CNN) – White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs took a slap at Dick Cheney Monday, likening the former vice president to controversial talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh. The comments came at the White House daily briefing, during which Gibbs dismissed Cheney's statement Sunday on CNN that several of President Obama's policies had left the country less safe.
"Well, I guess Rush Limbaugh was busy, so they trotted out the next most popular member of the Republican cabal," he said. "I would say that the president has made quite clear that keeping the American people safe and secure is the job — is the most serious job that he has each and every day.”
On CNN's State of The Union with John King Sunday, Cheney defended the Bush administration's policies on the handling of enemy combatants.
"I think those programs were absolutely essential to the success we enjoy, of being able to collect the intelligence that let us defeat all further attempts to launch attacks against the United States since 9/11," he said. "I think it's a great success story. It was done legally, it was done in accordance with our constitutional practices and principles…"
Gibbs later dialed back his comments, after being asked by a reporter if the sarcasm was the official White House "sanctioned tone" toward the vice president.
"Some times I ask forgiveness, rather than for permission," he said. "I hope my sarcasm didn't mask the seriousness of the answer…that for seven plus years the very perpetrators that the vice president says he's concerned about weren't brought to justice."