Transcript: Cheney Defends Hard Line Tactics

We clearly are involved now in a recession. We see that around us every day but I think part of that is the fallout from the financial crisis we had earlier this year and it's a global problem. It's not just the United States that's affected here. This is really both, whether we're talking about the recession or we talk about financial problems, these are global issues that are going to effect everybody worldwide and it seems to me you cannot treat this just as an isolated problem inside the United State as has often been the case in the past with our recession. This is one that's going to occur on a global basis.

KARL: You've been called the most powerful vice president in history. Help me understand how a guy who didn't even seek this job out managed to do that.

CHENEY: Well, whatever I've been able to do as vice president, it's been because that's what the president wanted me to do. And I have enjoyed very much my time as vice president, it's been a tremendous experience. It's not anything I sought as you mentioned. The president asked me to take it on and I agreed to do it and I think it was exactly the right decision from my standpoint. In terms of how I'm viewed as a powerful vice president or influential vice president, I think that's something that we'll have to leave to the historians. There are a lot of people out there with opinions and I'll let somebody else sort them out.

KARL: What do you say to those who say you've changed? I mean, you've seen friends go across, say, I don't know Dick Cheney any more. They've really known you just about as long as anybody in this town. What do you say to that?

CHENEY: Well, I – the way I think of it is in terms of whether or not I changed, I think a prime motivation for me and much of what I've done was 9/11. And being here on 9/11, going through that experience. And reaching the conclusion that somebody said the other day that I said at that point, that's not going to happen again on my watch. And we've done everything we could, the president has, I have, a lot of the people that we work with, to make certain that didn't happen.

And we've succeeded. But when you contemplate the 9/11 with terrorists instead of being armed with box cutters and airline tickets, equipped with a nuclear weapon or a biological agent of some kind in the middle of one of our cities and think about the consequences of that and then I think we're justified in taking bold action. I think it's incumbent upon us to take bold action to make certain that never happens.

And it does say we've been successful for seven and a half years now and have I changed? Well, not in the sense that I've gone through some fundamental psychological transition here but I have been since that day focused very much on what we needed to do to defend the nation and I think the policies we've recommended, the programs that we've undertaken have been good program. I think those have been sound decisions and if that's what they mean by saying I've changed, I'm guilty.

KARL: What did you think when you saw that shoe flying at the president?

CHENEY: Well, I thought the president handled it rather well. He had some good moves the way he ducked and avoided the shoe and then what was his response? That it was a size 10 and he could see that as it went by. No, I think it's an incident where an Iraqi reporter threw shoes at the president. I don't attribute any special significance to it.

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