Full Interview: Dick Cheney on Iraq

VP: Well I have been tremendously privileged to serve as George Bush's vice president. I'd spent 23, 25 years in government when I finished my tour as Secretary of Defense and then left and went to private life and thought that I finished my political career when he invited me to join him on the ticket 8 years ago now. And I am very glad that I did, it's been a remarkable period of time its been a, say a privilege, to serve with him, I wouldn't have missed it for the world. in terms of trying to forecast forward in terms of the debate in the discussion we participated in earlier today, that is really impossible to do, I can't say that in the future Vice presidents will operate the way I have. It will term on the President and what he wants in a vice president, what he expects, it will depend upon the times in which they govern, what kind of qualities the future vice president brings to the job, sometimes vice presidents are selected for purely political reasons to help win a key state on election campaigns. Sometimes its the bind up that goes after the party, you go after who ever the nominee defeated in the primary process. Those weren't calculations that George Bush made when he picked me, he picked me because he said he wanted me to be part of his administration to be a member of the team and that's exactly what he has done, I've been the beneficiary.

ABC: Well you have been pretty successful on this trip, I'll say that normally you aren't, normally we don't hear from you very often. I think I said to you that I covered the White House two and a half years and I never really met you before. Is that really fair to the public, because you have been so powerful shouldn't you be out there answering questions more?

VP: Martha, the way that I look at it, and the reason that I am less visible in this job than say when I was Secretary of Defense, there I was out all of the time, is this is a different job. My job really here is as an advisor to the President as a counselor in effect, I don't run anything, I'm not in charge of a department or a particular policy area and for me to be out all of the time commenting on the issues of the day pontificating if you will on whets going on, to some extent infringes upon everybody else in the administration, especially with those specific people who have got specific responsibilities. So I do it rarely, I've agreed to do this today because we've done this trip that involves a certain amount of visibility and so forth and so I have done that. But its very conscience decision on my part, that the job I have had as vice president can best be done if I am not out publicly commenting on all of these issues, the question you and your colleagues in the press always asks is, 'What did you advise the President, did he support that policy, did he do what you recommended?' Those are questions that I won't answer. My value to him is the fact that we can talk privately I can tell him what I think, sometimes he agrees, sometimes he disagrees he doesn't take my advice all the time by any means. But the contribution that I make and my value to him I think is greater because he knows and everybody else knows I'm not going to be in the front pages of the paper tomorrow talking about what I advised the President on what particular issue.

ABC: You have been in the front pages of the papers this week --

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