Mary Matalin, a Republican strategist and former advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney, on Sunday dismissed newly-appointed National Security Advisor Susan Rice as President Barack Obama's "presidential pet."
New York Times White House Correspondent Peter Baker pointed out during a Fox News panel discussion that the appointment of Rice was an example of how the president had been more assertive and defiant in the face of Republican opponents.
"He didn't give her secretary of state, he gave it to John Kerry instead, in the midst of the fury over Benghazi," Baker explained. "But since then, he's said, "Okay, I'm going to put up Chuck Hagel [for defense secretary], I know you don't like him. I'm going to put up Victoria Nuland [for assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs], I know you're upset about Benghazi...' They've decided that they don't think they can work with Republicans on the Hill so he's sort of say, dare them -- in effect -- to reject people he thinks are qualified."
Fox News host Chris Wallace asked Matalin if she agreed that President Obama had chosen the right time and place to stand up to his opponents.
"This transcended political defiance," Matalin opined. "This was a face-slapping, eye-gouging, patently-political, counterproductive move."
She added: "He has an inept and undistinguished national security advisor in the White House, who has shown her toughness only in so far as proximity to her president. She's the presidential pet, which would pit her against [Secretary of State] John Kerry, who's a serious guy."
Even after he left office, Matalin has continued to be one of Vice President Dick Cheney's staunchest defenders. In 2008, she called him a "brilliant man" for effectively elevating his office into a co-presidency.