Fox News
September 01, 2011

Dick Cheney Describes Tense Moments in White House Surrounding Scooter Libby

Guests: Dick Cheney, former vice president

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," September 1, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And welcome back to "Hannity" as we continue with former Vice President Cheney, his controversial memoir "In My Time." It hit book stores this week. As we have been discussing it contains some very candid moments from his eight years in office including his request for former President Bush to pardon Scooter Libby. He said, "Mr. President, you're leaving a good man wounded on the field of battle."

I want to go back to this one second here because you -- you write about this extensively and, you know, you said that you were angry about this and you used those words.

Bring us inside. Was the conversation in the Oval Office? Where did that conversation or that final conversation take place?

DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: Well, this particular one was actually in the small office next to the Oval Office where we used to eat lunch once a week. It's where the president had lunch just about every day and this was the last meeting of, you know, eight years worth of meetings where the two of us would sit down alone and talk about whatever was on his mind or on my mind. And those were great sessions, important sessions but this was one, obviously, that took place under this cloud that, at that meeting, he informed me there weren't going to be any more pardons and, as a result of that, that meant that Scooter wasn't going to have a pardon and I thought he thoroughly deserved one. I thought he was an innocent man who had been badly treated by the system.

HANNITY: That's a pretty harsh word, especially because we -- I think we both know how -- how deeply the president feels about people that have put their lives on the line. I have seen him with the families of the fallen. Was it contentious? Was there yelling? Was it friendly?

CHENEY: No it was -- there was tension in the room I would say. He felt strongly about it. I felt strongly about it. A short time later we went out to Andrews Air Force Base on our last day in office after we had sworn in President Obama and so forth and we flew out to Andrews and at Andrews we had sort of a departure ceremony where we had a lot of the people who had worked for us for eight years gathered together in a hangar out there and I got up and -- and introduced the president and said some very nice things about him and we did sort of a joint departure ceremony if you will and then he went and got on the airplane and flew back to Texas and we went back to Wyoming.

So, it was -- it was done professionally. I have got a lot of respect for George Bush. I was delighted to work for him, honored to be asked, pleased that he gave me tremendous opportunities to serve. As I say, he made many courageous decisions as president. I had hoped that this would be one of them but, unfortunately, it wasn't.

HANNITY: You suggested to President Bush that he replace you mid way in 2004.

CHENEY: I did. I thought it was important for him to think about it. We had been through the experience with his father, something he'd talked about previously, where, as we approached, I guess it would have been the '92 election, and his father was running for re-election and the question was whether or not he should have gotten a new vice president, not to say anything negative about Dan Quayle, but that's one of the few things a candidate can do at that time to try to bring some new wrinkle to the campaign, and I thought it was very important that he think about that. After four years I was a target for a lot of my critics, Darth Vader and so forth.

HANNITY: Still are.

CHENEY: Still are. Still am. And, I thought it should be a conscious decision and I wanted him to know that if he made the decision that he wanted to have somebody else in that job for his second term that was fine by me and I --

HANNITY: And how did that go over?

CHENEY: Well, the first couple of times he didn't pay a lot of attention to me when I said it. I went back in a third time and I said, "Mr. President, you really need to think about this. I'm -- I'm happy to continue to serve if that's what you want but you need to know that I'm perfectly happy to -- to leave and make room for somebody else on the ticket." And so, then, he went away and thought about it for a few days and came back and said, "No, Dick," he said, "This is a great team and we're going to continue as we have." And he was, you know, I was glad he picked me but I was also glad the he felt -- I felt he had the opportunity to make a change if he wanted.

HANNITY: I noticed in one of the interviews that you recently gave that there was an -- I guess the liberal media, you know how they work, but I -- I felt that they were trying to put a wedge between you and President Bush or for you to sort of take over and say no, I really made these decisions and you -- you kept going back again and again, even on the Scooter Libby decision, on every other decision, there was a moment where you were alone with the president where he said, "Dick you stay," and he wanted your opinion but you said no, no, no these were his decisions.

CHENEY: Yes.

HANNITY: What do you think of his ability, what do you think of his presidency and how will history judge the Presidency of George W. Bush with you being his vice president?

CHENEY: Well, I think, set me aside for a moment, administrations don't rise or fall in the estimate of the historians based on the vice president, not ordinarily, I mean that's -- it's a pretty rare occurrence. I think when you look at George Bush's Presidency you'll find, and -- and a hundred years from now we'll look back on it and see that it was a very consequential presidency, had a big impact, partly because of 9/11 and the aftermath of 9/11 because of all that we did to keep the country safe for the 7-1/2 years after 9/11 so that there were no further mass casualty attacks against the United States.

The president made some very, very big decisions like the terrorist surveillance program or the enhanced interrogation programs, the decisions with respect to Afghanistan and Iraq. These were life and death decisions, really, and I think as a direct result of what he did as president we got through that period in relatively good shape as you look back on it now. I think he was a bold, decisive leader and I give him a lot of credit for the quality, if you will, of his presidential leadership.

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