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. Simmy

    "To soon to declare worst economy" – wait until we leave, then blame the new administration.

    January 11, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. John

    It's not too soon for Cheney and his friends, they made a lot of money in no-bid contracts. No recession in his pork barrel districts.

    January 11, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  3. TheEducatedEntrepreneur

    This is kind of scary.

    January 11, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  4. barbara campbell

    ...but it's not too soon to declare the worst president and vice-president in history.

    January 11, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  5. Jim Hall

    Chaney is crazy Jim Hall Kansas City Missouri

    January 11, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  6. fred

    I'm also a conservative, but I disagree with Cheney and the Bush administration on the bailouts. Since when do we reward failure? Giving stimulus money to CEOs who make bad decisions is not a way to stimulate the economy. You think the extra money will make them wise decision makers all of a sudden? I doubt it. It just lets them know that if it happens again, they can just say, "hey government, help us again." I would say, give money to companies who have seen progress during this recession, so they can actually turn the extra money into more money, and not just lose it. Get what I'm saying? Or, give the money straight to the people who lost it by investing in bad companies, and give them advice to switch to someone else, and let the bad company go under. I think I heard a statistic that if the money was given to Americans, each person could get a $100,000 stimulus check. Instead, we're giving the total Trillion dollars, or however high it is now, to failing corporations. Where is the logic here?

    January 11, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  7. Jim Hall

    Sorry folks I dislike the old man so much I forgot how to spell his name. That goes to show you how much attention that I pay to him and his village idiot boss. The correct spelling of his name should be Cheney. It is worth the correction in my spelling but not worth listening to him. Jim Hall Kansas City Missouri.

    January 11, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  8. chuck


    January 11, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  9. Not4MoreYears

    This guy has zero credibility. Wasn't this the same guy who started the "we'll be greeted as liberators" crap? Didn't he also say that the insurgency was "in its last throes"?

    He's a lying swine and needs to leave NOW.

    January 11, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  10. war criminal!

    you'll be in prison for crimes against humanity sooner than later.

    you'll be sued to penniless until the end of your grandchildren's death.

    you won't be able to travel anywhere outside this country, without being arrested and imprisoned!

    we're counting the days!

    enjoy a few "free" days while they last, cheney!

    January 11, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  11. Julie

    I can't wait until this fool is out of office.... hope he goes back to Wyoming and we never hear from him again. Get out, Cheney... your time is over!

    January 11, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  12. Mike G

    What is Wolf Blitzer thinking, giving VP Cheney a platform to "burnish" the image of this wreck of an administration ? Cheney is thoroughly discredited – everything these guys have touched has turned bad.

    Cheney is a war criminal and has brought disgrace to this country, and I hope that he, Bush and their cronies are someday brought to justice.

    January 11, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  13. Sanity has returned

    A recession is when your neighbor loses his job and house. A depression is when you lose your job and house.

    January 11, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  14. Kay MA

    ...is he stupid? I do believe so.

    January 11, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  15. Apples for sale

    Check his pants,are they on fire?He never stops lying.Plop plop,fiz fiz,oh what it a relief it is,9 days to go .

    January 11, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  16. SMR

    "Denial" is not only a river in Egypt. We are in the WORST recession and have a National debt that we may never be able to climb out of. These people are so delutional it makes me sick to my stomach!! Iraq at 10 billion a month with no exit plan, ( no WMD ) ( Hated around the world ) ( no oversight ). BUSH AND CHENEY SHOULD BE JAILED FOR EVERY SITUATION THAT HAS BROUGHT OUR GREAT COUNTY TO HER KNEES !!!

    January 11, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  17. SM

    And if millions of Americans disagree that handing over billions with no accountability was the wrong approach and hasn't helped a lick, I'm sure Cheney would shrug and say, "So what?"

    January 11, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  18. Terry

    I can't help but notice that all the "free market" Conservatives now blame the current recession on the Federal Government for not regulating the economy strongly enough. Conservatives are like a teenager who took the family car for a drunken joy ride, ending up with the car submerged in a neighbor's swimming pool. The teenager says to his parents, "This is your fault. You shouldn't have left the keys where I could find them."

    January 11, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  19. Aaron from Ohio

    Of course Cheney thinks we should look at tax policy first and cut the taxes on the wealthy even further. It's worked out so well so far. He says that democrats traditionally spend more money. Where has he been the last 8 years when the republicans went on their spending spree? Have a few beers and go hunting Dick. Take some of your CEO friends with you.

    January 11, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  20. earle,florida

    This guy should be tried for "War Crimes, Profiteering, Obstructionism,etc."! There should be an immediate investigation with-in his "Private Trust",and," how much past wages/salaries were deferred from his past employer "Haliburton,during the last ,Eight Years"( the United States De-Fault Military Contractor)! Conflict-of-Interest should also be prioritorized? PS. He even had the audacity while in New Orleans ,weeks after "Katrina", to bring in Haliburton for more of the taxpayers money to be squandered!

    January 11, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  21. The Lady

    You are truly out of touch with our country if you think this is not the worst our economy has had.

    January 11, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  22. Sarah from KC

    Ironic that Cheney now has advice on what the Obama admin should do, which is the opposite of what they, in fact, did. Why didn't he pursue that same policy when he was in charge, and could have made it happen? Instead, he stood by, or more likely designed their policy, while the Republican administration handed out millions of dollars to their high priced donor friends, and wants to hand out millions more even at the last second of this failed administration, and then has the nerve to criticize Democrats, before they have even taken over, of spending too much. That is why the Repubs lost this election. They say one thing, and do another. The American public has finally seen the light, too late, but better late than never.

    January 11, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  23. Brenda

    He's in denial...

    January 11, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  24. a suthern bell

    NOT TOO SOON !!!!





    January 11, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  25. BB

    With all his Haliburton money, it may be easy for him. But in the real world, this is the worst economy in at least 60 years.

    January 11, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
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