Transcript: Cheney Defends Hard Line Tactics

KARL: I don't know if you saw, but on Sunday, John McCain said that the national security team that has been established by President-elect Obama -- Clinton, James Jones, Robert Gates -- this is a team that he could have assembled. How do you assess this incoming team?

CHENEY: Well, I must say, I think it's a pretty good team. I'm not close to Barack Obama, obviously, nor am I a -- do I identify with him politically. He's a liberal. I'm a conservative. But I think the idea of keeping Gates at Defense is excellent. I think Jim Jones will be very, very effective as the national security adviser. And while I would not have hired Senator Clinton, I think she's tough, she's smart, she works very hard and she may turn out to be just what President Obama needs.

KARL: Should he keep the intelligence chiefs as well?

CHENEY: I don't want to get into the business of encouraging them on one course of another. It could be the kiss of death. He's already made his judgments about Jones and Gates and as I say, I think they're both very talented people and they'll do well. For me to get into the business of commenting on individuals where decisions have not yet been made, frankly, I think that would not be fair to them in that process.

KARL: So it was reported that when you went up to lunch for the Republicans shortly before the auto bailout vote that you said if the auto companies go down it will be Hoover time. Do you believe that to be true?

CHENEY: Well, that's not quite what I said. This was a report that came out of a meeting where we did discuss the subject. What I said basically was that a crisis in the auto industry could not have come at a worse time because we were in the midst of a major financial crisis, we're on the downside of what may be the worst recession since the end of World War II and we're in the middle of a presidential transition.

President Bush to the Obama administration and under those circumstances were the automobile industry be allowed to collapse or at least the American portion of it I thought would be extremely unfortunate and that we needed to do everything we could to prevent that. That's sort of the basic picture I made. I did make a reference to Herbert Hoover but I can't recall the exact words for it.

KARL: But if the government doesn't act to save these companies, to give them a lifeline, do we risk headed to Hoover time?

CHENEY: Well, not so much in terms of the time but I would be concerned if under these circumstances we did not as an administration, and we still have major responsibilities for another month, if we didn't do everything we could to avoid those consequences and it would have a lasting impact, if you will, on how we're perceived

KARL: What do you think when you hear the Democrats talk about a stimulus plan of a trillion dollars?

CHENEY: Well, it depends on what goes into it. I'm not sure it's needed or necessary. It's not clear to me that it would have any short term effect. That doesn't mean there aren't things that could be done on some of these longer term projects but I think caution is in order here and to date I have not seen the proposals, I have not seen the arguments for why this is appropriate or why it would be good economic policy at this time.

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