Liz Cheney finally announced a long-planned run for the U.S. Senate Tuesday. Not that there is an open seat in Wyoming.
She will be challenging someone from her own party–three-term GOP Senator Mike Enzi–a move considered divisive and unwelcome by a number of prominent Republicans. But in her six-minute video announcement, she made clear who her real opponent is: President Obama.
“The last four-and-a-half years have been particularly devastating,” said Cheney, a mother of five who moved to Wyoming a year ago from Virginia. She claimed that Obama “has launched a war on our Second Amendment rights, he’s launched a war on our religious freedom, he’s used the IRS to launch a war on our freedom of speech, and he’s used the EPA to launch a war on Wyoming’s ranchers, our farmers and our energy industry.” She also said Obama had diminished the country’s strength abroad, has held no one accountable for the consulate attack in Benghazi, and was dishonest to the American people.
“We can get our nation back on track,” said Cheney. “Instead of cutting deals with the president’s liberal allies, we should be opposing them every step of the way.”
The bid in the deep red state by the 46-year-old daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, and a former state department official during his time in office, is already threatening to divide Republicans. Enzi, 69, announced on Tuesday that he will seek a fourth term and the National Republican Senatorial Committee is backing him. Enzi sailed to re-election in 2008 with 76% of the vote. But Cheney’s national prominence and deeply conservative views could bring in large campaign donations from outside the state.
Asked by reporters about the challenge, Enzi said he was not notified of Cheney’s intentions to run. “I thought we were friends,” he said.
Ari Fleischer, the former White House Press Secretary for President George W. Bush, tweeted: “I’m a big fan of Liz Cheney. But not in this race.” She “will make an excellent Sen. One day. But divisive, internal GOP fights aren’t helpful. No need to create this one.”
Shortly after announcing her bid, Cheney was terminated as a Fox News contributor, a role held by a number of former Republican candidates, including Sarah Palin, whose bids for national elected office fell short.
Cheney has been a hero of the hard-right wing for attacking Obama, his policies and even smearing Justice Department lawyers who worked on cases related to Guantanamo.