Cheney Admits ‘Wrong’ on Iraq

By Jordan Hultine

Jul 31, 2007 5:54pm

ABC News’ Jennifer Duck Reports: Vice President Cheney rarely admits he’s wrong.  But when asked by Larry King if he was wrong in May of 2005 when he said the insurgency was in its "last throes," Cheney responded, "I think my estimate at the time — it was wrong; it turned out to be incorrect." 

"I thought there were a series of these milestones that would in fact undermine the insurgency and make it less than it was at that point.  That clearly didn’t happen.  I think the insurgency turned out to be more robust," said Cheney in an interview that will air on CNN Tuesday night.

But Cheney doesn’t think he is wrong on the Iraq policy and a number of other issues.  King asked, "Don’t you ever say maybe I’m wrong?"  Cheney responded emphatically, "No, I think what we do is we look at it in terms of trying to decide what’s the right thing to do, and weigh the evidence." 

Cheney defended embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales whose resignation Democrats have called for following contradictions in congressional testimony over the firing of US attorneys and the Bush administration’s domestic spying program.

"Al is a good man, a good friend, in a difficult assignment," he said. 

However Cheney couldn’t recall if he sent his "good friend" Gonzales, then White House counsel, and then-White House chief of staff Andy Card to a hospital in 2004 to push the spying program on then-Attorney General John Ashcroft.  Ashcroft was in the hospital recovering from surgery after pancreatitis. 

"I don’t recall that I gave instructions to that effect," Cheney answered.  "But certainly I was involved because I was a big advocate of the Terrorist Surveillance Program, and had been responsible and working with General Hayden and George Tenet to get it to the President for approval.  By the time this occurred, it had already been approved about 12 times by the Department of Justice.  There was nothing new about it."

The Vice President also voiced support for his former aide Eric Edelman who is now undersecretary of defense.  Edelman was recently criticized over a spat with Presidential hopeful  Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., who requested detailed contingency plans for withdrawing troops if Congress were forced to end the war.  In a letter to Clinton, Edelman said she was reinforcing "enemy propaganda" by asking for pullout plans. 

"I agreed with the letter Eric Edelman wrote," Cheney said. "I thought it was a good letter."

Cheney wouldn’t speculate on whether the President will eventually pardon I. Lewis Scooter Libby, another former aide to the Vice President.

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