The World According to Dick Cheney (2013) Movie Script

Are we ready to start?
We are, the sound is ready.
Let me get rid of this.
Yeah, take your time.
And I guess
I'm the only one on camera,
or are they gonna
shoot you some?
INTERVIEWER: Oh, no, just you.
Just me, okay.
What's your favorite virtue?
What do you appreciate most
in your friends?
Your idea of happiness?
A day on the south fork
of the Snake with a fly rod.
Your idea of misery?
Loss of a family member.
What's your favorite food?
What do you consider
your main fault?
My main fault...
Umm... Hm. Well, I don't
spend a lot of time
thinking about my faults,
I guess would be the answer.
When was the first time
you went fishing
after your heart transplant?
This is it.
Haven't been on the river
since last summer.
It's an important part
of my life, fly-fishing.
It requires intense
concentration to do it well.
It's one of the few things
I was able to do over the years
that let me put everything else
out of my mind.
It didn't matter
what else was happening.
If I was out on the stream
I was out on the stream,
that's what
I was focused on.
There is panic on the street,
thousands of people running--
We saw the plane on the other
side of the building,
and there was smoke and people
are jumping out the windows--
The second building
has just collapsed--
Huge explosion now
raining debris on us.
We better get out of the way!
Let's go, let's go, let's go!
People say, well, you know,
how did you feel?
That's not the way
I think about it,
I had a job to do.
A secret service agent
came in.
He said, "Sir, we have
to leave immediately"
and propelled me out of
my office and down the hall.
I got on the telephone
with the president,
who was in Florida,
and told him
not to be in one location
where we could both
be taken out.
We had a list of six aircraft
that had been hijacked.
We could account
for three of them,
two in New York
and one in the Pentagon.
But we had three more out there,
and we didn't know
where they were.
There had been a report
of a plane outside Washington
80 or 90 miles away,
headed for Washington
at a high rate of speed.
You know you could
wring your hands
and be worried
and get emotional about it,
but then
you can't function.
Under those circumstances,
you gotta act, you know,
you've got to deal
with the situation as it arises,
you've got to
anticipate difficulties.
That's the nature
of conflict.
A plane 80 miles out,
traveling at a high rate
of speed to Washington
is a matter of minutes,
before it, uh,
arrives over the city.
I gave the instructions
that we'd authorize our pilots
to take it out.
Dick Cheney unquestionably
is the most powerful
vice president in history.
He changed
the course of history
in a way that
no vice president has.
He didn't see his role
as galvanizing public opinion.
He wasn't a vice president that
went out with a new initiative
and tried to build
public support.
He did not want
to be flexible.
He just felt you had to get
in the face of the terrorists
or the potential threats
and use extreme measures.
It wasn't just about
protecting American power,
it was about
projecting American power.
Almost any man can stand up
under adversity,
but if you want to really know
a man's character,
give him power.
The ones who spend
all their time
trying to, uh, be loved
by everybody
probably aren't doing much.
If you're not prepared to, uh,
to have critics,
and to be subject
to criticism,
then, uh, you know,
wrong line of work.
If you wanna be loved, uh,
you know, go be a movie star.
[THE Richard Bruce Cheney(LIFE
grew up in Casper, Wyoming.
The dramatic landscape
of his home
made a lasting
impression on him.
There's something just
very special about it,
in the sense of...of space.
A sense of freedom,
and sense of possibilities.
We loved to fish, Dad got us
actively involved in fishing.
Dad was very much aware
his whole life
of the possibility that,
you know, economic disaster
could be around
the next corner.
They were diligent,
and both sides of the family
were, uh, lifelong Democrats.
If somebody had asked me
was I a Democrat or Republican
I probably would have said,
"Well, you know, my family's
all Democrats."
High school was a good time.
Played football,
played baseball,
was senior class president.
Everybody knew who
Lynne was... She was a star.
She was state champion
baton twirler,
and she was
very attractive.
You couldn't miss her.
He wasn't flashy,
but as I got to know him
better I found him
one of the most thoughtful
people I'd ever known.
It was before the advent
of the 60s.
Nobody ever saw drugs
in Casper in the 1950s.
The most potent thing that was
out there was a can of beer.
We didn't face the kinds
of problems and challenges
that later generations did.
Upon Cheney's graduation
from high school,
a local oilman arranges
a scholarship
for him to attend
Yale University.
Totally different environment
from what I was used to.
Trees and buildings
and people everywhere.
I was all hemmed in.
I didn't work
at my academics.
I found a bunch of friends
who, uh,
consumed a lot of beer,
just as I did.
Cheney feels powerless,
in an environment
that favors the elite.
He can't measure up.
These kids are too smart.
They're maybe too privileged,
they are too well
nourished educationally.
Cheney fails out of Yale
in his freshman year.
He is allowed to return, but
his scholarship is taken away.
In his sophomore year, Cheney
is asked to leave for good.
You gotta realize,
we didn't have to work
that hard in high school
in Casper.
I think we had good grades,
but it may not have been
a consequence totally
of all our hard work.
I was stunned,
I was very surprised.
His parents had a letter
from the Dean
that said he'd become involved
with a spirited group of men.
Were they disappointed
in you at that time?
Uh, I'm sure they were.
I gave them reason
to disapprove
back when I was 19,
20, 21 years old.
Cheney gives up
on his college education
and returns to Wyoming.
He finds work
as a manual laborer,
laying electrical cable.
I lived pretty much
day to day,
paycheck to paycheck.
There were times when it was a,
be a gap between jobs,
but then you could probably
get credit at the local bar
and they'd run a tab for you
until you got a paycheck.
When you came in at night
or after work,
you'd go to the bar and down
large quantities of Coors beer.
Cheney is arrested twice
in the span of nine months
for drunk driving.
When I was arrested
for the second time
for driving under the influence
in Rock Springs,
that was very sobering.
My friends and classmates
at Yale were all graduating,
Lynne had graduated
the previous year, early,
from Colorado College.
And I was in jail
in Rock Springs, Wyoming.
The real question is, you know,
what are you gonna do now?
At the age of 22,
Cheney is an itinerant lineman,
who has flunked out
of Yale twice,
with a growing arrest record
and a drinking problem.
He has hit bottom.
He fails again and again
in the early part of his life,
all the way up until Lynne
basically takes him
and shakes him.
She says, "I am not going to be
married to a lineman,
so step up buddy."
What did Lynne say to you?
What was that conversation?
Uh... Uh, that's still private.
There's a...a... It was clear
she disapproved.
I needed to get my act together,
I needed to go back to school
and get an education.
From now on, Cheney
will control his own fate.
He begins classes at
the University of Wyoming,
majoring in Political Science.
Turned out when I went back
and applied myself
I was a pretty good student.
A year later, Lynne finally
agreed to get married.
After getting
his Bachelor's degree,
Cheney enters the University
of Wisconsin, Madison.
Once he has his Doctorate,
the former college dropout
plans to be a Professor
of Political Science.
The time to act is now,
clearly and decisively
against the war in Vietnam.
we won't go!
Student protests against
the Vietnam War
are growing in numbers.
On the east coast,
the center of the movement
is Columbia University.
On the west coast,
it's Berkeley.
And in the midwest, it's
the University of Wisconsin.
Wisconsin had a reputation of
being a pretty radical campus,
riots and protests
of various kinds.
National Guard was called out
to restore order.
I can remember the mime troupe
meeting there,
and the guys that ran around
in white sheets
with the entrails of pigs,
dripping blood.
I basically supported
what the administration
was doing at that point,
so I was not
an opponent of war.
The country's deeply divided
in a way you really almost
hadn't seen since the civil war.
We were trying very hard
to get on with our lives,
to complete our educations
and start a family and so forth.
A period of time when I think
probably a lot of us
made judgments or ended up
having our political philosophy
shaped and developed by what
we saw happening in the society,
and it certainly moved us
in a conservative direction.
In 1968, a 27 year-old
Cheney moves to Washington
to participate in a fellowship
that pairs graduate students
with members of Congress.
He wants to spend a year
the political process up close
before returning
to his studies.
There was an orientation
session for those of us
in the Congressional
Fellowship program.
One of the early speakers
was a guy named Don Rumsfeld,
I'd never heard of.
He was young and dynamic,
he was very impressive.
So there are different ways
that someone could do it.
The task is there,
the problem's there.
The problem is
to reduce the rate
of increasing
the cost of living.
I had agreed to interview
individuals that
they'd selected,
and one of those individuals
turned out to be a young fellow
from the University of Wisconsin
graduate school.
That's probably the worst
interview I ever had in my life.
It's the only time I can recall
I got thrown out of the office.
If you're looking for
warm and fuzzy,
Rumsfeld's not
the right place to go.
Couple of months later,
President Nixon announced
that Rumsfeld then was
being nominated
to be Director of
the Anti-Poverty program
at the old office
of Economic Opportunity.
Sit down, please.
Don Rumsfeld today is making
what, for him,
may be his hardest and most
important political decision.
He's giving up
one of the safest seats
in the Congress of
the United States to take on
one of the most
important agencies,
one of the most
controversial agencies
in the entire government.
I sat down one night,
and wrote a 12-page memo
telling Rumsfeld
what he should do
in terms of
confirmation hearings
and how he should
conduct himself.
I ended up liking the memo
and remembering Dick Cheney
and asking him if he'd come
to work with me.
He looked up when I came in
and said,
Congressional Relations,
now get the hell
outta here."
I went down the hall,
moved in and took over.
We had offices over
in the West Wing.
That's prime real estate,
especially for a young guy
in Washington.
The tougher things got,
the better he got.
He didn't ever get skittish
or back off.
He would decide
what needed to be done,
and then go about
and do it.
Rumsfeld is a very combative
bureaucratic player.
Wherever he is, he's pushing
for more turf for himself,
so Cheney watches all that,
learning at Rumsfeld's feet.
And this is the beginning
of Cheney's sort of growth,
his first role as the guy right
behind him, the number two.
The guy who's gonna stay up
twice as late as you,
the guy's thinking of things
before you even think of them.
How much exposure did you have
to President Nixon,
during those years
when you were...?
He was probably
the first president
I ever met
and shook hands with.
Rumsfeld took some of us
into the oval office one day
on sort of a morale booster,
different cabinet members
would bring their key staff in.
As the 1972 election
draws near,
Chen is offered a job
working for Nixon's committee
to re-elect the president.
But Rumsfeld wants to keep
his trusted deputy.
I made a good decision,
I went with Rumsfeld
so I was not near when
the train wreck happened.
A federal grand jury
indicts seven former aides
and campaign associates
of President Nixon's.
With Nixon's approval,
a group of
government-paid operatives
spies on the president's
political enemies.
Nixon's men are caught
during a burglary
at the Watergate complex.
The president himself
then participates
in the attempt to cover up
their crimes.
Watergate obviously
was absolutely devastating.
Having known
some of the people involved,
and watching
that whole thing unfold,
it was...a political scandal
of major proportions.
More than 50,000 telegrams
poured in on Capitol Hill today,
so many,
Western Union was swamped.
They just say, "Impeach
Richard Nixon,
or force him to resign."
As Watergate shakes the country,
Nixon's vice president,
Spiro Agnew,
is charged with bribery
and forced from office.
The vice president
of the United States,
Congressman Gerald Ford
of Michigan.
Nixon chooses house
minority leader Gerald Ford
as his new vice president,
the first unelected
vice president
in United States history.
Through '73 and on into
the summer of '74,
those were sort of the crucial
18 months of Watergate.
He did have a front row seat.
He could see
everything evolve sort of
at every step
along the way.
And in all of my years
of public life,
I have never
obstructed justice.
How can you talk about
blackmail and bribery
and keeping witnesses silent?
This is the Presidency
of the United States.
Congress became
very aggressive
at trying to reassert
some balance of power
in the federal government.
The Congress sort of
felt their oats.
When you've got
the president in your sights
and you've got the prospects
of impeachment,
that, you know,
radically shifts the balance
between the two branches.
The meeting
will come to order,
for the House of Representatives
to exercise
its Constitutional power
to impeach Richard M. Nixon.
I have never been a quitter.
To leave office before my term
is over is abhorrent
to every instinct
in my body.
Vice President Ford
will become the nation's
38th president tomorrow.
Indications are Ford will ask
the entire Nixon cabinet
to stay on.
Ford's choice
for vice president,
Nelson Rockefeller.
On August 9th, 1974,
Gerald R. Ford is sworn in
as the 38th president
of the United States.
He became the only man
in our history
to become President having
never run for vice president
or president, so he
didn't have a campaign team.
He didn't have a policy team,
he didn't have a platform.
My fellow Americans,
our long national
nightmare is over.
Within days
of taking office,
President Ford's approval
ratings reached 71 percent.
But one month later,
Ford squanders the good will.
Today, in a move
which caught just about
everybody by surprise,
President Ford made the most
controversial decision
he has made since
assuming office
just one month
ago tomorrow.
Now therefore,
I, Gerald R. Ford,
have granted a full, free,
and absolute pardon
onto Richard Nixon,
for all offenses against
the United States which...
It came as a stunning action,
a...a shock to
the American people.
This means Mr. Nixon
cannot be prosecuted
for any possible
Watergate crimes.
Do you think
the Nixon pardon
really serd to bind up
the nation's wounds?
The decision has created
more antagonism
than I anticipated.
Do you think that there is
any evidence
there was a deal made
between Mr. Nixon and Mr. Ford?
I think we have to say
there are a lot of
unanswered questions tonight.
Just how much damage
has this done
to the president's relations
with Congress?
I would predict rough going
for Mr. Ford
from now on in his dealings
with Congress.
Ford needs help.
He brings in Donald Rumsfeld
as his new Chief of Staff.
Rumsfeld then hires
a 33 year-old Dick Cheney
as his second in command.
I'd gone from being
the assistant to Rumsfeld,
and all of a sudden
I'm the number two
and the Deputy Chief of Staff
of the White House.
I'm 33 years old.
Based on Rumsfeld's word,
Gerry Ford immediately
gave me his approval.
Working for Ford
I got a much closer post
from which to observe
the presidency
and all the pressures
that are exerted on a president
and decisions
that needed to be made.
One day Ford would have
a note sent to Cheney
that said, "Can you schedule
my haircut?"
And the next day
it would say,
"What's the status
on our nukes?"
The first task
Cheney and Rumsfeld face
is restoring the authority
of the president.
Congress is demanding
that Ford appear on Capitol Hill
to explain his pardon
of Nixon.
Rumsfeld and other staffers
plead with Ford
not to go to Congress.
What was the risk
of his going to Congress?
Uh, precedent it sets.
Um... One of the things
you have to be aware of
and sensitive to, I think,
as president
is that the things you do,
um...are important
not only for the here and now,
but they oftentimes can have
an impact long-term.
You would not expect a leader
of the executive branch
to go, in effect,
hat in hand
to the legislative branch
and answer their questions,
but Ford thought
that was important
and he overruled Rumsfeld
and he overruled Cheney.
Just one month after joining
the Ford White House,
Cheney watches from the gallery
as the president
is humbled by Congress.
I'm wondering,
if after all that has happened
and with further opportunity
for reflection,
if you do not now feel that
you perhaps acted too hastily
in this case.
I was absolutely
convinced then,
as I am now,
that if we had had
an indictment, a trial,
a conviction,
that the attention of
the president, the Congress,
and the American people
would have been diverted
from the problems
we have to solve.
Ford's testimony is one
of the very first instances
where Cheney sees the impact of
and objects to
Congressional intrusions
on presidential power.
I think there's no question
that those days after Watergate
the presidency was in
a weakened condition.
Congress sort of moved
aggressively into the vacuum
that had been filled by that.
Rumsfeld and Cheney develop
a kind of autonomy
and also a kind of leverage
over others.
Behind their backs,
members of the administration
begin calling
Cheney and Rumsfeld
the Praetorian Guard,
referring to elite soldiers
in ancient Rome
who protected the emperor
but also wielded
tremendous power themselves.
There was a lot of tension
between the Ford staff
and the, uh,
Nixon White House staff
which President Ford
had decided to keep.
Rumsfeld and Cheney
often knocked heads
with Henry Kissinger.
Henry had two hats.
He was the Secretary of State
and he was the National
Security Advisor.
Kissinger was larger than life
and Ford deferred to him.
But Cheney and Rumsfeld
distrust Kissinger
because they consider him soft
on the Soviet Union.
Rumsfeld and Cheney
were also maneuvering
against several other people.
I did not have
a close relationship
with Vice President
he and I were hostile,
I was the young kid,
uh, half his age.
There was a feeling
Rockefeller was probably
too liberal for Republicans.
He had lots of ideas
for new social programs
like the ones that he had done
in New York as governor.
Rockefeller believed I was the
guy shooting down his proposals,
which to some extent I was.
The internal conflicts
come to a head
just as the presidential
primary campaign begins.
All governments are going
to have to reduce
government's appetite,
and let the people have a little
more of their own money
in their pockets to spend
as they see fit,
or this system of ours
isn't going to work any longer.
Ford, still reeling
from his pardon of Nixon,
is vulnerable to a primary
challenge from Ronald Reagan,
the popular
and deeply conservative
former governor of California.
And you don't discipline
an irresponsible Congress
by putting an indulgent friend
in the White House.
Rumsfeld and Cheney
are determined to shore up
the Republican base by pushing
the moderate president
further to the right.
We thought the president
needed to make some changes
that he had been slow
in arriving at.
Rumsfeld and I,
we wrote a lengthy memo
to the president,
that recommended
a lot of changes.
Over the course
of three days,
Cheney and Rumsfeld engineer
what comes to be known
as The Halloween Massacre.
They knock out the core staff
of the Ford administration.
Henry Kissinger is forced
to give up his duties
as National Security Advisor.
You got a guy who's dominant
in the Nixon administration
and who had survived all that,
but he's running your foreign
policy so you needed to,
to mix things up a bit there.
So he went down.
They as well kneecapped
Nelson Rockefeller,
the vice president.
Rockefeller announces he will
not run for election in 1976.
Secretary of Defense
James Schlesinger
is removed from office.
Were you fired
or did you quit?
I have no comment to make.
Cheney and Rumsfeld
have two more moves to make.
Ford names Rumsfeld as the new
Secretary of Defense.
And at the age of 34,
Dick Cheney becomes the youngest
White House Chief of Staff
in American history.
Pretty sophisticated series
of chess moves.
That first, you know,
major turning moment
in my life
was the summer of '63.
12 years later
I'm Chief of Staff,
the youngest one in history.
So that was a... It was a
major transformation obviously
from, uh, where I had been
12 years before.
He said to me he didn't spend
a lot of time thinking about it,
that he had a job to do
and things were in front of him,
but one would imagine
if you're Chief of Staff
of the White House,
and you're in your mid 30's,
that's a moment where
you do take some time to stop
and sort of reflect and say,
you know,
this is a big moment.
But Cheney's rise to power
is just beginning.
After serving
in the Ford White House,
Cheney goes on to represent
Wyoming in Congress
for ten years.
Mr. Speaker,
this bill is a turkey
and I would urge its defeat.
It didn't take a lot of insight
to figure that Dick Cheney
was gonna make his mark.
In the opinion of the chair,
the ayes have it
and Mr. Cheney is elected
Minority Whip.
He quickly ascends
to the Republican
Congressional Leadership.
As a member of
the Intelligence Committee,
he masters the complexities
of national security
and international relations.
And when Ronald Reagan
comes under fire
for the covert operations
known as Iran Contra,
Representative Cheney's
expertise in
the intelligence world,
helps him gain the position
of ranking member
of the committee investigating
the president's actions.
In my opinion
there is no justification
for further restrictions on
the power of future presidents.
The Iran Contra hearings make
Dick Cheney a household name.
In 1989, after George H. W. Bush
is elected president,
he asks Cheney to serve
as his Secretary of Defense.
There are 92 yayes
and no nays,
the nomination of
Richard B. Cheney
to be Secretary of Defense
is confirmed.
Two years later,
Cheney leads efforts
to build a multinational
coalition to fight Iraq
in the Persian Gulf War.
We did exactly
what we set out to do.
We liberated Kuwait,
and we destroyed the vast bulk
of Saddam Hussein's offensive
military capability.
Mr. Secretary,
you managed
an immense enterprise
with startling success,
a military and civilian
defense system
without equal in history.
On this day,
the American people have voted
to make a new beginning.
When George H. W. Bush
loses his bid for re-election,
Cheney finds himself
out of a job.
But he has his eye
on a new one.
President of the United States.
He drives thousands of miles
crisscrossing the country,
trying to drum up support.
I spent a lot of time
on the road.
I thought that I was qualified
by background and experience
to do the job.
I mean, I believed I,
that I could function
effectively as president.
He did all the things
you're supposed to do.
You raise a little money,
you form a political
action committee,
you put out feelers.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dick Cheney.
Part of that was to assess
that basic question
about my willingness to do
what I would have to do,
and no guarantee you're gonna--
You can't just say
"I'm gonna run"
and expect to get elected.
Are you testing
the Iowa waters?
I'm out all across
the country this year,
because it's a campaign year,
helping the party,
helping candidates
and tonight I have the--
He is not good
at retail politics,
and more importantly
he doesn't like it.
Cheney never garners more than
three percent support
in pre-election polls.
His fundraising lags far behind
other contenders,
like Pat Buchanan,
Lamar Alexander,
and the eventual nominee,
Bob Dole.
I put out about a one word,
two word press release,
uh, thanking my supporters
for their interest
and saying
I'd made a decision
not to be a candidate,
thank you very much.
Cheney realizes he will
never be elected president.
He retires to private life,
accepting a job as CEO
of Halliburton,
a multinational oil company.
I did that for five years
and I was very happy doing it.
We had over 100,000 employees
over 100 countries
around the world,
and we were involved
in a wide range
of basically
energy-based activities.
Dad was a religious consumer of
information about the company.
He said to my brother one day,
showed him the annual report
and said, "Look at that,
can you imagine what
they're paying the kid?"
That's...that was his take
on my time at Halliburton.
Cheney really never
his political ambitions.
He always said he did,
maybe in his own mind he did.
But, you know, once
you're a political animal,
you know where the big seat
in the zoo is
and it's being president
of the United States.
We want Bush! We want Bush!
We are proud to introduce you
today to the future president
of this great nation,
Governor George W. Bush.
In the summer of 2000,
Texas Governor George W. Bush
becomes the presumptive
Republican nominee
for president.
I'm looking forward to working
my heart out
for the next four months.
Four months till we rid
this nation of Clinton-Gore.
Four months.
Bush faces a tough election
against incumbent
vice president Al Gore.
Questions are being raised
about the Governor's
foreign policy experience.
Prime Minister of India?
Uh, the new Prime Minister
of India is uh...uh, no.
Bush needs to reassure voters
worried about
his limited resume.
His choice of a running mate
is a chance to put
those concerns to rest.
Former Secretary Dick Cheney
is gonna head
my vice presidential
search committee.
Bush asks Cheney
to be considered
as a vice presidential
Cheney says no.
I had seen the unpleasantness.
A number of other
vice presidents had
had negative experiences.
Gerry Ford always told me,
he said,
the worst job he ever had
in his life,
the worst eight months
of his life
was when he was
vice president
of the United States,
he hated the job.
Cheney was happy in his new life
at Halliburton,
he had lots on his mind,
lots still to do,
uh, and was not looking
for the job.
But Cheney does agree
to help Bush
with the vice presidential
I'm honored he would take time
out of his busy life to do so.
I can't think of a better
person to do it,
he's a man of
enormous experience,
and I'd be glad to answer
a few questions on him.
Does this mean
he is not a candidate?
Assume, rule him out?
That's a very
interesting question.
It started with a list
of dozens of people,
all the Republican governors
and all the Republican senators.
Virtually anybody
that you could conceive of
as a prospective candidate
and then we narrowed that down.
He began devising what
everybody involved described as
the most comprehensive,
most intrusive
vetting process ever used.
We wanted ten years
of tax returns,
we wanted, uh,
their health records.
We wanted to know if they'd ever
been involved in any kind
of scrape that might be an
embarrassment to the president.
Since he didn't trust anyone
to give all the records,
he made them sign waivers
and powers of attorney.
It was a pretty exhaustive
I'm not sure I would have gone
through all of that
if I'd been asked.
He would meet from time
to time with Bush,
tell him, here's what we found
on Lamar Alexander,
here's what we found
on Frank Keating.
Pretty much every time,
you're coming up with something
that raises an eyebrow
and makes you worry
a little bit.
During these meetings,
Bush describes what he wants
from a running mate.
He knew what he wanted
and what he was looking for
and that was somebody who could
be a part of the team
to help him govern.
I can't tell you for sure
when he started seeing
a vice president
in the mirror,
but one of the key things
that Cheney did
was to tell Bush stories
about problems
between presidents
and vice presidents.
And the key feature that
he described was a conflict
involving the ambition
of the number two guy.
He painted a portrait
of ambition as sort of
latent disloyalty.
If you get a guy
who wants the job,
he's already
halfway disqualified.
And at the same time
Cheney is telling Bush,
"No, I don't want it."
Uh, the more he runs away,
the more Bush is pursuing him.
We got all through,
we ended up down in Texas.
We'd evaluated everybody,
we'd reviewed
all the candidates.
He looked up at me, he said,
"You're the solution
to my problem."
The reason I finally said yes
was because I was convinced
he was deadly serious about it
being a consequential position.
I, uh, took him seriously
in terms of the reasons why
he said I was the guy he wanted,
my background in national
security and defense.
There was no piece of paper at
all, but that he'd make certain
that I played a significant role
in his administration.
Cheney did not submit himself
to the vetting,
he did not produce business
records from Halliburton.
He gave a substantial set
of financial documents
for vetting,
and he gave them to George Bush
and George Bush only.
Cheney has amassed a long
history of cardiac problems.
He has suffered
three heart attacks,
his first one at age 37.
But he does not provide Bush
with a thorough
medical evaluation.
I'd been through
several crises,
we'd managed each one.
I'd adjusted to the fact
that I was mortal.
I'd sort of pursued a policy
when I had a problem,
another heart attack or crisis
of some kind, um,
you go do what you gotta do
to fix it,
get the best help and advice
you can,
and then you get on with life.
George Bush, he calls his Dad
and says, "I'm thinking about
this guy, what do you think
about his health?"
His father advises him
to get a second opinion.
George Bush calls up a guy
named Denton Cooley,
he's a well-known heart surgeon
in Houston.
He says,
"I'd like you to give
a second opinion,
let's see what you think
of Cheney's heart health."
Well, Cooley gets on the phone
and talks to Cheney's
own doctor.
He did not actually
meet Cheney.
He did not see
any of his paper records.
Uh, and actually,
since he's a surgeon,
he wasn't the right guy
to ask in the first place.
Should have been
a medical cardiologist
who reviewed those files.
Please welcome the Governor
and Mrs. Bush
and Secretary
and Mrs. Cheney.
I believe you're looking
at the next vice president
of the United States.
Bush's selection of Cheney
as his running mate
immediately changes
public perceptions
of the presidential candidate.
Cheney was not
a flashy candidate,
but yet he was experienced
and as a senior statesman
he would add gravitas
to the ticket.
Decision 2000, election month.
All eyes on Florida
at this hour, Tim.
On election night,
Bush and Cheney
are on the brink of victory.
Election night was sort of
the ultimate contest
in terms of probably being
the closest election
in American history.
Here we are
at 99 percent of the vote in.
11... That means
automatic recount.
That isn't under, no.
Well, I'm seeing nothing
on these.
It's... It's
slightly detached.
They kept recounting,
but every time they recounted
we still won.
Ultimately it got
into the courts.
While the legal battles
and the recount drag on,
Cheney takes action.
We finally went back
to Washington
and we announced that I was
gonna be in charge
of the transition.
Let us in! Let us in!
We will all remember these times
as some of the most critical
and defining moments
in our nation's history.
During the deadlocked
2000 election,
one would think that
Vice President Cheney
would be glued
to the television
because there were literally
developments every day.
Instead, actually,
he was at his home in Virginia
and what he was doing was
putting together the government
in the event that the recount
turned out in their favor.
It's not only unusual that
Cheney ran this transition,
it's unprecedented.
Vice presidents,
they don't run things.
One of your most important
is to put together a government,
to pick really good people.
An awful lot of presidents
find that very difficult to do.
And government's so big,
and they've got
so many relationships,
that they, um,
sometimes they like to hang on
to old relationships
that are no longer relevant.
George Bush is very limited
in his Washington experience.
He doesn't know
the kinds of people
who are going to fill jobs
like Office of Legal Counsel.
Cheney knows those people.
Most of the friends of George
did not make the cut.
Cheney didn't say to Bush,
"You can't have that,"
it's just that he started
bringing him other people.
Cheney names Scooter Libby,
his former aide
at the Defense Department,
as his Chief of Staff.
He shares Cheney's philosophy.
He is able to cut
to the heart of issues.
He is sometimes described
as Cheney's Cheney.
Cheney taps David Addington,
who has worked with him
since the Iran Contra
as his legal counsel.
Having worked with him before,
he could be confident
in my abilities,
and importantly with
Dick Cheney, my discretion.
And Cheney persuades his mentor
and dear friend Donald Rumsfeld
to take the job
of Secretary of Defense.
It was a surprise,
no one was more surprised
than Don Rumsfeld that
he ended up back in government
and at that advanced age.
We'd kept up over the years
and when it was time to pick
a Secretary of Defense,
I was convinced Rumsfeld
was the...the right guy.
The protege became,
in effect,
the mentor to the mentor.
He doesn't stop there,
he goes to the deputies,
he goes to
the assistant secretaries,
he goes three,
four levels down.
There were people
in the Interior department
at sort of these more
mid-level kind of jobs.
It made him very influential
and powerful
throughout the bureaucracy,
in particular when decisions
came to the level
of the president.
Did George W. Bush
know what he was getting?
How thoroughly overmatched
he was
by the team that was assembled
around him?
Good evening. I'll make it
quick and simple,
the Supreme Court
of the United States
has reversed the decision
of the Florida Supreme Court.
This effectively
ends the election.
It has ended the election
and literally...
Six weeks after the election,
the Supreme Court puts an end
to the recount in Florida.
Bush and Cheney win.
There were a lot of people
who didn't like the outcome.
Gore had won the popular vote,
but we'd won
the Electoral College,
and, uh, that's what
the Constitution provides for.
So do you remember
walking into the White House
as vice president
on January 20th, 2001?
I do.
When I'd first arrived there
back in 1968,
I was one of the youngest people
in the West Wing,
and this time around
I was the oldest.
When the vice president
first came in,
they were sort of contemplating
what role would he take,
and they were sort of,
well, you know
Vice President Gore had
a specific kind of portfolio
involving government innovation
and some other things.
Cheney was not particularly
warm to that kind of idea.
He had the, the "Walk-In Rights"
you might call them,
he could walk into any project,
any meeting,
and do whatever he wanted.
If you are a vice president
who is able to sit in
on every meeting in
all of the kind of lead-up
when that policy is shaped,
you know, you're not only
the last word,
last piece of advice,
but you've also shaped
all of the options that are
being presented to him
even before
they get to his desk.
He was quite
disciplined, though.
He picked what Mary Matalin,
one of his advisors called
"The Iron Issues."
The economy, national security,
the core sort of areas
any president would care about.
Some would suggest
Cheney had his own agenda,
Cheney was getting ready
to manipulate the process
so he could be president
of the United States. Not true.
Move! Let's go!
Move it! Get back!
Let's just get back!
On 9-11, it's Cheney
who's in charge.
Bush has the humiliating
experience of being
in a primary school classroom,
he is physically out of it.
I was thinking about the threat
we were faced with,
I was thinking about
what we had to do,
on one hand, to preserve
the legitimacy
of the government,
to make certain
there were successors in line
ready to go if the president
and I were taken out.
There was an incoming aircraft
from the northwest,
it was after the other three
had already struck.
The question you had to ask
yourself was,
if we had been able to take out
one of those airplanes
headed for
the World Trade Center,
would we have done it?
And the answer was
absolutely yes.
After I'd given the,
uh, was pretty quiet.
Everybody had heard it,
and it obviously was
a significant moment.
There was sort of this
collective groan in the room,
and...but people who looked
over to see him
said he was so controlled
and contained.
Later in the afternoon,
Lynne and I went out
and got on a helicopter on the
south lawn at the White House
and flew off to a secure
undisclosed location.
The only time
that the vice president
has ever flown in a helicopter
off the south lawn
of the White House.
Presidents fly off
the White House lawn,
vice presidents
don't do that.
Everything I'd seen
up till that point had been
over television and so forth.
Um, but when you fly over
the Pentagon
and there's a big hole
in the side of it
and all the signs
of the attack,
and it's still smoking
from the damage
that was done that morning,
was a dramatic
sort of reinforcement
of what we knew
was happening.
I started thinking about
how we should respond,
how can we bring to bear
the power and influence
of the United States
to take down
whoever had launched
this attack against us.
We all have to work
the dark side, if you will,
we're going to spend time
in the shadows
in the intelligence world.
A lot of what needs
to be done here
will have to be done quietly
without any discussion,
using sources and methods
that are available
to our intelligence agencies.
So it's going to be
vital for us
to use any means
at our disposal, basically,
to, uh, to achieve
our objective.
I see 9-11 as a hinge
of history for Dick Cheney.
I went to interview him
a month after 9-11,
and it was a changed
Dick Cheney.
You see an increasing
conviction that you cannot
leave decisions that could be
existential ones
for the United States
in the hands of Congress.
In the face of a threat
of this sort,
you couldn't have
some of the niceties
or the same boundaries
that existed before.
It is a wartime situation,
and it does require
tough programs and policies
if you're gonna be successful.
And it was more important
to be successful
than it was to be loved.
Less than a month after 9-11,
the U.S. launches attacks
against Al Qaeda
and its Taliban allies
in Afghanistan.
We began to capture members
of Al Qaeda
with important information.
As we began
rounding up suspects,
the question was,
well, what do we do with them?
We looked at all kinds
of options,
and ended up recommending
Guantanamo Bay be used.
The military base
at Guantanamo Bay
is entirely on the territory
of Cuba, a hostile country.
Why use it,
why is it the best place?
I would characterize
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, um,
as the least worst place
we could have selected.
We needed some place
to hold terrorists,
we didn't want to bring them
to the United States.
Once they were on U.S. soil,
they obtained many
of the same basic rights
that American citizens do.
I think it was March of '03
we actually captured
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed,
the mastermind of 9-11.
He had a wealth of information
if he were willing to share it.
There was a significant amount
of consideration about,
how could we interrogate
prisoners in such a way
as to not run afoul
of these Geneva Conventions.
The Geneva Convention of 1949
authorizes inspection of camps
by neutrals, yet in...
The Geneva Conventions
are a protocol
which specifies
how prisoners of war
should be treated,
and most importantly
it prohibits the cruel
and inhumane treatment
of prisoners,
and in addition
to prohibiting torture.
Cheney's attorney,
David Addington
drafts an order stating
that these prisoners
are not subject
to the Geneva Conventions.
The basic proposition
here is that somebody
who conducts
a terrorist operation,
killing thousands
of innocent Americans,
they don't deserve to be
treated as a prisoner of war,
they don't deserve the same
guarantees and safeguards
that would be used, uh,
for an American citizen
going through the normal,
uh, judicial process.
His office takes the lead
in getting the President
to essentially sign on
to an order in which he says,
"Well, we will treat
prisoners as much possible
in accordance with
the Geneva Conventions."
Which of course,
leaves, you know,
a huge hole that you can,
you know, run a truck through.
Isolation in the cell,
or, um...loud music.
A face slap was allowed,
and had to be open-handed.
Um, you could push him up
against a wall,
there were certain things
like that.
Putting the individual
on an incline,
their head down lower
than their feet,
uh, putting a towel,
a towel over their face
and then pouring water slowly
on the towel.
It creates a sensation
of drowning.
We've had successive
Central Intelligence Agency
Directors say that
the information gained
from those interrogations
produced a major amount
of the information
that we had about Al Qaeda.
When you use these kind
of tactics
against a, an individual,
uh, he will talk.
Whether he'll tell you the truth
or not is another matter.
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
did not reveal any information
about an operational plot
coming to fruition,
and indeed the CIA
Inspector General
found that nobody interrogated
under the enhanced
interrogation plans,
uh, coughed up information
that allowed us
to stop any ticking time bomb.
The idea of inflicting
suffering on a human being
in order to force them
to speak against their will,
was before 9-11, uh, an anathema
of the United States.
When you talk about
drawing the line,
uh, you don't consider
a prolonged period
of creating the sensation
of drowning,
you don't consider torture?
I don't.
Tell me what terrorist attacks
is that you would have
let go forward,
because you didn't want
to be a mean and nasty fellow.
Are you gonna trade the lives
of a number of people
because you want
to preserve your honor?
Or are you gonna do your job,
do what's required,
first and foremost,
your responsibility to safeguard
the United States of America
and the lives of its citizens.
Now, given a choice
between doing what we did,
or backing off and saying,
"Yeah, we know you know
the next attack
against the United States,
but we're not gonna force you
to tell us what it is,
because it might create
a bad image for us."
That's not a close call for me.
Cheney's desire to protect
America at all costs
leads him to formulate a new
national security philosophy
to deal with the threats
faced by the United States.
He says if there's even
a one percent chance
that terrorists have gotten
their hands
on weapons of mass destruction,
we need to treat it
as a certainty.
100 percent effective defense
against further mass casualty
attacks by the terrorists,
by Al Qaeda.
He really is
the self-appointed examiner
of worst-case scenarios.
What could go on
that would be so bad,
that might even make 9-11
a footnote.
You've got to figure out
where the terrorists are,
what's their base
of operations,
do they have access
to that technology,
how do they have access
to that technology,
is there a state out there,
a state actor that has some
capability in this area, Iraq?
Uh, that is a potential source
for the terrorists.
Why was Iraq important
to Cheney?
It's because it was
in a strategic location
in the Middle East.
The United States
had defeated it once before,
without much difficulty,
and it was, um, a place
where the United States
could show the region its
continuing military power.
In his first State of the Union
speech after 9-11,
Bush names Iraq as a new
foreign policy priority
for the United States.
Iraq continues to flaunt
its hostility toward America
and to support terror.
States like these
and their terrorist allies
constitute an axis of evil
arming to threaten the peace
of the world,
by seeking weapons
of mass destruction.
In the wake of Bush's speech,
Cheney leads
the administration's effort
to make a case that
war with Iraq is justified,
because of Saddam's weapons
of mass destruction.
We know he is, uh,
working once again
on a nuclear program.
We know they have weapons
of mass destruction,
we know they have
active programs.
There isn't
any debate about it.
Of course by 2002,
we got the, uh,
the National
Intelligence Estimate,
and a whole bunch of reporting
that led up to that
that said
he had resumed
his weapons of mass
destruction programs.
the intelligence services,
especially the CIA,
say this is
a very dangerous model,
Mr. President,
Mr. Vice President.
A...there may well be
no weapons,
B...if there are weapons,
when we invade the country
it may be impossible to find
the weapons.
To build a case for war
on weapons of mass destruction,
is a dangerous roll
of the dice.
In 1998,
Bill Clinton ordered strikes
on targets inside Iraq,
um, because he felt
Saddam had refused
to comply with the U.N.
Security Council resolutions,
and in fact come clean on
his weapons of mass destruction.
And the whole intelligence
was collected,
analyzed, and presented,
before George Bush and I ever
got back into the Oval Office.
They never really
had a meeting
about whether they should
attack Iraq.
It was kind of
an incorporated assumption.
The evidence
is overwhelming...
He kept getting out there
on Meet the Press
and the other venues,
but it was all innuendo.
Who did the anthrax attack
last fall, Tim?
We don't know.
Could it have
been Saddam?
I don't know.
I really think there was
a momentum to war.
Cheney is saying,
"We've got to do it,
the intelligence is there."
He had the personnel,
he had the technology,
he had the know-how, he had
a lot of the raw material,
and he had the desire to get
back into the business big time.
He said we have a lot
of allies out there,
but I haven't noticed
any of the Arab states
supporting strong action
against Iraq.
Well, I think, um,
I guess the way
I would characterize it
is that they are
uniformly concerned
about the situation in Iraq.
Bush is insecure
as president.
Cheney brilliantly
exploits this.
Cheney points to Iraq's
refusal to submit
to weapons inspections
as clear proof
that Saddam Hussein is hiding
weapons of mass destruction.
But there is
another explanation.
What Saddam is worried about
is that his neighbors,
and he's got tough neighbors
including the Iranians,
will find out that,
that he's a paper tiger,
that there's nothing here.
Cheney was
cherry-picking intelligence,
interpreting intelligence,
this piece and that piece.
He has been seeking to acquire
the kinds of tubes
that are necessary
to build a centrifuge.
Colin Powell thought Cheney
had a fever
for attacking Iraq.
Powell concluded Cheney
could not,
was always twisting intelligence
and exaggerating it.
Our administration
is moving forward
on an agenda to build a safe
and prosperous future
for the American people.
In August of 2002,
Cheney addresses
the National Convention
of the Veterans
of Foreign Wars.
He presents his most
forceful case yet
for war against Iraq.
Armed with an arsenal
of these weapons of terror
and seated atop ten percent
of the world's oil reserves,
Saddam Hussein could then be
expected to seek domination
of the entire Middle East,
take control of a great portion
of the world's energy supplies
and subject the United States
or any other nation
to nuclear blackmail.
Simply stated,
there is no doubt
that Saddam Hussein now has
weapons of mass destruction,
there is no doubt that
he is amassing them to use
against our friends,
against our allies,
and against us.
There is no basis to discount
any of the concerns
that I am raising this morning.
Three weeks after
Cheney's speech to the VFW,
Bush presses Congress
to authorize a war.
Cheney believes that Bush,
as Commander-in-Chief,
does not need to ask Congress
for permission to attack Iraq.
But Bush decides
that for political reasons,
he needs the backing
of Congress.
America's leadership
and willingness to use force
confirmed by the Congress
is the best way
to ensure compliance
and avoid conflict.
We will continue working closely
with members of Congress
on both sides of the aisle
to build a strong
bipartisan resolution.
They had to win this vote,
and there was a key piece
on that chessboard.
As long as he behaves himself
within his own borders,
we should not be addressing any
attack of resources against him.
Dick Armey, the majority
leader in the house,
a very reliable conservative,
100 percent rating
from all the conservative groups
over the years,
a good friend of Dick Cheney's
over the years.
Do we sometimes get caught up
in wars or conflicts
over purposes that are in fact
not imperative
to maintaining our freedom
and our safety,
I'm afraid sometimes
we do that.
Dick Armey just didn't see it.
This guy Saddam, he said,
he's a clown, he's unfriendly
to the United States,
to his own people,
but a threat, a national
security threat to us?
If Armey had voted no, he would
have given political cover to
dozens and dozens of Democrats
who also wanted to vote no
but were afraid to do it.
This resolution is premature.
There has been no showing
by the Intelligence agencies
or the White House of imminent
danger to the United States.
Mr. President,
this is plain and simple.
A blank check,
given to the President
of the United States,
I won't touch it!
Armey's mind will not change,
and so it comes to Bush's
biggest closer, Dick Cheney,
to go convince his friend
Dick Armey.
Dick Cheney called in Armey
to a little office
he had off the main floor
of the Capitol building,
and he tells Armey a story,
that Saddam Hussein
has made rapid progress
toward the miniaturization
of a nuclear warhead.
He's talking about...
the sort of ultimate terrorist
threat of a suitcase nuke.
He also tells him that Saddam
and his family
have had direct
personal contacts
with Osama bin Laden
and his people,
so that there are
very close ties.
He tells Armey,
"I'm telling you things
that are essentially
too classified
or too scary
to tell the general public,
but in fact,
the situation's actually worse
than we've been portraying."
Almost nothing Cheney told Armey
in that conversation was true.
Armey had a bad feeling
about it,
but here you have the vice
president telling him,
"Saddam has direct ties
to Al Qaeda
and is getting close
to building suitcase nukes."
And at that point, Dick Armey
feels that he cannot,
in good conscience,
vote against the war.
Well, let me begin by thanking
you all for coming.
I'll make a brief statement,
and we'll open up for questions.
I have decided to support
President Bush
and the resolution authorizing
the use of force
to change the current regime
in Iraq.
My decision follows a careful,
exhaustive review
of the facts and evidence
against Saddam Hussein.
What made you change?
The assets that Saddam has
that can be destructive
to people,
uh, weapons of mass destruction,
is greater than what I had
supposed. The degree...
Three days later,
congress votes on whether
to authorize war with Iraq.
As we move towards
final passage,
the choice before us
is this resolution,
imperfect as it is,
or none at all.
Because I believe it is
important for America
to speak with one voice
at this critical moment,
I will give--
I will vote to give
the president
the authority he needs.
I take it on good faith
that Dick Cheney
and George W. Bush cared about
protecting America.
Who wouldn't?
And that they were concerned
and worried, genuinely,
about threats to America.
they rigged the deck.
I have concluded, after careful
and serious consideration,
that a vote for the resolution
best serves the security
of our nation.
When you're in power,
you have the ability
to completely shape
the debate,
particularly when it involves
secret information.
And it's a pretty immense power.
Mr. President,
we trust to you the best
we have to give.
Use them well,
so they can come home
and say to our grandchildren,
"Sleep safely, my baby."
Virtually all the Republicans
voted for this
and half of the Democrats
in the House and Senate.
The I's are 77.
The Nay's are 23.
The joint resolution is passed.
You try to do everything
you can diplomatically,
without resort to force.
But our history is replete
with examples where,
ultimately, we had to use force.
And the argument that this was
a war you wanted?
Why, because liked war?
The opening stage
of the war was
a massive aerial bombardment,
designed to produce
what the pentagon calls
"shock and awe."
When the ground war begins,
the Iraqi army crumbles.
With each passing day,
the Iraqi regime
is losing control
over more of the country.
Coalition forces
are closing in on Baghdad.
We got a med-evac coming on!
Get on the roof.
Tomorrow will mark three weeks
since Operation Iraqi Freedom
and the progress has been
nothing short of spectacular.
Today, Saddam Hussein's
regime is history.
Thirty-five years
into his political career,
Cheney has reached
the pinnacle of his power.
He has reasserted
the presidential authority.
His philosophy is now
American policy.
Thank you all.
It's not enough to say,
as you oftentimes do
in the national security arena,
"There's only a 1 percent chance
that's going to happen."
You can't say, "That'd only
cost us 10,000 lives."
You've got to be prepared
to make certain
they never get through again.
And he's about to fall...
The invasion is complete.
Saddam has been toppled.
But, despite
the administration's assertion
that major combat operations
had ended,
the war in Iraq
is not over yet.
There was a level of violence
people weren't anticipating.
Looting and lawlessness
quickly become rampant.
U.S. troops are not ordered
to intervene.
Donald Rumsfeld wants to bring
them home as soon as possible.
Many are told they will be home
in a month.
His way of thinking was Iraq
is always going to be Iraq.
You're never going
to be able to create
a stable constitutional
government unless you stay there
physically for 20 years,
but let's not
get tied down there.
In the aftermath
of the invasion,
Iraq is under
military occupation.
Governing it
is the responsibility
of the Defense Department.
Two weeks after
the administration
declares victory,
50,000 members of Saddam
Hussein's Ba'ath party
are fired from their jobs
with Rumsfeld's approval.
Most are low level civil
servants who had nothing to do
with Saddam's atrocities.
Without them, Iraq has
no functioning government.
We expected that...
once you took away
that top layer of leadership,
that the professional
bureaucracy underneath
could carry on.
Um, that didn't happen.
Seven days later,
the Iraqi army is disbanded.
General Tommy Franks, who
leads the U.S. forces in Iraq,
has been planning to use
the Iraqi army
to help provide security.
Instead, the ex-soldiers
and fired bureaucrats
form the nucleus of
an anti-American insurgency.
The attacks begin three days
after the dismissal
of the Iraqi army.
Whoa, holy shit!
Oh, fuck.
Holy fuck.
As the situation in Iraq
begins to deteriorate,
the administration
faces questions
about the intelligence
it used to justify the war.
In the days before
the Iraq war began,
President Bush had presented
his final and best case
against Iraq in
his State of the Union address.
He had made a claim
about Saddam Hussein's
nuclear ambitions
that later became
known as "The 16 Words."
The British government has
learned that Saddam Hussein
recently sought
significant quantities
of uranium from Africa.
The origin of "The 16 Words"
dated back to late 2001.
The U.S. had received
a report
that Iraq had bought raw
uranium, known as yellow cake,
from the African country
of Niger.
If properly treated,
yellow cake could be used
in a nuclear weapon.
The CIA and other intelligence
agencies had quickly dismissed
the claim, which had been based
on forged documents.
There was a fellow
in the State Department
who looked at these
and immediately said,
"There's nothing to this."
But Cheney had learned
of the yellow cake report,
and he had asked the CIA
for more information.
The e CIA had then asked
Joe Wilson,
the former U.S. ambassador
to Niger, to investigate.
Wilson was sent over there
to check to see about reports
that the Iraqis were seeking
uranium from Niger.
He knew officials
in the government
and thought he could go and
talk to people and suss it out.
Ambassador Wilson told the CIA
he had found no evidence
confirming the report.
The only thing Wilson
had uncovered was
one brief conversation
between an Iraqi official
and a former Nigerian
prime minister.
The former prime minister had,
in fact, been approached
by an Iraqi delegation
in 1999 wanting
to establish
better communications
and commercial relations
with Niger.
Now, the only thing Niger had
to export was uranium and goats.
And Iraqis had plenty of goats.
Seven months after
Wilson's trip,
Britain's MI6
intelligence agency issued
a public statement saying
that Saddam had, in fact,
tried to buy uranium
from Niger.
Despite Wilson's report
and repeated warnings
from senior CIA officials,
the administration decided
to make the British claim
part of its case for war.
Mr. Speaker,
Vice President Cheney,
members of Congress:
This year we gather
in this chamber, deeply aware
of decisive days that lie ahead.
After the invasion of Iraq,
Joe Wilson goes public
in The New York Times.
That information was erroneous,
and they knew about it
well ahead of both
the publication
of the British white paper
and the president's
State of the Union address.
Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby,
they go ballistic.
I think it was more of
a concern in the office
of the vice president,
frankly, than it was elsewhere
in the White House.
Eight days later, Wilson's wife,
Valerie Plame,
is named in
The Washington Post.
Plame is
an undercover CIA agent.
Her cover is blown.
Someone at 1600 Pennsylvania
may have leaked
the classified identity...
The motive for outing the agent
may have been revenge...
New York Times reports today
an aide learned
about the identity of a CIA
agent from his boss,
Vice President Dick Cheney.
Washington is consumed in this,
something I haven't seen
since the Lewinsky scandal.
People will frequently die
from revelations like this.
I do know that the president
of the United States would
not expect his White House
to behave in that way.
If there's a leak out
of my administration,
I want to know who it is.
And, uh, if the person
has violated law,
that person
will be taken care of.
As the scandal grows,
Deputy Attorney General
James Comey appoints
an independent prosecutor
to investigate.
Effective immediately,
the United States Attorney
for the northern district
of Illinois,
Patrick J. Fitzgerald,
will serve as special counsel
in charge of this matter.
He knew who the source
of the leak was.
It was Rich Armitage
in the State Department,
Colin Powell's deputy,
was the source of the leak.
Fitzgerald does not file
charges against Armitage,
Determining that Armitage
did not know
Plame was
an undercover agent.
Fitzgerald then
investigates whether
any other White House staffers
leaked Plame's name.
The special prosecutor
zeroed in on my office.
Libby goes before a grand jury
and testifies twice under oath.
His testimony,
and the testimony
of reporters he spoke to,
present conflicting accounts
of how Plame's name
was given to the press.
Meanwhile, the military's hunt
for Iraqi weapons
of mass destruction
has turned up
no actual weapons.
They weren't finding
the factories,
they weren't finding
the raw materials,
they weren't finding
the infrastructure...
I firmly believe
that when it's all said and done
the people of the United States
and the world will realize
that Saddam Hussein had
a weapons program.
Where are the weapons
of mass destruction?
Please tell me.
The White House obviously was
getting quite worried,
and a whole narrative
was developing
that they had misled
the country into the war.
Two months after the invasion,
the CIA forms its own weapons
inspection team
to take over the search
from the military.
David Kay, a widely respected
former chief weapons inspector
for the United Nations,
leads the group.
During an exhaustive
eight month search,
he finds nothing.
I think everybody
in the military,
certainly in
the intelligence community,
and certainly the members
of the Iraq survey group
would have hoped by now there
would have been a breakthrough.
You just don't make decisions
like we do,
and put our nations youth
at risk based upon something
that appears not
to have existed.
We know that prior to going in,
that he had spent time
and effort acquiring mobile,
biological weapons labs.
We were quite confident he did,
in fact, have such a program.
We found a couple of
semi-trailers at this point,
which we believe were, in fact,
part of that program.
I would deem that conclusive
evidence, if you will,
that he did, in fact,
have programs
for weapons
of mass destruction.
Six days after Cheney's
weapons inspector David Kay
appears before
the Senate Armed Services
Incredibly enough,
administration leaders
are still saying that we found
weapons of mass destruction,
but today's witness,
Dr. David Kay,
is saying that those two
trailers were for producing
hydrogen for weather balloons
or possibly rocket fuel,
not for biological weapons.
Now the regime of Saddam Hussein
is gone forever,
and at a safe remove
from the danger,
some are now trying to cast
doubt upon the decision
to liberate Iraq.
The ability to criticize
is one of the great strengths
of our democracy, but those
who do so have an obligation
to answer this question:
How could any responsible leader
have ignored the Iraqi threat?
When the facts run against him,
th he tends to come up
with a new rationale
to explain the new facts.
The rationale changes,
but the bottom line doesn't.
We didn't find stockpiles.
We did find that
he had the capability.
And we believed
he had the intent.
We know Saddam Hussein
had the capability
to produce weapons
of mass destruction.
We know Saddam Hussein
had the intent
to arm his regime with weapons
of mass destruction.
Think of how often
Vice President Cheney told us
that we were in imminent danger
from an attack
from Saddam Hussein
because of arsenals
of chemical
and biological weapons
and the rebuilding
of the nuclear weapons in Iraq.
That was the reason we did it.
And then we found out
that we were duped.
I don't know any more
than anyone else knows,
all I know is that the fact
the stockpiles were not found
and the fact that
the administration had, I think,
unwisely placed so much stock
in the idea that there were
existing stocks,
it probably would have been
wiser in retrospect
if the White House had focused
on the fact that the basis
for doing what the president
decided to do was not rooted
in a single thing.
The dispute over the case
for war intensifies
at the same time as a top-secret
spy program comes
under challenge from within
the United States government.
In the wake of 9-11,
Cheney had wanted
to expand electronic
to hunt terrorists
inside the United States.
Cheney and his lawyer,
David Addington,
had helped design a new program
that would keep tabs
on billions of phone calls
and emails.
But existing law said
that a special court had
to issue a warrant
for each individual
the government wanted
to monitor.
Big problem was
it didn't allow us
to get a fast enough turnaround
on threats to be able
to effectively intercept
the communications we needed
to guard against further
prospective attack.
The question then arose,
"Should we go to Congress
and ask them
to adjust the law?"
Dick Cheney was
a strong proponent
of not going to Congress.
Cheney knew the Justice
Department had the power
to write a secret memo saying
that the administration
didn't need any warrants
for the new widespread spying.
Justice had been issued
the memo.
From time to time, there may
be something so sensitive
that you don't want
to raise the possibility
that it might be leaked,
there are some things
that need secrecy.
The administration now undertook
a massive program
of warrantless surveillance
on Americans.
Addington had taken charge
of the paperwork.
The president had to sign
an authorization every 30
or 45 days, or thereabouts,
to keep it going.
The program would have
automatically shut down any time
that approval wasn't granted.
It worked.
It was a good program.
I think it saved
a lot of lives,
and did a lot to allow us
to thwart prospective attacks
by Al Qaeda.
At the end of 2003,
two new people arrived
at the Justice Department.
One is Jack Goldsmith,
who becomes head of
the Office of Legal Counsel,
and there's a new deputy
attorney general, Jim Comey.
Jack Goldsmith starts to look
at this thing,
and the harder
he looks at it,
both the technical side
and legal side,
the more his head
starts to hurt.
Goldsmith and Comey
are conservatives,
they are Republicans.
They just simply happened
not to be adherent
to the notion that the president
need not obey federal law.
The president signed up for it,
lawyers signed up for it,
the regional package
had been reviewed
at the appropriate level
in the Justice Department,
and John Ashcroft
and others had signed up to it.
This debate begins
between Justice
and the Vice President's office,
at the end of December, 2003.
It gets more and more intense
in January and February
and comes to a head in March.
Attorney General John Ashcroft
must sign off on the program
for it to continue.
But he'll only sign
if Comey and Goldsmith
tell him it's okay.
The deadline to renew
the program is drawing closer,
but Cheney does not tell Bush
of the growing resistance
at the Justice Department.
One week before the program
is due to expire,
Comey meets with Ashcroft.
Comey says, "Boss, we've worked
this through every way we can,
we think this,
this and this are illegal.
We don't think
you should sign off on it."
Ashcroft says, "Okay. Go tell
them to make those changes.
If they don't make those
changes, I'm not signing."
Hours after his conversation
with Comey,
Ashcroft is stricken
with acute pancreatitis.
He is rushed to the hospital
and hovers
on the brink of death.
He suddenly decided
when he was sick,
that he was going to delegate
all this authority
to Comey and Comey was then
the acting attorney general.
The next day,
Goldsmith tells Addington
Justice won't recertify
the surveillance program.
It will now expire
in five days.
Three days later, Cheney meets
with Comey and Goldsmith.
The chief of staff was there,
Vice President Cheney,
I was there.
Cheney says to Comey,
"How can you possibly reverse
the department's course
on something this critical
to the security
of the United States."
Comey looks Cheney
right in the eye and says,
"Just because you really want
it, doesn't mean it's legal.
No lawyer who has looked
really hard at this thing
has said it's okay."
David Addington pipes up
and says, "I did."
Comey says,
"No good lawyer."
I'd call it tension
in the air, yeah.
Ladies and gentlemen,
the president
of the United States.
In early March,
Bush is frequently away
from Washington,
campaigning for reelection.
The day before the deadline,
during a brief stop
in the capitol,
Cheney finally tells him that
the warrantless surveillance
program is in danger.
Bush is given the impression
that Ashcroft's been signing
all along, but now his deputy
has got the steering wheel for
five minutes and won't do it.
He doesn't have any idea
there's been a three-month
controversy over this,
or that there are big,
substantive objections.
That night, Comey and two-dozen
other top lawyers at Justice
prepare to resign if the
administration continues spying
without warrants.
It will be
the largest resignation
in the history of
the United States government.
It was Wednesday,
March 10, 2004.
And how do you remember
that date so well?
This was a...
very memorable period
in my life,
the most difficult time
of my entire professional life,
and that night was probably
the most difficult night
of my professional life.
The next day, without telling
Bush that mass resignations are
on the way,
Cheney advises the president
to reauthorize the program
without the approval
of the Department of Justice.
The president extended the
warrantless surveillance program
in the face of the new opinion
of the Justice Department,
that it was illegal.
The program was reauthorized
without us,
without a signature from
the Department of Justice
attesting as to its legality.
I prepared a letter of
resignation intending to resign.
I couldn't stay if
the administration was going
to engage in conduct that
the Department of Justice
said had no legal basis.
I simply couldn't stay.
George Bush doesn't know
what the stakes are.
You had, for example,
the chief of staff
of Attorney General Ashcroft
saying that he's going
to want to resign too,
as soon as he's healthy enough.
You have the director
of the FBI, Bob Mueller,
saying, "If Justice tells me
I can't participate in this,
I'm not going to, and if you
order me to, I'll also resign."
So the president now has
this unprecedented meltdown
happening at
the Department of Justice,
and he does not know it.
Nobody tells him.
This is March of 2004.
Elections coming in November.
This would have been the end
of Bush's presidency,
he would have been
a one-term president.
So the next morning, they have
the morning briefing,
the regular Friday briefing
on the terrorist threat,
and Condi Rice
tells the president,
"Something's on Jim Comey's
mind, he's a good man,
maybe you ought to check."
Bush takes him in to his private
dining room and he says,
"What's all this I hear
about you not signing?
How can you possibly, this
last minute, late in the game,
suddenly tell us it's no good?"
Comey is floored.
He says to the president,
"If your staff
is telling you that,
you are being
very poorly served."
Comey was planning on just
resigning, but he feels now that
the president doesn't
understand what's happening.
Bush tells Comey to change
the surveillance program
and make it legal.
So what you've just had is,
in 24 hours,
the president of the United
States doing a complete 180.
He had, the day before,
signed an order that said,
"In your face,
despite your objections,
I'm authorizing this thing."
The next day, he caves and says,
"No mas, I will do it the way
you say I'm allowed to do it.
I will stop doing the things
you say I can't do."
That is unprecedented
in American history.
In the end, what ended up
revisions were made
to the program and so forth,
we had to adjust and adapt,
which we did.
My personal view, well,
was different in the sense
that I basically
would have let them resign.
Because I thought the program
was perfectly legitimate,
it was totally necessary,
it had been totally approved,
and signed up to
twenty separate occasions
by the attorney general
of the United States. So--
In his memoir, Bush writes
"I never wanted to be
blindsided like that again."
Cheney is an anti-politician.
But no president
can be an anti-politician.
No president
can govern that way.
If you're a man of principle,
compromise is a bit
of a dirty word.
President made
the decision that he wanted
to avoid major controversy.
It was his call.
So that's what we did.
Bush understood that this was
a mortal threat
to his presidency.
He understood for the first time
that Cheney had walked him
right to the edge of a cliff.
And it changed their
relationship forever.
The following month,
another crisis rocks
the administration.
Americans did this
to an Iraqi prisoner.
The nation is shocked by photos
showing horrific abuses
by guards at the Abu Ghraib
prison in Iraq.
Ever since 9-11,
the new war on terrorism
with its new rules.
All eyes have been
on the United States--
Headlines around the world
screamed torture.
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld
personally approved
the use of guard dogs
to intimidate prisoners.
I shared a deep disgust,
those prisoners were treated
the way they were treated.
Everybody knew it was wrong
and the people involved
in doing it--
primarily because they lacked
adequate supervision.
Ultimately, were dealt
with appropriately
under the uniform code
of military justice.
Questions remain about whether
what was happening in Abu Ghraib
was actually official policy.
it shook loose the fact
that memos have been written
approving techniques like these
in certain circumstances
and it created a national debate
about whether the United States
was engaged in torture,
and if so, should it be?
With Abu Ghraib
and some of the practices
at Gitmo,
became hugely embarrassing
to the administration.
Who is in charge
of the interrogations?
Did they have authority
over the guards
and what were the instructions
that they gave to the guards?
General Smith,
do you want to respond?
No, Secretary Rumsfeld,
in all due respect,
you've got to answer
this question
and this is a pretty simple
straightforward question.
Pressure's mounting
for Rumsfeld's resignation
both inside and outside
the administration.
There are new calls
for Rumsfeld to go.
Charlie Rangel,
Democratic congressman, said:
"If Rumsfeld does not resign,
he should be impeached."
For the benefit of the United
States, for our country,
I believe Mr. Rumsfeld
has to resign.
Rumsfeld sends a resignation
letter to Bush.
President looked at making
a change in Defense
and I argued against it.
Our policies in Iraq
were going well
and I thought we were doing
the right thing
and the strategy
that was being pursued
was the president's strategy.
Cheney issues a statement
defending Rumsfeld, saying:
"People should get off his case
and let him do his job."
Cheney convinces Rumsfeld
not to resign.
Saudi Arabia is making raids
and arrests.
Libya is dismantling
its weapons' programs.
The army of a free Iraq
is fighting for freedom
and more than three quarters
of Al Qaeda's key members
and associates have been
detained or killed.
Despite the ongoing war
and falling approval ratings,
Bush defeats John Kerry
to win re-election in 2004.
This was an historic election.
And once again,
I have delivered
the state of Wyoming
for the Bush-Cheney ticket.
The two men shared the stage,
for the public celebration
but behind closed doors,
the rift is growing
between Bush and Cheney.
George Bush's two terms
were almost
two different presidencies.
The second term was rough
on both of them,
rough on their relationship,
it was rough on their
relationship with the cabinet,
it was rough on their
relationships with their staffs.
It's not about them, of course,
it's about the country.
But the country was going
through two wars
and having a tough time of it.
In 2000, Bush had promised
to restore honor and integrity
to the White House.
He is frustrated by the ongoing
criminal investigation
of Cheney's chief of staff
Scooter Libby.
A few hours ago,
a federal grand jury,
sitting in District of Columbia,
returned a five count indictment
against I. Lewis Libby,
also known as Scooter Libby,
the vice president's
chief of staff.
Libby is indicted,
not for the leak itself,
but for lying to investigators.
Scooter did not leak
that information.
The investigation should have
been closed at that point,
problem solved.
'Cause that was the issue that
they set out to investigate.
It was a very skillful
Washington insider
that served the vice president
pretty well.
I think that's one of the
reason's why people target him.
Fitzgerald, once he got
appointed special prosecutor,
was determined to try to find
somebody in the White House
that he could nail.
All he could come up with
through that whole effort
were charges against Scooter.
That he had misled
and obstructed justice.
Once the indictment
is announced,
Libby resigns, costing Cheney
his most senior aide.
News reports about the scandal
in Cheney's office
are a constant distraction
for President Bush.
But the news from Iraq
is much worse.
By January 2006, the war has
dragged on for almost 3 years.
We may well have
some kind of presence here
over a period of time,
but the level of activity
that we see today,
from a military standpoint,
I think will clearly decline.
I think they're in the last
throes of insurgency.
Sectarian strife is rampant.
Shiite militias murder Sunnis
with impunity.
Al Qaeda in Iraq
kill Shiites daily.
500 Iraqi civilians
die that January.
Insurgent attacks
are up to 75 a day.
Sixty two Americans soldiers
are killed,
bringing the total to 2,243.
American troops are now
in the middle
of a full-blown
Iraqi civil war.
Get back! Get back!
We're not winning.
So it's grave and deteriorating
and we're not winning.
Um, we are losing.
This is the time now to start
to put in place the kinds
of strategies that will turn
this situation around.
Rumsfeld and Cheney
say this war is not going
as badly as people say.
I didn't think it was time
for us to be signaling
a change in policy.
Stock market's open.
The free press is there.
They've got television,
they've got radio, they've got--
Schools are open.
Dick Cheney and Rumsfeld,
they're almost like one person.
Brothers for decades.
Men who rise together,
men who finish
each other's sentences.
They've had this long
professional relationship,
but it was also a deeply
personal relationship.
There was a sense that they had
sort of an alliance based on
thirty years of working for
one another and friendship.
There's very little evidence
that Cheney went to Rumsfeld
and said, "Don, we've gotta
change course."
So many American soldiers
were killed,
so many Iraqis were killed,
Cheney should've been all over
Rumsfeld on this.
Went on, not just for months,
but for years.
Bush is losing faith
in Rumsfeld
as a leader for the war.
He's no longer an effective
spokesman for the Pentagon.
Politically, they're facing
Congressional elections.
It now looks like the Democrats
will, in fact,
win control of the House
of Representatives.
Disapproval of George Bush and
disapproval of the Iraq war--
I think they were one percentage
point apart.
So this is a referendum.
Bush admits that we took
a thumping
and he decides
to dismiss Donald Rumsfeld.
He told Cheney and Cheney said,
"I don't agree
with that decision."
The president took me aside
and said,
he didn't say,
"I'm thinking about it,
"I'm gonna make a change."
He didn't want another debate,
we had that debate
a couple of times.
President knew
how I felt about it,
and asked me if I wanted to be
the one to deliver the news.
That was easier for him.
He didn't have to do it.
But I also, um--
I was the right guy to do it.
Good afternoon and welcome
to today's review in honor
of Secretary Defense
Donald Rumsfeld.
My first association
with Don Rumsfeld,
was one of life's
great turning points,
both professionally
and personally.
On the professional side,
I would not be where I am today
but for the confidence
that Don first placed in me
those many years ago.
And on the personal side,
it's enough to say
that I have no better friend
and ask for none.
I've never worked harder
for a boss
and I've never learned
more from one either.
I believe the records
speak for itself.
Don Rumsfeld is the finest
Secretary of Defense
this nation has ever had.
The way the history works,
you don't get a lot of credit
for what didn't happen.
This is one of
those kinds of situations,
it isn't so much
what you achieved
as is what you prevented.
How you safeguarded
against further attacks
against the United States.
I think that's
a major accomplishment.
Mindful of the frustrations
that many Americans
are expressing to you,
do you believe you need
to make any adjustments
on how you run the White House?
Many of your senior staff
have been with you
from the beginning.
Uh, I've got a--
staff of people that have,
first of all,
placed their country
above their self interest.
Very popular administration
that had handled themselves
very well after 9-11
was suddenly becoming unpopular.
And it was not just unpopular
by every three months,
but by the day.
Cheney's approach to foreign
policy and national security
put Bush in a position of real
danger in terms of his legacy.
Cheney's influence
was somewhat diminished
and Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice
was very, very close
to the president.
It was sort of-- Her
influence was ascendant.
In the last two years
of the administration,
Cheney remains deeply worried
that rogue states will spread
weapons of mass destruction
around the world.
He advocates a hard line against
nuclear armed North Korea,
Rice prefers diplomacy.
North Korea had tested weapons
and it was their first
nuclear weapons' test.
It was in the fall of '06.
Should've been some effective
sanctioned imposed
or some fairly
dramatic action taken.
Condi disagreed.
Bush chooses Rice's approach.
Are you concerned that hard
liners within the administration
may undermine your efforts,
the State Department's efforts--
Well, I think
they said the efforts
of the United States government,
the last time I looked.
Cheney's concerns about
treating North Korea
too gently are soon realized.
The administration
obtains evidence
that North Korean scientists
are working on a new
nuclear reactor in Syria.
The reactor's
in the middle of the desert.
There's no population
around at any place.
They tried to hide it.
You can't say
it's to generate electricity,
there's no power line
coming out of it.
It's just out there for
production of plutonium.
You don't want Syria
to have that capability,
that they might be able to pass
along to Hamas or Hezbollah
or Al Qaeda.
When the intelligence agencies
discovered that Syria was
building a reactor that could
soon make material
for nuclear weapons,
they had policy debates
about it.
Condi recommended taking it
to the United Nations.
I strongly recommended
that we ought to take it out.
Cheney was just a voice alone
saying we have to attack
and destroy this reactor.
I thought it would sort of again
reassert the kind of authority
and influence
we had back in '03.
When we took down
Saddam Hussein
and eliminated Iraq
as a potential source of WMD.
There's certain lines out there
and you do not cross them.
And one of those lines
is you don't provide nuclear
to terrorist-sponsoring states.
And Condi was on the wrong side
of all those issues.
So we had significant
Cheney was advising again,
a very robust and in this case,
unilateral strike against Syria.
I argued in front of the group
and in front of the president,
got all through
making the case again
and I thought
I was rather eloquent.
At one point, President Bush
literally rolled his eyes.
The president said,
"All right, how many people
agree with the vice president?"
And nobody put their hand up.
He was isolated
and quite irrelevant.
In the waning days
of the administration,
Cheney presses Bush
one last time
over what Cheney considers
a vitally important issue.
We do have news on
former White House aide
Lewis "Scooter" Libby,
he has been sentenced
to 30 months in prison.
In 2007, Scooter Libby had been
convicted of four felonies
relating to the Valerie Plame
Prosecutor Fitzgerald
told the court today,
"Libby's lies created a house
of mirrors for investigators."
And Fitzgerald implored
the judge to impose
a tough sentence to make it
clear that truth matters.
He was sentenced to 30 months
in prison, a $250,000 fine.
He did not want what was
going on in his office
and the vice president's office
where he worked to come out.
So there are a lot of fingers
pointing at Dick Cheney.
The most immediate question for
Libby, and therefore for Cheney,
was whether or not Libby
was going to jail.
The president
commuted his sentence
so he didn't have
to go to prison.
Which, when you think of it,
is an outrageous
proposition anyway.
But he wasn't pardoned.
The end of the administration
is swiftly drawing near.
Before he and Bush
leave office,
Cheney wants a full pardon
for Libby.
I know he got a lot of advice,
from inside, from his staff,
not to do it.
So I--
I was pretty much alone
in terms of my recommendation.
I pushed very hard for a pardon.
I thought a pardon
was appropriate.
But the president
made the decision
that there weren't going
to be any more pardons.
It stuck with Bush that Libby
had not been truthful.
And that he had gotten
the punishment that he deserved.
Bush was absolutely adamant
that Libby
did not merit pardoning.
That was--
That struck close to home.
I felt that we were leaving
a good man wounded
on the battlefield.
Cheney got right into Bush's
face, was very hot about it,
very insistent that it would be
dishonorable and disgraceful
not to pardon Libby.
It was a major strain
on our relationship.
Obviously a source
of considerable friction.
And it got so bad,
that Bush said to aides,
"I don't want any more visits
by Dick Cheney.
I don't want to take
another phone call from him."
President had the power
to fix it
and to make it right
and he chose not to.
The relationship
between Bush and Cheney
never recovered.
It has yet to recover.
Cheney, one of the monumental
figures in American politics,
in the end,
did not work as well.
I, Barack Hussein Obama,
do solemnly swear,
That I will execute...
The last day after we had
the inaugural ceremony,
he and I departed
out to Andrew Air Force base.
President Obama was kind enough
to allow one last flight
to take President Bush
home to Texas
and Vice President Cheney
home to Wyoming.
A few of us, not many, flew home
to his Wyoming home.
I escorted him
and went in the car,
and I remember reaching in,
and shaking his hand and saying,
"Mr. Vice President, on behalf
of a grateful nation,
thank you for your four years
of service to the country."
And the door closed
and he went off to his home.
That was sort of my last memory
of Dick Cheney, serving him.
I don't run around thinking,
"Gee, I wish we'd done this,
or I wish we'd done that."
The world is as you find it,
you gotta deal with that.
And you get one shot,
you don't get do-overs.
So I don't spend a lot of time
thinking about it.
I think, because
the president wanted it to be
a consequential vice presidency,
it was.
I think we did a very
commendable piece of work.
Under difficult circumstances,
with a full understanding
it wasn't popular with everybody
and we were gonna take
a lot of incoming fire.
For the people who don't like
Dick Cheney,
they're gonna see him
as the Darth Vader
he always was during
the Bush administration.
On the other hand, I think there
are a lot of people who see him
as the leading edge of the Bush
administration's efforts
to insure that there wasn't
another large scale attack
on the United States
and for that group,
they'll be very grateful.
Cheney is maybe
in a Venn diagram of one,
of people who are geniuses
at political power,
at understanding and acquiring
power, and who are zealots.
If you have someone who is both,
he's gonna move the needle
in history.
I don't lay awake
at night thinking,
"Gee, what are they gonna say
about me now?"
I didn't worry about it a lot
when I was doing it,
and I thought,
the best way to get on
with my life and my career was
to do what I thought was right.
And I did what I did,
it's all on the public record,
and I feel very good about it.
If I had to do it over again,
I'd do it in a minute.