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. cswpurgeon1@cfl.rr.com

    Go count your money jerk and take the Bushman with you. I have absolute disdain for what you and this admin has done to this country to feed your own greed and ego!

    January 11, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |


    January 11, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. Charles

    What are the odds that we would have the worst vice president in history and the worst president in history paired together in the same administration? Whatever the odds, we have done it.

    January 11, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  4. Don in Albuquerque

    This guy is certifiably nuts.

    January 11, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  5. MW

    Stop giving this lying piece of crap an outlet to spout his nonsense! He is a murdering their who profits from the misery of others and should be hanged for his crimes!

    January 11, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  6. Steve

    Yes, Dick, let's not declare it the worst economy since WW II until you and George have left office. Then it'll be all the Democrat's fault and problem, right?

    January 11, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  7. jim hall

    With the economoic conditions that the republicans in this congress of the 110th have left this country in i think they all need to retire just as the current president is about to do an never ever again be allowed to enter the political arena again an certainly not to have anything to do with the spending of taxpayers funding

    January 11, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. Charlie in Maine

    "The fundamentalists, oh I mean fundamentals are strong,"

    We may need to wait for the fine print and tghe economists to weigh in before we know if this is the worst economy, but as far as the worst administration goes "we have a winner" George W and his crew of pirates win by a Washington mile.

    January 11, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. robina

    Can Cheney ever look non-smarmy? Just once?

    January 11, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  10. Lois

    Cheney, you are so irrelevant. Like who would put any credibllity into what you have to say?

    January 11, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  11. Mickey, New York

    Why isn't this criminal in jail?

    January 11, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  12. Mark

    When the press gives the man a chance to communicate his ideas it becomes clear that he has a realistic world view. He acknowledged:

    We're in a serious recession
    That the Palestinian people are suffering.
    That Israel is not fighting against Palestine. Rather they're fighting Hamas.
    He seems totally respectful of the incoming President.

    I doubt the current administration will ever be viewed as a great one, but in time the Media and detractors will simmer down and allow us to contemplate how this President has been effective and ineffective without lambasting anyone who murmurs the suggestion that there has been some good, it has not been all bad, and that 20/20 hindsight is hardly a fair litmus test.

    January 11, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  13. Vinnie

    The Bush administration in reality was the worse enemy of the country.

    January 11, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. indiana don

    Of course the economy isnt the worst since WWII.Cheney and his croanies have gotten rich off the backs of the average American.

    January 11, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  15. SA in OO

    This guy has a bad heart . . . !

    And not only that but he has heart trouble.

    January 11, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  16. John Hamilton

    Amended version: Cheney is nothing if not consistent, taking no responsibility whatsoever for any of the failures of the past eight years. Given his active role in the crimes of the Bush regime – lying the country into war, kidnapping, torture, revealing the name of an intelligence officer, war profiteering, converting the Justice Department into a club of political hacks, and of course domestic spying – it is no surprise that he would defend the free gift of billions to his gang's Wall Street cronies. The problem is systemic. We, as a country, have known for years of this regime's crimes, yet there has been no meaningful outcry for justice. We will all be paying for the crimes of this regime for decades to come.

    January 11, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  17. Pablo

    But it's not too early to say who the worst VP is history is. Good-bye, good riddance.

    January 11, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  18. George Ennis, Toronto, Canada

    I keep asking myself what did so many Americans see in this man that they could vote for him in 2 elections; worse still there is a hardcore group that thinks he is still a great man.

    January 11, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  19. Joyce Becker

    He and his family does not have any money worries, so how can he tell if the economy is good or bad. Speak to someone who has lost their job and health benefits and you will get a much different story. Soon there will be only the very rich and the very poor, even the rich are suffering but of course not as badly. Get another dust bowl and drought conditions and we will be in the second Great Depression.

    January 11, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  20. Bridg

    There's a cozy prison cell waiting for you Evil Dick, Dark Vader.

    January 11, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  21. Patty in the CA mountains

    He and his team wouldn't even admit there was a problem until well after the rest of knew there was big trouble....so to admit now that he is still behind the curve is no surprise

    January 11, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  22. A Woman In California For Obama

    As much as I dislike him, I must say he does know how to hold an intelligent conversation and answer questions in the same manner. (Yes, I know he is briefed) but I'll give him points for that. I try to give credit where it's due and he is a good speaker even though I don't agree with what he is saying.

    January 11, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  23. ED FL

    It is hard to believe that matters might get worse, but the honesty of a new ADMINISTRATION would be the biggest improment the country could use under any circumstance,no matter its severity. No one will miss anyone of this last group of failures. They will have to live with themselves for the American military they had killed much less than all the women and children theycaused to die. SLEEP WELL!!!!!!!!!!

    January 11, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  24. Rob

    But it is never too early to say that the Iraq war is in the final throes or Mission accomplished.

    Seriously, do we really need to hear such garbage.

    January 11, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  25. Wayne in CA

    Ya...too soon...wait until 1-20...then it'll be every bodies fault but theirs...one word for cheney...and bush...fail.

    January 11, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
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