OTR Interviews

Ingraham's Take: Obama vs. Cheney

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 21, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Moments ago, Laura Ingraham went "On the Record" about the president -- about President Obama and former Vice President Cheney's dueling national security speeches.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: Laura, nice to see you.

LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Nice to see you.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, this is called the sort of the dueling national security speeches between former vice president Cheney and President Obama. Do you think anyone's opinion in this country has changed? Did someone listen to one of them and say, Oh, now I agree with that?

INGRAHAM: Well, I don't know. I think the fringes on -- on both sides probably aren't going to be swayed one way or another.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... now I agree with that?

INGRAHAM: Well, I don't know. I think the fringes on both sides probably will not be swayed one way or another.

But I think it is interesting that CNN, your old employer, just came out with a poll that showed the vice-president's approval ratings are up eight points since January. Isn't that interesting?

VAN SUSTEREN: To what?

INGRAHAM: It is still below 50 percent, but there's definite positive movement. And you have to ask yourself, why is that?

And after listening to both of these speeches today, and remember, the vice president's speech was scheduled for weeks.

VAN SUSTEREN: This was just a --

INGRAHAM: No, I do not think it was a coincidence. President Obama knew that as Vice President Cheney was delivering this speech at the American Enterprise Institute.

I think he put his speech at the National Archives with the backdrop of the constitution ever mindful of the stagecraft, which I think he's really good at, I mean, staging an event, making it look good.

And I think he wanted to rebut with the vice president has been saying, not just today, but has been saying over the last several weeks about the Bush terror policies.

Do I think people in the middle who may not be thinking about this issue heard something in what the vice president said today? I think so. And President Obama tried to appeal to all sides in his speech. I'm not sure it was all that convincing.

VAN SUSTEREN: Maybe I am in a sarcastic mode.

INGRAHAM: Good. Late at night, it is always fun to be sarcastic.

VAN SUSTEREN: I think they are gaming us. The two of them, sort of the dueling speeches. And you tell me that Vice President Cheney's was posted before. But these are serious issues.

And then, of course, we have the big battle, do we call it "torture" or "enhanced interrogation"? We have the battle of the words. That's a little weird.

INGRAHAM: I think there are a lot of people who want to turn this into a personality contest, whether Obama delivers a wonderful speech, he used the flip up teleprompter today, and Vice President Cheney read a speech just like most of us do when we give speeches. People are focusing on that. But the fact of the matter is, these interrogation techniques either helped us get key information, or they did not.

VAN SUSTEREN: Which brings me to the question of the documents --

INGRAHAM: Either Obama did not point out the specifics of why these did not keep us safe, or made us less safe. I would like to have heard that from President Obama.

VAN SUSTEREN: What I would like is former Vice President Cheney has asked to have documents declassified. He says those documents will vindicate his position that enhanced interrogation techniques or torture protected us, that there were some attacks that were thwarted.

Those documents are not classified because they're subject to a Freedom of Information Act request. The CIA has turned down. I think that is terrible.

INGRAHAM: Well, the Obama administration has the ability to get these released. The president, and Vice President Cheney challenging him today, Greta --

VAN SUSTEREN: That's the gaming aspect I'm saying, is that we're consumed with this, and we will spend days and days and day because it will take a lot to get it out.

INGRAHAM: All right, but it is an important question, is it not. Did these enhanced interrogation of three people, just three, did that help us or did it hurt us? That is a simple question.

And I have also heard that some of these -- the redacted parts of those memos don't reveal as much to vindicate what Vice President Cheney says, as he is now saying. I do not know what is in there. But it would be nice to say, would it not? It would be nice to know.

And if it doesn't hurt the president's case that this is making us less safe, why wouldn't he just reveal it at this point? I mean, I don't see why it matters.

VAN SUSTEREN: I would like the documents. I think the same thing as Speaker of the House Pelosi has asked for documents to be released to whether or not what she was told, who was present in terms of the CIA briefings.

INGRAHAM: That is the story I want to keep talking about.

VAN SUSTEREN: Those documents, provided that it does not jeopardize any ongoing covert action, get them out.

INGRAHAM: One thing that is also interesting is the president said, Greta, I have it here, he said "We must use all elements of our power to defeat it, terrorism, and specifically Al Qaeda, that we must use every tool at our disposal to beat back these forces," because he said people are plotting right now to kill Americans. He said that a couple times during the speech.

The point is we're not using all elements of our power to defeat it. We have taken tactic after tactic, from facial grabbing to pushing someone against a wall, off the table. That is not all elements of our power.

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, the idea of whether or not enhanced interrogation techniques or torture works, and frankly --

INGRAHAM: You think facial grabbing is torture?

VAN SUSTEREN: No, no, but I am very deferential to what Senator McCain has to say, because he is the one person of all of us who has real experience. The rest of us are side-liners.

INGRAHAM: I do not think he thinks facial grabbing is torture.

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't think he does either --

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: But the thing is that, I am very deferential to the people who have actually gone through it. He says -- and I am deferential to his view, because I haven't been the subject of it, and I think the rest of us are on the sidelines.

However, I do want to see the documents that Vice President Cheney has either teased us with or says exists. And I think the Obama administration should release it so we can see.

INGRAHAM: Greta, another issue that was brought up today in a "New York Times" piece about this indefinite detention that will be allowed in one of the five categories of detainees that President Obama alluded to today in his speech.

There is one category that he thinks of people who are a danger to the country, danger to Americans, but cannot be tried. And in that category of people, he will allow indefinite detentions.

So, where is the left on that? They cannot be satisfied with that, because during the campaign, he said what about this indefinite detention? We cannot hold people indefinitely.

But, apparently, if you're in that fifth category that he says is so painful and difficult to deal with, well, you can be held indefinitely. So, to be continued.

VAN SUSTEREN: To be continued. Laura, thank you very much. Nice to see you.

INGRAHAM: Great to see you, as always, absolutely.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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