Dick Cheney on 'This Week'

Former Vice President Dick Cheney discusses the latest spying revelations and GOP politics.
3:00 | 10/27/13

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Transcript for Dick Cheney on 'This Week'
So, we just heard secretary clinton right there. It's important to go up to the line, not over the line, did this program go over the line? George, I wouldn't -- it's been five years since I was involved in classified information and I wouldn't want to discuss it, anything that i was involved in or that I have knowledge of in the past. That would be totally inappropriate for me. Can you tell me generally if this program was valuable or not? I can say that the capability of the united states government on a broad basis, to collect intelligence that's important to the united states, saving lives, et cetera, it's nothing new without talking about specific details, which I'm not. Or specific targets. It's something that we have been involved in a long time. I think that the unfortunate aspect of it is, mr. Snowden has in fact divulge a lot of information that's damaging to the united states. And once that information is revealed, are we at the point now where the program is creating more harm than benefit. I can't say that. Again, george, I have been out of the loop, so to speak, all i know is what I read in the newspapers and hear you guys talk about on sunday. So, I'm not current on the current status on the program. I was when I was in the white house and also when I was secretary of defense, a consumer of intelligence from all around the world and it was important that we collected and -- bottom line, without revealing details of the classified information, I'm not talking about a specific program, I'm talking about our overall intelligence capabilities are important to the security of this nation and need to preserve. We're also facing critical negotiations right now with iran over their nuclear program, you were deeply involved with that, and there's about to be a showdown with congress over that. Congress is prepared to vote. On more sanctions, tougher sanctions for iran. Wendy sherman came out this weekend and said she wants a pause in sanctions. We think that this is a time for pause. To see if these negotiations can gain traction. Congress has its prerogative. We can't control congress. How would you advise congress to respond? I think -- I don't have a lot of confidence in the administration to be able to negotiate an agreement. I think sanctions offer some prospect of bringing the iranians around. I talked to my friends in that part of that region. They're very fearful that the whole iranian exercise is going to go the same way as the syrian exercise. But right now, what we're seeing today in syria is the chemical weapons are being cataloged. The inspectors are in there finding out, putting a stop to the program. Well, we'll see. I'm a skeptic like a lot of other people are and I know that our friends in the region are worried. If you look at the piece, there's a front-page story on "the new york times" today, a review of middle east policy and quote, continue to pivot to asia. One of the things they're doing is backing down from the so-called democracy agenda propagated by president bush in your administration. But you weren't it seemed a big fan of that, do you think it's right to scale it back? Well, I think the u.S. Presence in the middle east was enormously important going back before desert storm. I think that presence and that credibility and that influence has been significantly diminished. As we have withdrawn from the region. I think our friends no longer count on us, no longer trust us and our adversaries don't fear us. That was sort of the cornerstone of the u.S. To influence. If we're not heavily involved there, if we turn our back on the region, if we have a president that believes we overreacted to the terrorism attacks on 9/11, I think the saudis, the egyptians, many in that part of the world no longer have confidence in the united states. Did you think your administration should have taken military action against iran's nuclear program? I thought that it would be important if we took out the syrian reactor it would send an important signal to the iranian program. If we had taken out the syrian reactor the way the israelis did and they wanted us to do it, we would have sent a clear signal about proliferation. We would have given substance to our diplomacy. Iranians would have to look at it and say these guys are serious about it and they mean business. We would be much more effective goernting today with syrians. Is military action against iran inevitable? I have trouble seeing how we're going to achieve our objective short of that. And I doubt very much that the diplomacy will be effective if there is not the prospect that if diplomacy fails that we'll resort to military force. Let's turn to politics. Lot of debate of what it's going to take for the republicans to win back the white house. Our poll shows how deep the hole is for republicans. Worst numbers in a generation. On the screen right now, americans were asked, who's doing what's best for the country? Only 20% believe republicans doing what's best for the country. 52% for president obama. The brand is at its lowest numbers ever in polling. Does that worry you? I know you didn't worry about your personal poll numbers. But for the party, does that worry you? And how should they fix it? I think we have a long way to go to rebuild the party. I think it's very important that we bring in a new generation of leadership. I think after the presidential election last year, you know, we got whipped. A lot of us thought we were going to pull it out. That didn't happen. We need to spend time and effort to build the party. Making it a full-time operation of the rnc. There's a lot of work to be done. Part of thanew generation, your daughter liz running for senate in wyoming. Has rankled a lot of feathers. Most of the republican senators supporting the incumbent mike enzi. He himself said this week, he felt blindsided by your whole family. He said he thought you were a friend. The fact of the matter is, washington is not going to elect the next senator from wyoming. The people of wyoming will elect their senator. Mike has a record, if you go back and review his finances, he gets 84% of his company funding from washington-based pacs. He doesn't get much money from wyoming. Liz outraised him in the last quarter. Over a million dollars in the first quarter. I think it's a great campaign. She's going full speed. She's going to win and washington isn't going to decide who's the next senator from wyoming. Wyoming is. She's far behind right now? Just started. You also have said that your daughter and others represent this new generation, that's going to energize the base, is that the problem? Presidents you worked out were pretty good at reaching beyond the base persuading republicans to vote for them. We need to do it all. You can't say, well, we're going to write off that group or write off that segment. We've got to have first-class candidates. I think we're making progress. They're trying to move up the convention date, shorten the primary time. Do you see anybody out there who can bring back some democrats to the republican party? I think so. I'm not going to endorse anybody. We have a long way to go to the next presidential election. But we have been there before. It's not the first time we have had to go down this road and i, basically, I think, it's healthy for the party to be brought up short, say, okay, now's the time to go to work and we got to look at your basic strategy and personnel. It's time to get a new generation involved. You're looking healthy.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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