'This Week' Transcript: Former Vice President Dick Cheney

CHENEY: I haven't made a decision yet on who I'm going to support for president the next time around. Whoever it is, is going to have to prove themselves capable of being president of the United States. And those tests will -- will come during the course of campaigns, obviously. I think -- well, I think all the prospective candidates out there have got a lot of work to do if, in fact, they're going to persuade a majority of Americans that they're ready to take on the world's toughest job.

KARL: OK, "don't ask/don't tell" -- you're a former defense secretary -- should this policy be repealed?

CHENEY: Twenty years ago, the military were strong advocates of "don't ask/don't tell," when I was secretary of defense. I think things have changed significantly since then. I see that Don Mullen -- or Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has indicated his belief that we ought to support a change in the policy. So I think -- my guess is the policy will be changed.

KARL: And do you think that's a good thing? I mean, is it time to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military?

CHENEY: I think the society has moved on. I think it's partly a generational question. I say, I'm reluctant to second-guess the military in this regard, because they're the ones that have got to make the judgment about how these policies affect the military capability of our -- of our units, and that first requirement that you have to look at all the time is whether or not they're still capable of achieving their mission, and does the policy change, i.e., putting gays in the force, affect their ability to perform their mission?

When the chiefs come forward and say, "We think we can do it," then it strikes me that it's -- it's time to reconsider the policy. And I think Admiral Mullen said that.

KARL: And, finally, I know that you have a reunion coming up later this month with President Bush. This'll be the first time you've seen him since leaving office, face to face?

CHENEY: Pretty much, yes. We talk on the telephone periodically, but the first time I've seen him since January 20th.

KARL: What does he think of you being so outspoken in contrast to him?

CHENEY: Well, I don't think he's opposed to it, by any means. I'd be inclined to let him speak for himself about it. The reason I've been outspoken is because there were some things being said, especially after we left office, about prosecuting CIA personnel that had carried out our counterterrorism policy or disbarring lawyers in the Justice Department who had -- had helped us put those policies together, and I was deeply offended by that, and I thought it was important that some senior person in the administration stand up and defend those people who'd done what we asked them to do.

And that's why I got started on it. I'm the vice president now -- ex-vice president. I have the great freedom and luxury of speaking out, saying what I -- what I want to say, what I believe. And I have not been discouraged from doing so.

KARL: And that includes writing a book?

CHENEY: Writing a book, that's correct.

KARL: Can you give us -- before you go -- a quick nugget that's going to be in the book, give us the title, give us something going?

CHENEY: Have me back about a year from now, and I'll have a copy of the book for you, John.

KARL: OK, it's deal.

CHENEY: All right.

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