What does the future vice president really think about Vice President Dick Cheney?
In our exclusive interview for "This Week" — VP-Elect Joe Biden didn’t mince words about his predecessor.
"I don’t agree with the vice president," Biden said, "I think the recommendations, the advice that he has given to President Bush — and maybe advice the president already had decided on before he got it — I’m not making that judgment — has been not healthy for our foreign policy, not healthy for our national security, and it has not been consistent with our Constitution, in my view."
"His notion of a unitary executive, meaning that, in time of war, essentially all power, you know, goes to the executive, I think is dead wrong. I think it was mistaken," Biden said.
"I think that it caused this administration in adopting that notion to overstep its constitutional bounds, but at a minimum to weaken our standing the world and weaken our security. I stand by that, that judgment," Biden said.
"He still thinks we should have gone into Iraq, knowing exactly what we knew and the way we did," Biden said, He also stands by the fact that we still should keep Guantanamo Bay open and so on. So — so we have fundamentally different view."
Biden refuted Cheney’s recent comments that the more people learn about the threats facing the nation and read the intelligence reports, the more they will come around to the Bush administration’s point of view on their counterterrorist policies.
"As chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, unless they were lying to me all along, I knew the details of the threat. I was one of those four people that had access to all that information, excuse me, one of those eight people the — that had access to that information," Biden said.
"Secondly, I have been getting what they call that presidential briefing you get every morning from the intelligence community since the day we have been — since the day we were elected, not sworn in. I have learned nothing thus far that would change my view."
Nothing? I asked him.
"Nothing thus far that would change my fundamental view that Guantanamo should close, number one, that, number two, the way in which we have conducted our policy, in terms of both surveillance as well as the detainees, has hurt our reputation around the world.
And to quote from a previous national security report put out by the — the intelligence community, we have — we have created, not dissuaded, more terrorists as a consequence of this policy. Nothing I’ve learned thus far has changed my fundamental view on the constitutional as well as the practical positions we should take relative to the issues of torture and others," he said.