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. Voter

    A preposterous man.

    January 11, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  2. Alicia

    I have NEVER seen so much denial, and spin with a single administration. Do these people take credit or own up to any of the failures during their eight (8) years? It would not have been so obvious if they only stole just four (4) years, but NOOOOOO they steal eight (8).

    The fools that blog defending them must be Cheney and Bush themselves on these blogs.

    Cheney is the most disgraceful Vice President ever!!!!!!!! I am sure he is more than physically FAT from his eight (8) years, and the Halliburton deals where he can use that money to disappear.

    People losing homes, jobs, sons and daughters looking for WMD while Bush made a joke looking in the OVAL office. Then disregarding memos on 9-11. Not to mention Katrina...they thought they could buy up New Orleans with their greedy friends. But these greedy SOBs are shameless. They want the remaining 300Billion to get their paws on. UNREAL!!!

    January 11, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  3. lucy

    isn't he going away soon?

    January 11, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  4. Humored in Texas

    In order to "get" OBL, you actually have to go after him. Here's a clue for ya, Dead-Eye Dick – he's in Waziristan where the U.S. troops are not permitted!!!

    Another flash for ya too, Dead-Eye Dick – the experts are calling the current times the worst economy of all-time!!!

    On overthrowing the Taliban in Afghanistan – before we overthrew them they were producing no opium/heroin. After we freed the Afghanis of the Taliban burden, Afghanistan took only 13 months to regain the top spot as the world's largest producer of smack!!!

    Be proud Dead-Eye Dick, you have left of legacy only a mob thug would envy!!!!

    January 11, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  5. Jeff From Jersey

    He wouldn't admit to a fire if his suit was burning.Cheney and his buddies is making too much money on the war to notice anyway.

    January 11, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. voter

    the 7.2% unemployment rate and high foreclosures is not enough to say the economy is bad. I guess it is not when you are rich.

    January 11, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  7. S Callahan

    You are definately out of touch with the public....What do you measure this by? Look around, visit some neighborhoods with the average working man/woman.
    Trust me, middle America is feeling it smack in the gut....

    January 11, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  8. MK

    What? He hasn't seen the data which shows this is a serious recession? "We rebublicans often want to pursue tax policy".....they spent us into a mess, is he crazy? Nevermind, I know the answer. I don't think it is too soon to declare him and Bush the WORST ever.....disgusting man.

    January 11, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  9. LaTreetha E. Sharpley

    I can only say what planet is Vice President Cheney, living. I can not believe that someone like him has been running this nation for the last 8 years. I truly think that most of America, now knows that President Bush, does not have the mental ability to have served as commander and chief. These two men and their administration has run this once great nation into the ground. Words can not express my disapointment in what they are leaving for the incoming administration. They should truly be sorry for what they have allowed to happen on their watch.

    January 11, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  10. Jennifer Murphy

    I don't believe anything this man says. Period.

    January 11, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |

    I would hate to see The Dick's definition of a "bad" economy. I was there in the 70's and while stagflation was bad there was no loss of 1.2 trillion bucks in one day on the stock market.

    This man is obviously senile.

    January 11, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  12. Home of the Free

    This guy is a complete Idiiot.

    January 11, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. CMG

    Cheney: You disgust me and many others with your less than coherent comments.

    January 11, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  14. Perusing-Through


    Case #1: Cheney campaign for a preemptive Iraq War based on Iraq's possession of WMDs and evidence he knew was exaggerate. – – – – No WMDs found.

    Case #2: Cheney said the Iraqis will greet the U.S. as liberators. – – – – – – Iraqis became embolden and turned on U.S. servicemen placed in harms way. Eventually 4,200+ military service personnel were killed, caught between fighting Iraqi factions and by Iraqis that wanted the U.S. out.

    Case #3: Cheney said Iraq War would be short and service personnel will be home in "less than a year". – – – – Wrong again. This March will be U.S. 6th year in Iraq with a sign contract to remain until end of 2011.

    Case #4: Cheney said he worked with Energy experts to develop nations Energy Policy. – – – – – – But Cheney refuse to provide GAO the data that backs that up.

    There are dozens of significant case points to be made but this "Comment-Response" section limits further illustrations.

    January 11, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  15. Karen - Missouri

    And we're supposed to take Cheney's advice? Yeah right. I was around for the 1970s and Nixon's stupid wage/price controls that this country never recovered from. I was around for the greed of CEOs in the 1980s and the ridiculous hostile takeover games. But I have never seen such unregulated corruption and loss of money in MY life! Has Cheney been asleep? Is this like when Bush didn't know gas was at $4 a gallon? Cheney is a smooth-talker and we certainly don't need HIS opinion!

    January 11, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  16. SMR

    Moderator must be watching NFL FOOTBALL!!!

    January 11, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  17. James

    No too soon to declare WORST VICE PRESIDENT (And President) EVER!!

    January 11, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  18. FreeNLovIt

    We have accumulated 5 trillion dollars worth of debt. Second, the banks committed suicides. And last, there are no jobs. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to know the economy had a major heart-attack and that a major artery has been blocked for months.

    January 11, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  19. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    Gee whiz! We've heard more from Cheney in the past two weeks than we've heard in the past 8 years! Finally has something to say? They let him out of his bunker? Trying to save his legacy? When Cheney speaks, my reaction is "so what?"

    January 11, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  20. Craig Nazor

    By "tax policy", Cheney apparently means (judging from past Republican actions) that he would cut taxes for businesses and wealthy citizens. Well, one can argue that it was greedy, unregulated "businesses" that got us into this situation to begin with. Republican tax policy has certainly made the situation FAR WORSE by running up such a huge deficit BEFORE America was even in such dire financial trouble.

    So where is personal accountability? It doesn't exist with these kinds of Republicans any longer. If you are greedy and already wealthy, well, then Cheney will help you out. But if you have nothing, no job, no business, little education, lost your home, and really need help, you can forget about THIS administration. Just buck up and quit "whining", because you obviously don't have what it takes (proper "breeding", the right "friends", or the necessary greedy, agressive attitude) to succeed in Cheney's "conservative" America. I guess those are all of Palin's "real" Americans.

    You know, this is not the way I remember Jesus asking us to behave.

    So where IS your personal accountability, Dick Cheney? Or are you so certain you did such a fine job with the "war on terror", and torture, and a ruined economy, and a wrecked environment, and the destruction of our Constitutional rights, and it's just that nobody is noticing? Poor, missunderstood Dick Cheney.

    Just get this guy out of my sight. January 20th cannot possibly come soon enough.

    January 11, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. FreeNLovIt

    Who do you trust and faith in? Someone who misled the nation?

    January 11, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  22. Ray O'Vac

    Why is Vlad the Impaler appearing so frequently now? Where's he been?

    January 11, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. Betty

    Who in God's name is this man kidding? Just goes to prove how far out of touch this administration was with the "regular citizens". I hope we never have another Bush or Cheney anywhere near the government.
    Just to hear him speak makes me grab a bariff bag.
    It will soon all be over, now we just need to see justice done for the American people.

    January 11, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  24. Tony in Maine

    Cheney: "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."

    left unsaid by Uncle Dick: "Besides, it was the last chance we had to slip a few hundred billion to our friends."

    January 11, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |

    Um...what planet does Cheney live on?

    January 11, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
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