January 11th, 2009
01:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Cheney: Too soon to declare worst economy

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/11/art.cheneyexclusive.cnn.jpg caption="Vice President Dick Cheney defends his administration's handling of the nation's financial crisis."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Appearing Sunday on the last broadcast of CNN's Late Edition, Vice President Dick Cheney defended the administration's handling of the recession and argued that its premature to call it the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

"I can't say that. I don't think we know that yet. I think certainly if you look at some earlier periods in our history, I remember back in the late '70s when we had a high rate of inflation, stagflation in effect and a high rate of unemployment," Cheney said.

He added, "We've had some difficult times. Is it the worst since World War II? I can't say that. I don't believe the data shows that yet but it is clearly a serious recession."

The vice president also defended the administration against criticism that it has backtracked on its principles by providing hundreds of billions of dollars to the private sector after previously lambasting the involvement of 'big government' in the economy.

"When the financial system is threatened, only the federal government can fix it and that's what we've been doing," he said. "So even though I'm a conservative, I feel very strongly that we did the right thing by getting active and involved when we did."

Cheney said President-elect Barack Obama's proposed $775 billion economic recovery plan should begin with a focus on tax policy.

"Democrats traditionally want to spend more money ... We Republicans more often want to pursue tax policy as the best alternative to promote growth and
to turn around an economic downturn," he said.

He added, "I haven't seen his proposal yet so I can't really judge it, but if I had to make a choice myself I'd say we ought to look at the tax policy
as our first priority."

Asked what advice he may have for his successor, Vice President-elect Joe Biden, Cheney said, "The most important thing that any vice president needs to
know was to understand where it is the president he works for wants him to do. That really will determine everything in terms of the kind of meetings he
attends, the policy issues he gets involved in, the kind of assistance or advice he's asked for by the president and others. It's a very different kind
of a job from being an executive, running a big organization, or being senator."

Some of Cheney's other remarks:

On the conflict in Gaza

"I think we've learned from watching over the years that there's a big difference between what happens at the United Nations in their debates and the facts on the ground in major crises around the world," Cheney said. "A lot needs to be done here. The real tragedy... is what's happening to the Palestinian people. They're innocent bystanders. This is not a struggle between Israel and the Palestinians. It's a struggle where Israel is trying to defend itself against what's been designated by many people as a terrorist organization."

On the war in Afghanistan

"We've made progress in Afghanistan. We overthrew the original Taliban government that was there that had sheltered Osama bin Laden. We've had a constitution written. We've had national elections. We've got a good start on building up the Afghan national army. And so I think we've made significant progress. But we're going to be there for a long time."

On Osama bin Laden still at large

When asked why the administration has been unable to capture of kill Osama bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri, the No. 2 al Qaeda leader, the vice president said, "Well, we've got a few days left yet."

"We would like very much to - to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. ... My guess is at this point he's operating in an area that's very difficult, very hard to get to, that he's not an effective leader at this stage. He can't really engage his organization without coming out of whatever hole he's hiding in. And the key thing for us, even if we got bin Laden tomorrow, is to take down his organization. And that's what we've been actively doing."

soundoff (150 Responses)
  1. Matt

    I remeber when the Pres and the Vice Pres stood for something and were not criminals. You pretty much dispelled that rumor. I hope you end up in jail. The things you did to this country and many others are deplorble. I cant wait to see you bounced out office

    January 11, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  2. ed

    I can't wait until this person fades in to history

    January 11, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  3. Curious dude

    Why ask Cheney, he's been wrong on everything. His oil companies have done quite well, so he's out of touch.

    January 11, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  4. ga.

    no wonder we are in the shape we are in when the no. 2 man still can't even admit to the truth, YES CHENEY THIS IS THE WORST SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION, AND IN FACT IT'S PROBABLY WORSE THAN THE GREAT DEPRESSION!

    January 11, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  5. Central Scruitinizer

    And you expect us to believe all that you say,Dick?

    January 11, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  6. Salt & Pepper

    Yada, Yada, Yada,... The WORST VP in history and it's "much ado about nothing." He's going to make sure he goes out with the denials he has created and then, and ONLY then, will he state that "it's the Obama administrations failures that got us into this mess." (As GRIFF would say..."proven fact!") (I DO NOT know where he[Griff] gets his "facts", but, after researching, he is only good for 0=0.)

    January 11, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  7. Tom KS

    Worst Economy, Worst Administration, Worst VP, Worst President, Worst Secretary of Defense, Worst Foreign Policy......

    January 11, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. SEP in AZ

    Dick Cheney is a monster.

    January 11, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  9. concerned coloradan

    Please...can we indite this criminal now.

    January 11, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  10. Lets Move On

    Dear Mr. Cheney, please force those financial institutions that you have seen fit to bail out to tell us what they are using our money for. It is absolutely ridiculous that the federal government would not demand this type of knowledge from these institutions but would demand them from the auto makers over $15 billion.

    January 11, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  11. Ray Fisher

    Cheney has his achedule as does America for declaring opinions and observations. America has marched to this administration for 8 long years, straight to the poor house and economic unstability. Now America is ready to make the final determination via a new administration and book selling historians to render a final verdict on our economy however late. We cannot undo the past only vow to never repeat the negative.

    January 11, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. Richard Cambier

    Dear wolf; I Watch Cnn all the time especially your great program. Regarding the dick Cheney interview today, I would like to make a comment and it is this," I have never seen the V.P. look like a human being prior to todays show." In prior interviews, he always looked like a mad dog , Maybe he has become worried about his retirement from the office of vice Pres. It sure will be a relief to have human beings running our goverment again. Thanks for your excellent broadcasting.
    Richard in Ohio

    January 11, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  13. Erik in Real Pennsylvania

    Why would anyone believe anything this man says?

    January 11, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  14. Historian

    What did this clown know and when did he know it. Jail him. Throw shoes at him.

    January 11, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  15. Ibson

    He is still on denial stage!

    January 11, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  16. MikeH

    Cheney is a war criminal, a traitor, and a war profiteer.

    Cheney should be indicted for war crimes and treason.

    Cheney's opinion on anything has the value of used toilet paper.

    On a related note, it's finally coming out that Israel wanted us to start a war with Iran, and barring that they wanted to attack Iran and have us back them up.

    Who said no? Not Bush, it was our military Generals and Admirals who said there would be no war with Iran.

    January 11, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  17. RB Shea

    Other than his fellow war criminals and cronies in the energy blackmail business, who cares what about-to-be ex-president Cheney has to say about anything?

    January 11, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. judgement wax carried out on november 2008 .

    the worst unemployment in 20 ywars ands its getting worse bye the day , national debt in the trillions since he came to office , 2 wars , attacked under the gops watch , and cheney says its two early to judge them yet . i got news for cheney they already did an your party got smashed . end of story . hay just a side swipe at the southern repubs all ths was ok becouse the gop is sp called pro life , hay tell moms in iraq ans afganastan the republican party is pro life . put that in ya hopocritical right wing pipes and smoke it .

    January 11, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  19. lanray

    who cares what this evil man thinks? just go away and count your money!

    January 11, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  20. PA

    Well Dick it might be too early to claim worst economy but it's way too late to claim that: your Administration was the worst in history and drove America into this abyss. And, surprise! you still want another $350 mil to drive it in further! Your a disgrace in plain English and thank God your done!

    January 11, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. Dylan from MN

    You're horrible, you deserve to sit in prison.

    January 11, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. Sandy

    Dick Cheney couldn't tell the truth if it were tattooed on his forehead. He knows full well that this economy is the worst since the Depression, but he will never, ever, under any circumstances take responsibility for the catastrophic failure of this administration. And he thinks that we, the taxpaying public, are clueless as to the whys and wherefores of this situation.

    Of course he wants to turn to taxes...tax cuts for the wealthy, so that wealth can 'trickle down'...because it's worked SO WELL so far, just like everything team Bush has done, right?

    Dick, you will not be missed. As the saying goes, "don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out'.

    January 11, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. NC Redhead

    Simply no words adequate to respond to these statements.

    January 11, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  24. Jim D. in Costa Mesa

    Not too soon to declare Cheney the worst ever. Say goodnight Dick.

    January 11, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  25. Juan Grain


    January 11, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6