September 20th, 2011

Former Vice President Dick Cheney talks to CNN’s John King

CNN’s John King sat down with former Vice President Dick Cheney to discuss a wide range of issues from the evolution of the Republican Party to regrets the vice president may have. Two highlights from the interview are after the jump and a full transcript of the program will be posted at

Please credit all usage of the interview to CNN’s John King

ADDITIONAL VIDEO –  Former Vice President Dick Cheney talks with with CNN’s John King about what he calls “flawed intelligence.”
Highlight from Interview

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR:  Let me close on that point.  You wrote the book, and as you know, there have been some scathing reviews, some people saying why doesn’t’ Dick Cheney say I regret this or why doesn’t Dick Cheney say I got this wrong.  Reflect on that as you close.
And as you do, I read this part, somebody who keeps notes from my mother who I lost a long time ago, and I was struck by this.  This is after the Ford loss, your mother sent you this note and you say you kept it in a frame for years.  Quote, “It’s hard to put down what I feel, much love, much pride, and I know you will come out of this knowing that you did your best.”

You put that early in the book about an early moment in your career.  Could you put it at the end of the book?

DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh, I think so, yes.  That obviously is a judgment I cared a lot about.  My mother, she’s been gone now for many years, but I’ve still got that letter and I like to think she’d approve of the later stages of my career.

She died shortly after I left the Defense Department, so she never knew I got to be a vice president, but she would have loved it.

KING:  And to those who have seen the interviews since the book came out and they’re saying where’s the apology, where’s the regret, where’s the this — ?

CHENEY:  They probably didn’t agree with me when I was in office.  And this certain group that don’t think you’ve written a book until you’ve apologized for whatever it is they disagreed with you that you did, I don’t worry about that

Highlight from Interview

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR You said something in a recent interview, that you thought the current secretary of state, the former senator from New York, Hillary Clinton, to be the strongest Democratic candidate, not for vice president, for president in 2012.  Her husband, who has a little experience at this, the former president, said that he has high regard for your political skills, but he thinks you’re trying to, quote, “cause a little trouble.”

You trying to cause a little trouble?

DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, he didn’t turn down the opportunity to accept my suggestion that Hillary ought to run.  I —

KING:  I think it’s pretty clear she’s not going to.

CHENEY:  I said it tongue in cheek, and I think he could tell that.  But I — I just think the Democrats ought to have as much fun on their side as we are on ours.

KING:  Do you accept any responsibility for the birth of the Tea Party in the sense that if you talk to Tea Party voters, they would say the Obama stimulus plan and the Obama health care plan, that that was the last — those were the last straws.  That got them thinking government has too much power in Washington, we want to return it to the states.

But if you have an extended conversation with most Tea Party voters, they would say deficit spending in what was supposed to be a conservative administration, the Bush-Cheney administration, and then the bailouts, the government getting directly involved at the end, that that, for them, said whoa, this is not what we bought.

Are you, in part, a father of the Tea Party?

CHENEY:  Well, nobody’s ever accused me of that.

I did support the TARP program, and I did because the federal government is the only entity in our society that is in a position to maintain the viability of our currency and the functioning, if you will, of our — of our financial system.  Without that financial system, everything else falls apart.

When we get into the area of individual industries, the automobile industry or whatever particular product we want to talk about, that’s a separate proposition.  I think the markets ought to work there and the government shouldn’t be in the business of trying to make choices or play favorites.

But when it comes to the basic fundamental functions of the Federal Reserve Board, the Treasury and the overall health of our financial system and our banking system, only the federal government can maintain the viability of those — those institutions, and it’s absolutely essential we do it.

If we hadn’t done what we did with TARP, I think we’d have been in big, big trouble, much worse than we are.

KING:  And so when a Tea Party voter railed against that, is it just they don’t understand, they don’t understand the complexity of it, they don’t understand that moment?

CHENEY:  Well, they don’t agree with me. That’s their prerogative.