This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," August 11, 2007.
PAUL GIGOT, FOX HOST: This week on the "Journal Editorial Report," Dick Cheney, the man liberals love to hate. From his Iraq role to influence on the Bush administration policies, we will look at one of history's most controversial vice presidents.
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GIGOT: Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot. Before he became George W. Bush's running mate in the 2000 election, political veteran Dick Cheney called the vice presidency a cruddy job, but my guest this week says during his tenure as second in command, Cheney has transformed the traditionally weak office into a focal point of executive power, not to mention liberal ire.
Stephen Hayes is the author of "Cheney," the untold story of America's most powerful and controversial vice president. He joins me from Washington.
Steve Hayes welcome.
STEPHEN HAYES, AUTHOR, "CHENEY": Good to be with you, Paul.
GIGOT: You spent a couple years on this book. What's the single most surprising fact about Dick Cheney most Americans don't know?
HAYES: I think it is one of these things I didn't know actually when I started the project. And it is that Dick Cheney technically worked for Ted Kennedy, which I think most people find hard to believe. But when Cheney came to Washington in the 1960s, he came as part of a fellowship that required him to spend half of his time in the House and half of his time in the Senate. And after he finished the House part he drew an assignment working for Ted Kennedy. Not only working for Ted Kennedy but doing media relations for Ted Kennedy.
GIGOT: On that point, when I first went to Washington, Dick Cheney was seen as likeable, moderate, reasonable Republican. He wasn't one of the bomb throwers like Newt Gingrich in Congress. Why has his reputation been transformed in the last six years?
HAYES: It is amazing whether you go back and survey sort of the history of political, press coverage of Dick Cheney over the years. He had almost universally favorable coverage in a way that's really odd not only for a Republican, but anybody in Washington.
I think the difference is that he has been, as vice president, incredibly powerful that everyone acknowledges, but also secretive because he believes these are national security issues he is deal with primarily, not things he wants to talk about in the open. Nothing the Washington Press Corps I think dislikes more than somebody who is powerful and secretive at the same time.
GIGOT: Do you think the penchant for secrecy that is real — when you interview Dick Cheney, he is not the most forthcoming man, at least in my experience. Is that penchant for secrecy hurt him?
HAYES: I think it has. One thing that's interesting to me is that it doesn't bother him that people are up in arms about it. He takes a long view. He says I have a job to do. There are things in the national security realm that should not be talked about in public. I am not going to talk about them and engage the press on them.
GIGOT: People he worked with in the past, like Brent Scowcroft, former national security advisor, who say that the Cheney they see now is not the same man they knew 20 or 30 years ago. Is that a fair point? Was 9/11 responsible in part for changing Dick Cheney in a significant way?
HAYES: There is no question it was. I think there is a debate among Cheney's friends and colleagues who have known him for a long time as to how much he has changed. Some say he is the same guy. Other people, like Brent Scowcroft say no, no, this is a different person.
There is no question that 9/11 changed him, not only the way he looked at the nature of the threat, the threats that face the United States, but also changed him personally. I had one top Bush administration official who Cheney worked closely with for several years tell me he really wears the burden heavily. He takes it personally, that he sees it is as his responsibility to prevent the next attack to keep America safe and obviously that's a huge responsibility if you internalize that.
GIGOT: In your book you ask — you point out you once asked Secretary of State Rice what was the single most important influence Cheney had on the administration and she said conceptualizing the way the administration thinks about the war on terrorism and the threat of Islamic terrorism. Can you explain what she meant by that?
HAYES: It was a really interesting response from her. I think what she was trying to say is just in the days after September 11, you had raw reports coming into the senior administration officials one after another, after another. And the other thing that Dr. Rice said was that she had trouble even digesting them and so many did other people.