MARTHA RADDATZ: Mr. Vice President, I want to start with a speech Barack Obama gave. I doubt you've seen the entire speech, but he denounced comments by Reverend Wright, but he didn't distance himself completely. Do you think he did the right thing?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Martha, 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.
RADDATZ: But it was an important speech.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: It was an important speech, but I will let the Democrats wrestle with their own issues and problems.
RADDATZ: Do you have any problems with what Reverend Wright said, particularly about 9/11?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I do. I think -- I obviously don't agree with him.
RADDATZ: Would you denounce him completely?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I'm not going to get into speculating on it. Again, I'll leave it to the Democrats.
RADDATZ: Well, let's talk about this: You're supporting John McCain.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Correct.
RADDATZ: Would you campaign for John McCain?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: John will be, I think, the nominee of our party, and I'll do everything I can to help him.
RADDATZ: Do you think he'll want your help?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I don't have any idea at this stage.
RADDATZ: And since you're supporting a candidate, you can't talk at all about the Democratic race? Think it's too negative? Think it helps John McCain?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I will restrain my enthusiasm for the fray.
RADDATZ: Let's go to the economy. Alan Greenspan described it this way: "The current financial crisis in the U.S. is likely to be judged in retrospect as the most wrenching since the end of the Second World War. Correct?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I haven't seen the context in which Alan made his comments. I think we're a long way from being able to conclude that that's the case. We're clearly going through a rough patch here, there's no question about it. But we've had, prior to that, 52 months of uninterrupted economic growth and job creation, every single month for 52 months. Now, of course, we've got problems in the housing industry and the mortgage backed securities, and so forth, that have created problems that we're having to deal with. But I notice the stock market was up over 400 points yesterday in response to the actions that the Fed has been taking. And we've acted at -- in the executive branch and with the legislative, came together on a bipartisan basis and passed a stimulus package that will kick in here shortly, and provide a boost to the economy, we believe.
So I think we're a long way from the point where I would agree with Alan's assessment. I remember periods of time when we had interest rates around 12, 14 percent; inflation close to 20 percent; unemployment much, much higher than it is now. And that's happened on a number of occasions -- that's happened on a number of occasions since World War II. So your specific question, is this the worst since World War II, I don't believe so.
RADDATZ: You talk about it as a "rough patch." Those are the exact words the President used the other day. That seems like an understatement.