FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY SAYS THE USE OF DRONES IS "A GOOD PROGRAM” – ON "CBS THIS MORNING"
CHENEY TELLS CHARLIE ROSE OF PRESIDENT OBAMA’S NATIONAL SECURITY STANCE: “I THINK THE ADMINISTRATION’S POLICIES ARE TERRIBLY FLAWED”
Former Vice President Dick Cheney tells Co-Host Charlie Rose that he thinks the use of drones is “a good program” though he believes the Obama Administration’s national security policies are “terribly flawed,” in an interview that was broadcast today, Feb. 13, on CBS THIS MORNING (7:00-9:00 AM) on the CBS Television Network.
In a wide-ranging interview, Cheney discussed President Obama’s foreign policy, the use of enhanced interrogation tactics and his relationship with former President George W. Bush.
Below are excerpts from the interview.
[CHENEY DISCUSSES THE USE OF DRONES]
CHENEY: I think it's a good program. And I don't disagree with the basic policy that the Obama administration has pursued in that regard.
ROSE: So therefore the idea of taking out— in Yemen, an American citizen who had threatened America—was just fine with Dick Cheney—
ROSE: By a drone attack, without any kind of—
CHENEY: He was, he was clearly part of, about, you know—
ROSE: What should there be, checks and balances, in terms of that?
CHENEY: No, I think when we hire the President of the United States—he gets to live in the big house, makes all that money. He is getting paid to make difficult, difficult decisions.
ROSE: You talked about the Obama's team was second-rate. What did you mean?
CHENEY: Well, I think I'm very, very concerned about what I see happening, Charlie, in the national security arena. I think the administration's policies are terribly flawed. I think the President's performance, by my standards, in the international arena, the Middle East and so forth, is worse than many of my friends and colleagues deem his domestic policies.
[ON PRESIDENT OBAMA’S LEADERSHIP AND FOREIGN POLICY]
CHENEY: If you're going to be the leader, if you're going to make those difficult decisions, if you're going to be the sort of the court of last resort of dealing with—the proliferation of nuclear weapons, for example—then you're going to take some heat. There're going to be people who fundamentally disagree with us. That's okay. There's nothing wrong with that. But it is very important that they respect us.
[ON WATERBOARDING AND "ENHANCED INTERROGATION"]
ROSE: To this day, you have no regret about the use of waterboarding—of enhanced interrogation?
CHENEY: I didn't have any. Absolutely not.
ROSE: So you think waterboarding today ought to be part of the toolbox of things you use when American national security is at stake?
ROSE: So if, in fact, in a circumstance like that, there are few limits as to what you can do?
ROSE: But that essentially was this idea?
CHENEY: What happened on 9/11 was instead of treating terrorist attacks as a law enforcement problem, which is what we'd done up to that point, all of a sudden we've got 3,000 dead Americans, and it was our job to make certain it didn't happen again.
[CHENEY ON HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH GEORGE W. BUSH]
ROSE: Someone said to me about your relationship with President Bush 43. Cordial? Friendly?
CHENEY: Yes, yeah.
ROSE: But distant?
CHENEY: Well, we're—it was mostly a professional relationship, is the way I would describe it. I didn't play golf. He played golf. And, so we—you know, we still talk frequently on the telephone.
ROSE: There's a conception, and I'm asking this, you know, that in the second term you were less influential, leading up finally to the disagreement over Scooter Libby. Is that a fair statement?
CHENEY: Well, I think the—I probably had more influence in the first term. I think my experience was more relevant in the first term. By the second term, obviously, he had put in his time.
I offered at midterm, halfway through, to step down if he wanted to get somebody else. I always believed the President ought to have that ability. I went to him three times and said, you know, "Mr. President, you need to know, if you want to make a change here, if you think you can get somebody who can do good work for you or if I'm carrying too much baggage. You know, I'm not going to stand in your way. I'm out of here." First two times he didn't really take me seriously. Third time he did. He went away and thought about it for a couple days. And came back and said, "No, Dick, you're my guy."
[WEB EXTRA ON HIS HEALTH]
ROSE: Someone said to me that you're a new man, but that you remind them of the old Dick Cheney. That you're mellow. That you're less strident. You feel that? Do you know what they're talking about?
CHENEY: Well, my family's accused me of becoming downright chatty (LAUGH) on occasion. I don't sense a difference in that, that I'm a different personality. A lot of people want to ask, you know, "Did your heart change your political views?"
ROSE: Political views. They say temperament.
CHENEY: Temperament, yeah. I wake up every morning with a smile on my face in anticipation of a day I never expected to see. So that, you know, that I assume that has an impact—not so much in terms of how other people look at me, but it's another way of saying it is after you've been through what I've been through with a heart, you don't sweat the little stuff, you know? And everything else is the little stuff.
Click here to watch the first part of the interview.
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The web extra clip of Cheney discussing his health is available here.
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Additional clips will be available shortly at http://www.cbsnews.com/cbsthismorning/.
Chris Licht is the Vice President of Programming, CBS News, and Executive Producer of CBS THIS MORNING.
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Press Contact: Weesie Vieira 212-975-2856 VieiraW@cbsnews.com