Washington (CNN) - Former Vice President Dick Cheney defended the Bush Administration’s decision to invade Iraq more than a decade ago on Monday, saying, “I believed in it then. I look back on it now - it was absolutely the right thing to do.”
A few minutes into a Politico event in Washington, where Cheney, his wife Lynne and his daughter Liz were speaking, protesters began to heckle the three members of the Cheney family. The protesters called the former Vice President a “war criminal” while holding signs reading “Arrest Cheney.”
Cheney’s wife Lynne brushed off the interruption, joking, “I wondered why the line (to the event) was so long.”
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A man dressed as Dick Cheney in a prison uniform stood outside of the venue, protesting as attendees entered the Mayflower Hotel where the event was held.
Asked about the current crisis in the Middle East, the former Vice President said that President Barack Obama isn’t totally to blame for the conflict there, but that his policies calling for a decreased military presence in the region have been “totally unwise.”
“The world’s not getting safer,” Cheney said. “It’s getting far more dangerous all the time, and we are rapidly withdrawing from that portion of the world where the danger is going to emerge from. The policy is his responsibility. He has created a situation in which our friends in the region are scared to death. They don’t think they can trust us and we prove it to them on a regular basis.”
While Cheney criticized the president for the White House’s foreign policy agenda, he did have some kind words for current Secretary of State John Kerry, calling his efforts to help facilitate a recount in Afghanistan’s most recent election “a plus.”
Asked to choose between the judgment of Kerry’s predecessor, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and her husband President Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney wasn’t thrilled with either choice saying, “I didn’t vote for Bill and I don’t expect to vote for Hillary either.”
His daughter, on the other hand, was a little more forward.
“Taken in its totality in how one conducts themselves in all aspects of life, I’d have to go with Hillary,” Liz Cheney said. Pressed why she would pick Hillary, Cheney responded, “I said all aspects of life.”
Lynne Cheney also weighed in saying, “I’m not sure there’s a difference.”
Asked whose judgment he respects more between the recently dueling pair of Rick Perry and Rand Paul, Dick Cheney said that he doesn’t plan to endorse any candidate.
But "one of my great concerns is that we’ve gotten to the point where, within our own party, we have sort of an isolationist strain developing," he said.
Cheney said that anyone who believes the United States can retreat from the international stage after the 9/11 attacks is misguided, adding, "I think isolationism is crazy."
On a more personal note, the Cheney trio shared some details about their family, admitting that they like to talk about war stories from campaigns they were involved in around the dinner table.
They also opened up about how the family has dealt with Vice President Cheney’s heart condition.
“Every day when I wake up, I’m thankful with a smile on my face,” Dick Cheney said. Things like this “really affect your sense of what’s important and what isn’t.”
One topic of discussion that was not dwelled on during Monday’s talk was the public spat between Liz, a former Wyoming Senate candidate, and her sister Mary on the issue of same-sex marriage.
Asked about the conflict, Liz said that while she loves Mary – as well as Mary’s wife Heather – the issue is something they disagree about that and she has “nothing new” to add to the conversation.