Exclusive: Cheney Cites 'Major Success' in Iraq, Says U.S. Has Hit 'Rough Patch'

"It is hard. It has been difficult. No question it's been costly, in terms of treasure and life but it's worth it. And we are going to get it right," Cheney said.

Economy's 'Rough Patch'

Cheney also touched on the current state of the economy, admitting, "We're clearly going through a rough patch." But the Bush administration has not said the United States is experiencing a recession.

Cheney said that the downturn can be blamed in part on natural economic cycles, pushing back on the idea that any one of the administration's specific policies were responsible for it.

"We've had, prior to that, 52 months of uninterrupted economic growth," he said. "Now, of course, we've got problems in the housing industry, mortgage-backed securities and so forth that have created problems that we're having to deal with."

Taking Stock of '08

Supporting Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in November, Cheney said he'd do everything he could to help the Arizona senator but held back his thoughts on the Democratic race.

Asked about Sen. Barack Obama's speech on race, Cheney said, "One of the things I've avoided so far is getting in the middle of the Democratic presidential primary process. And I think I'll stay there."

Cheney said he had no reaction to American troops who support Obama's position on withdrawing from Iraq voting for the Illinois senator.

"They're a broad cross section of America. I think they've overwhelmingly supported the mission. Every single one of them is a volunteer," Cheney said.

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