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. Trisher

    Honestly, nobody believes or cares about what you have to say at this point. Slink away, crawl away, slither away just like the snake that you are....JUST... GO.... AWAY.............

    January 11, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  2. Justin from New Haven, CT

    Cheney 2012- lower approval ratings than Blago

    January 11, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  3. alvino

    Dick and "W" will be shown to create a debt of over $10 trillion in the final analysis of their 8 years in office. How on Earth could the democrats spend more?

    January 11, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  4. CaliGuy


    January 11, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  5. renee


    January 11, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. Mike

    I couldn't make it halfway through this article...I was on the verge of throwing up.

    Good riddance Cheney, we no longer are subject to your lies. Once you're gone, stay gone.

    January 11, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. carol

    Is this arrogant nutter living in another country or what?
    Cheney is so full of himself that he truly believes everything he says, this man has no shame or conscience and the sooner he is put out to pasture the better!!!
    What a disgrace to this country he has been.

    January 11, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  8. Monroe W. DeVos

    Dick Cheney continues to spew his retoric with a complete lack of understanding of what is happening "on the gorund". These are desperate times and as one of the millions of citizens that is unemployed and having a very difficult time finding work, I find it very heartening that we will never have to deal with this man again.

    January 11, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  9. Laurie

    Cheney is a ding dang bonifide idiot.

    January 11, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  10. Former Republican








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

    yeah!!!!! only nine more days of cheney rule, good bye sir

    January 11, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. RTB

    Give Cheney the prison term he deserves. Or better yet ,give him to the victims of his depraved character.

    January 11, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Getting active and involved when you did? You morons couldn't see it coming years ago?


    January 11, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  14. Steve

    In a more just world, the only defense Cheney would be working on would be the one in his war crimes trial.

    January 11, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  15. MorningStar

    Of course Dick is better off today than any time in his life. What else can he say? If the average American has 1/2 of his wealth, then we will all be happy… This is the problem with the repugs; they don't understand the reality of the average American!

    January 11, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  16. bob

    Yeah, and you were sober when you shot your friend in the face, too, right?

    January 11, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  17. kgeukes

    Mr. Cheney needs to come to grips with the fact that his boss' administration(pardon me, HIS administration) has just about given away these United States of America to anyone who asks for a Billion or 2. History will not look kind on him or Mr. Bush so he should just shut up and move to Alaska with Caribou Barbie.

    January 11, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  18. kgeukes

    Mr. Cheney needs to come to grips with the fact that his boss' administration(pardon me, HIS administration) has just about given away these United States of America to anyone who asks for a Billion or 2. History will not look kind on him or Mr. Bush so he should just shut up and move to Alaska with Caribou Barbie.

    January 11, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  19. mark

    Like Maximus said in the movie Gladiator," The time for honoring yourself will soon be at an end". How true for this lying, souless, traitor. Hopefully the dems will bring to light all the lies that were told to the american people and let the world see all the documents that show how much contempt he and the others had for everyone and how it cost lives around the world. They didn't have the guts to impeach him but atleast discredit him when he is done and hopefully it will come out how he financially benefitted from all the Haliburton contracts.... maybe he and Bush should be made to turn over all their fortunes to the families of the wounded and killed in this lie of a war.... ok, i'm done venting, it just comes over me everytime I hear this man talk, sorry.

    January 11, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  20. Concerned Citizen

    Sounds like a lot of level headed talk, from the heart,,,,,, interesting,,,,,,,,,,,,BUT - WAY TOO LATE....... sorry, Dick....

    January 11, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  21. WIlly Brown

    The people who usually do all the parroting for the blame game crowd are people that are not to well educated when they got in over their heads and voted for the donkey party.

    January 11, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  22. Kimberly from Houston, TX

    OMG! Go away...you are EVIL!

    January 11, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  23. maria Mtl, Can.


    January 11, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  24. Jan Illinois

    Guilty, Guilty, Guilty!!!!

    January 11, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  25. STepper

    Keep spinning, Dick. Under your leadership things have been great. You can go home now. Until the war crimes trials.

    January 11, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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