Obama’s transition team got the Bush-Cheney assessment on Afghanistan but they still viewed themselves as starting from “scratch,” according to Sen. Ted Kaufman, D-Del., the former Biden aide who co-chaired the Vice President’s transition team.
My colleague, ABC News' Teddy Davis got the scoop:
Sen. Ted Kaufman, D-Del., the former Biden aide, said Thursday that Bush officials “threw some kind of report” on Afghanistan policy “to the transition team as they were going out the door”.
Kaufman maintains, however, that the Obama team did not put much stock in it because it came from a Bush administration which had spent years neglecting Afghanistan while pursuing the war in Iraq.
During a Wednesday night speech blasting the Obama administration on foreign policy, former Vice President Cheney signaled his displeasure with recent remarks to CNN by Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, that part of the reason why the Afghanistan review was taking so long was because Obama was asking questions which had gone unasked in the previous administration.
“The fact that they ignored Afghanistan for years and then threw some kind of report to the transition team as they were going out the door … as the kids say, actions speak louder than words. What did they do in Afghanistan for eight years?” said Kaufman.
“So for him to come in at the end and say, ‘Well, we did it wrong for eight years. But then, in the end, we gave them a plan which really is what they should have used.’ Let me tell you something: This administration came in. Rahm Emanuel was there. I was on the transition team on this. They started from scratch on Afghanistan. They took a blank piece of paper out and said, ‘What are we going to do to get this thing done?’ … It was absolutely the perfect time to take a hard look at what we’re doing.”
Kaufman, who co-chaired Vice President Biden’s transition team, made his remarks in response to a question posed by ABC News on a Thursday conference call with reporters.
The appointed Delaware senator was joined on the call by Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I.