March 15th, 2009
10:56 AM ET
9 years ago

Cheney: 9/11 called for 'exception' on spending limits


Photo credit: Josh Rubin/CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Vice President Dick Cheney said the administration was not to blame for poor economic conditions in the country, telling CNN's John King congressional Democrats had prevented it from heading off the financial threat posed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and that September 11 had forced the United States into "wartime mode" and spending.

Watch: 'I worry very much' about Obama's economic policies, says Cheney

Asked by King about key measures of economic health that had declined during the Bush administration, Cheney replied that there were "all kinds of arguments to be made on that point, but there's something that's more important than the specific numbers you're talking about, and that had to be priority for our administration: eight months after we arrived, we had 9/11. We had 3,000 Americans killed one morning by Al Qaeda terrorists here in America.

"We immediately went into wartime mode, we ended up with two wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq, some of that still very active. We had major problems with respect to things like Katrina, for example. All of these things required us to spend money that we had not originally planned to spend, or weren't originally part of the budget," he said.

"Stuff happens. And the administration has to be able to respond to that, and we did."

Filed under: Dick Cheney • State of the Union
soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. Time after time

    If war was an excuse, then what about WWII? Did that create an economic crisis unlike anything we've seen since the Great Depression? And if the Democrats were to blame when the Republicans were in the driver seat, should we blame the Republicans for the so-called ills of the 1970s when Carter was in power? This guy has an excuse for everything, but ultimately sounds more and more like he doesn't know what he's talking about.

    March 15, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  2. M. Bryan

    "Stuff happens". You are so right, Mr. Cheney. The stuff that happened was that Pres. Bush got very bad advice from just about
    everyone around him, was insulated from the public, and just happened to have a self-picked oil company exec as vice-president.
    A sure-fire remedy for disaster. You can't change history with a few
    words. There are many more reasons for the financial crash other
    than Fannie Mae and Freddie mac. The administrations failure of
    proper oversight of regulatory bodies is chief among them. The mantra of "keeping us safe", while allowing the destruction of our own infrastructure, financial future, and the "American Dream" somehow doesn't have much meaning any more.

    March 15, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  3. Katie

    We owe Bush and Cheney a big debt of gratitude. History will say quite another thing than the liberals who dominate the media. Obama will weaken our capitalistic system with his agenda of socializing us. That was the "change" he was talking about.The markets know this and he has put all of his other agenda ahead of the financial problems. Geitner is a disaster. Lets get some grown up people to solve these problems. We have always come out of the other downturns with out turning into France who has had zero growth, high taxes and 9% unemployment for years. We can fix our weak areas without changing who we are. Obama bears watching. The media never took the time to vet him properly. They were so swept away by his cool looks and speaking skills. Neither of these things are qualifications to run a nation. How about some experience?

    March 15, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  4. william d. hammond

    the whole economic problem would have never happened if bush and cheney would have been impeached eight years ago and sent to prison.

    March 15, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  5. Julian

    We invaded a country that had nothing to do with 9 11. We turned a budget surplus into a 11 trillion dollar debt, we lost support of our allies, the Bush administration was the worst ever. They ruined this country and are a disgrace.

    March 15, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  6. Ed

    This man is truly evil and woefuly ignorant of the mess that he and his
    President dragged our nation in too. His statements and access to the media will serve only to obstruct the current administrations effort to re-establish America as a friend of all nations.

    March 15, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  7. Lori

    If that is the Republican rationale than that means the economic crisis should justify the stimulus bill spending. Republicans: What a bunch of hypocrites!

    March 15, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  8. Clark

    It is astonishing that Cheney really is among the last folks that continues to defend the Bush administration against all of the incompetence and outright evil they perpetrated. He left office with a 15% approval rating, which means even his own party had abandonned him. I cannot figure out for the life of me why anyone would be interested in interviewing this man or hearing what he has to say. The republicans were in control of congress for the first 6 Bush/Cheney years...I guess they were too busy deregulating to stop the economic crisis (which they had plenty of votes to accomplish). The next interview I would like hear from Cheney if from his prison cell in The Hague.

    March 15, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  9. Craig in Kansas

    His guy is out of his mind. Come back to reality. Cheney and W created this mess and then left it for Obama to try to clean up. I does not believe that he had to follow the law. He did not believe that he was accountable to the American people. Shame on you Mr. Cheney.

    March 15, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  10. Rachel

    Still fear-mongering, Mr. Cheney? Someone needs to remind you that you're out of a job.

    March 15, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  11. arthur meier

    They knew the 9/11 attacks were coming! In fact they helped set it up. The scum sucking bible thumping republican BS artist.

    March 15, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  12. David in Minneapolis

    Is there any reason we care what DC says or thinks? After 8 years of dysfunction, does he or his ilk have any relevancy whatsoever, other than to serve as a model for how NOT to do things?


    March 15, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  13. Caral from SoCal

    What so many people do not understand is that Bush, Cheney, and many with knowledge of the Iraq war from the inside BELIEVE that this is true. The WMD that the liberals claim we never found in Iraq? The terrorists they export. Only time will tell, but the Russian MIGS buried in the sand and the bones buried around Iraq of the disappeared give us a good indication of the path Iraq was on. I would much rather fight terrorism in the Middle East than over here, and there are plenty of Iraqis who are mighty glad we did. Someone needs to go up to Northern Iraq, where growth and economic rebirth have taken place as peace has gripped the region, and just ask, "Are you glad the Americans came?"

    I will be quite surprised – and pleasantly – if we don't have a repeat episode of terrorism on our soil under President Obama. My friends who were missionaries in Iraq for five years during Pres. Bush have left to go home. Makes sense to me.

    March 15, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  14. Frank

    Consensus – this man is evil. Drunk on money and power.

    March 15, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  15. Rick

    Wow! Hard to believe he's still sticking by this clueless approach. Blame everything on 9/11 and use it to justify a blatant disregard of the constitution. When will this man be indicted?

    March 15, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  16. ib

    We went into war based on reports that Clinton and England had; not LIES as all the liberals and Obama worshipers say. I'm getting sick of all the republican bashing by these people. They want everyone to fall in line and kiss Obama's butt while they treat conservatives and republicans like scum of the earth. Wake up; Obama is making decisions that is going to put this country in danger and that is not using scare tackets it is facts and you know it you just will not admit it.

    March 15, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  17. Mark

    Who, which party, started the sub-prime fiasco in the first place?

    March 15, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  18. Lush Limprick and Osama bin Laden share the same vision for America - FAILURE!

    Just another repub trying to justify the cost and deaths of 4,000 Americans for his war of choice waged over control of an ulimited supply of oil natural resources for big oil and to sqare the score for daddy not finishing the job when he had a chance..

    Maybe if Cheney, and Rice had not ignored the intelligence the Clinton administration left for the and the moron in chief had not been in Crawford cutting brush he might have paid closer attention to the daily brief put on his desk on August 13th, stating "Osama bin Laden determined to attach U.S." this country would not be in the fix it is today.

    And using Cheney's logic on 9/11 as a reason for no spending limits then tell the repubs to STFU and work with President Obama now, since this is the financial equivalent 9/11 of our lifetime!

    March 15, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  19. GR

    Until Dick Cheney is speaking under oath, I don't want
    to hear another word he says.
    Keep him off CNN, keep him out of the newspapers,
    don't cover his paid speaking engagements.
    Tell him to go away and stay away.
    Go hunting with friends and leave the rest
    of the country alone.

    March 15, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  20. PULEEEZZZ!! lets tell some truth

    Wiat a sec here.. Over 4,000 American soldiers dead, not tomention all the other people dead from YOUR war on Iraq.. Now, lets see, 3,000 Americans died 9/11... now THAT makes sence only to a Republican.. who by the way should be in jail.. Great thinking Mr EX vp! 😦 Oh, yeah, and your company HELLiburton didnt make any dough on this..

    March 15, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  21. Joe Unger, San Francisco

    So it would seem Cheney will continue to emphatically deny that the Bush administration has any blame for what happenned during their four years in charge. The vast majority of people in this country do put the blame on them for things here and there so what is Cheney trying to pull? Is he one of those guys who can never admit when he's wrong? One of those guys who has never said sorry for anything, every? He tries to force his opinion on others and gets angry when he's rebuffed. It must be so tough on him to know that so many people have judged his administration as incompetent. Perhaps what he has left is the small satisfaction of telling his detractors they are all wrong.

    March 15, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  22. jennifer

    Bush spent too much and Obama is spenting three times more too much. China and other countries think we are crazy to go farther and farther in debt with the current economy. I lost trust in Obama when he signed the spending, pork bill. If he had just cut 10% out to show Americans he tried to keep his promise, I would feel calmer.

    March 15, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  23. yeah baby

    Tell 'em Cheney. Hope to see you out there speaking up on all of these issues and setting the record straight. Don't let the Trotskyists rewrite history and deceive the American public.

    The Dems set up the conditions for the mortgage crisis then they failed to head frequent warnings of catastrope.

    The Dems just tripled the national dept in one day after complaining for years about the relatively low levels of debt under Bush.

    It took longer than planned....and it was more difficult than hoped....but we won in Iraq. Despite every road block the Dems and their media lapdogs set up.

    You're a true patriot. Keep up the good fight.

    March 15, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  24. Bob Stewart

    Mr Cheney should do us all a favor and humble himself and accept defeat. His administration had failed polices, and that's why the American people spoke LOUDLY on election day.

    March 15, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  25. WIll 18E

    So it's war spending, that is now responsible for the poor economic conditions we face today.
    This must be "fuzzy math" for the total spending on the "wars" in Iraq and Afghanistan over the Bush years is 1 trillion dollars. Yet they have added over 5.6 trillion dollars to the national debt since taking office.

    March 15, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
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