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. Kent in CA

    Hey Dick! All that spending and Bin Laden is still out there! Did you happen to notice? Of course you never really intended to get him. There is a lot more profit to be made with Osama at large, isn't there?
    Jon Stewart should have interviewed this crook. Stewart would have asked the questions Americans really want answers to. John King is a wimp.

    March 15, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  2. Christy Elmasri

    If Cheney and G.W. keep up their blathering, just maybe it will keep it in the forefront as to their culpability to the entire mess and enable the general public at large to continue holding their feet to the fire!
    President Obama inherited a bigger problem than just about any President has had to figure out and un-tangle and this will take considerable time due to the "hide and seek" tactics that G.W. and Cheney have utilized to try to cover their tracks. President Obama seems to have the patience and the intelligence that was seriously lacking during the past 8 years to dig in and do what he can to clean up after the incompetency of Bush and Cheney years in the White House. And if you can't stand to watch the scariest man in the entire U.S., change the channel! We need to know what our enemies are doing and saying! That's sort of why I tune in to Fox News and listen to screatchers like Rush and Coulter!

    March 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. Texas Teacher

    Commentators, if you choose one of my comments, please let it be the last. As I reread what I wrote before, I could see that my fingers were ahead of my brain. I just had to get that out!

    Bush had nothing but guilt written all over his face at the 9/11 site! Very convenient that 9/11, it laid the ground work for us to go into the Iraqi war! And though it cost the tax payers more money than we can even imagine, Bush and Cheney got rich off that war. No doubt they still are! It sickens me to think of what that administration did to this country! And Cheney is trying to justify it... beyond reason! That is all... just beyond reason!

    March 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  4. Rob

    The strong ties that Cheney has with our U.S. intelligence ....very sensitive information . He will end up being our biggest threat to our country. If President Obama doesn't act on cutting Cheney's ties with this info, we can be in some trouble...Cheney never finished his embezzling. A greed driven soul with his power can be dangerous to the U.S. and it's citizens.

    March 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  5. mstrmac

    I agree
    yeah baby March 15th, 2009 11:10 am ET
    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 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. chenna benna

    That's right Cheney. Deny everything.

    I honestly think that our new president is trying to lead this nation away from the the old, wreckless policies that got us into this mess. All of the old conservative political hacks can't handle all this change the president is proposing. I think it's frying his brains into "spin" overload.

    The worst is now the media has been pushing their talking points. All the calls about "is the president doing to much." Boy that's something we never heard the last eight years. The president actually trying to be productive. Also, the whole notion that it an Obama recession is ridiculous. I get a kick out of some news organizations showing a chart of the DOW continuing to go down from inauguration day. Yeah somehow the DOW continuing to fall, that has been in free fall well before Obama came into office, is all Obama's fault. I guess if the conservatives start saying that the Iraq war was somehow his fault, we can also blame him for Iraq too.

    March 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. Gman

    I am sick of hearing the “9-11” argument for why the federal budget deficit increased so much during the Bush presidency. Recall that 9-11 happened at the beginning of Bush’s FIRST term. Even if we give Bush all of his first term for unconstrained “war time” spending, by the start of his second term, Bush – as a self-proclaimed fiscal conservative - had a choice:

    1) Increase taxes to pay for all the spending on the Iraq war and other priorities,
    2) Reduce spending in Iraq and elsewhere.

    Instead, Bush chose option 3: DECREASE taxes, AND ALSO continue spending in Iraq.

    March 15, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  8. Barry in Maryland

    The Democrats in Congress were in the minority for the first 6 years of the Bush/Cheney administration. The Republicans controlled all branches of government nearly the entire 8 years of Bush and Cheney. The Iraq war was planned by Bush, Cheney and company. It was not something beyond their control. The huge budget surpluses that Bush and Cheney inherited were dissipated in the first year of their administration and made worse in every subsequent year by their huge and irresponsible tax cuts for the wealthy. Cheney has an interesting variation on Harry Truman's motto. That is, "The buck stops somewhere else".

    March 15, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  9. Mickey, New York

    Why do we continue to give these Republican criminals a platform to spew their inflammatory rhetoric?

    Just like these criminals taped the torture of individuals, I hope someone gets the moment Cheney's heart explodes on video, and posts it on YouTube.

    March 15, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  10. Jon

    Why is this super-vampyre being given any air time to voice his opinions?
    8 + years is more than enough.

    March 15, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  11. KCBob

    I got a shoe with your name on piece of poo

    March 15, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  12. Va 4 Obama

    Who does Dick Cheney think he's kidding?? He continues to blame our current situation on forces beyond his control ~ what??? He and Bush made a conscious decision to lie to the American people about WMD in Iraq so they could invade a country purely for their own profit while the American tax payers footed the bill!!

    Here's hoping the world decides to bring him, Bush, Rumsfeld, Rove and the rest of the lying bunch of thieves and thugs up on war crime charges at the Hague. Couldn't happen to a nicer fellow!!!

    March 15, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    "Wartime mode?" You're a paranoiac creep, Cheeny!

    WWII was a war; Iraq is an astonishing overreaction to a manifest lie, managed with appalling ineptness. Starting the war was so senseless a thing to do it looks to me like it was an excuse for doing something else–I just haven't figured out yet what that was.

    On the other hand, maybe Cheny and Bush really are just paranoid nut-cases.

    March 15, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  14. Ohio Woman

    Noah, puuleeese, what nonsense. Remember, Dick Cheney got five deferments during draft days (Vietnam) due to "other priorities, and Bush was just out partying while his Dad kept him out of the line of fire. Halliburton, no-bid contracts, anyone?

    March 15, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  15. sick n tired of being a victim of Nazi CNN moderators

    So you're plan to fly planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon to create fear among the general public worked out well for you and Bush? Is that what you're telling us DICK????????????

    March 15, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  16. Griff............... on The Truth...

    And then they switched sides, and Cheney asked him a few.

    March 15, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  17. Lockemuploosethekey

    Why don't they check and see how Trficky Dicks bank account is stacked /looks after all the Halliburton type schemes Tricky Dick has pulled .
    Omg if there was ever a crook he at the top of that long list of that 8 years of hell, lies and waterboarding .
    Use the waterboarding on Cheney give him a taste of his own medecine.

    March 15, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  18. J French

    Sounds like he is laying the groundwork for an insanity plea!!

    March 15, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  19. Fed Up w/Gov't

    Iraq was Bush's war. Escalating Afghanistan is Obama's doing. Both wars are unwarranted. I don't see that Obama has changed anything.

    March 15, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  20. Griff............... on The Truth...

    They didn't? Maybe they should..

    March 15, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  21. Lockemuploosethekey

    Why don't they check and see how Trficky Dicks bank account is stacked /looks after all the Halliburton type schemes Tricky Dick has pulled .
    Omg if there was ever a crook he at the top of that long list of that 8 years of hell, lies and waterboarding .
    Use the waterboarding on Cheney give him a taste of his own medecine.

    March 15, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  22. Fan of Common Sense

    9/11 DID NOT HAPPEN BECAUSE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WAS NOT SPENDING ENOUGH MONEY.............IT HAPPENED BECAUSE WE ALLOW PEOPLE TO COME INTO THIS COUNTRY WHO SHOULD NOT BE HERE!! There are dozens (if not hundreds) of aviation schools throughout the middle east. There was no reason why the 9-11 highjackers had to get their training in this country. None of them should have been granted visas.

    This whole War-On-Terror thing has become nothing but an excuse for politicians to deliver pork to their constituents...thereby increasing their own power and personal wealth. Diverting another 9-11 would not cost a single cent, if we would just start employing some common sense.

    March 15, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  23. Mordor

    Noah March 15th, 2009 11:45 am ET

    \as the overwhelming majority of people in this country haven't served in the military OR done one thing (other than pay taxes) for the betterment of our nation.

    and the repulicans even whine about doing that...

    March 15, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  24. heidi

    They never give up do they-I to am waiting fr his inditment.

    March 15, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  25. Concerned citizen

    "mstrmac " your post declares you a complete idiot?

    March 15, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
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