush administration to do all kinds of nefarious things.

Which, of course, is silly because Darth Vader always took orders from the Emperor until the very end,  when he basically saved Luke -- and perhaps his own soul. Although he died when they took off the funny helmet.

Anyway, the CNN poll shows that, of course, George W. Bush and Cheney are still viewed...

... unfavorably by a majority of Americans (55% for Cheney, which is better though than Bush's 57%). In fact, virtually any American is viewed more favorably, not counting Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid, of course.

The political twosome of Bush-Cheney were in a genuine poll hole on leaving office, although from former President Bush's silence since then and Cheney's frequent, escalating and aggressive defense remarks, few would think the two care much about current poll numbers.

Bush's favorable ratings have risen too since Obama took office, up 6 percentage points to now stand at 41%. Cheney's favorables remain slightly behind his ex-boss but increased by more (8 percentage points) to 37% now.

CNN's polling director says he doubts Cheney's growing popularity is due to his speeches critical of the Obama administration's security policy changes. But he can't prove they aren't. And what other explanation is there? The public's fond memories of cuddly Cheney story times at daycare centers?

It'll be interesting to watch the Cheney-Bush numbers in coming months as the Obama record lengthens and begins getting compared with itself instead of that of its predecessor.

But for now, Cheney's improving numbers are kinda puzzling given the president's strong popularity and the almost daily verbal bashings by his change crowd and the congressional cabal for all the troubles they inherited stemming from things done, not done or undone during "the last eight years."

And we all know what that means.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

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