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Hannity

Dick Cheney Details New Memoir on Political and Personal Life

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 30, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And welcome to a special edition of "Hannity." Vice President Dick Cheney, he served for eight years alongside President George W. Bush in the White House. Now, Vice President Cheney along with his daughter Liz are recounting his long career in politics in the brand new book "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir."

Now, I traveled to the beautiful state of Wyoming to sit down with the former Vice President.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

Mr. Vice President, it's so good to see you.

DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: Good to see you again, Sean. Welcome to Wyoming.

HANNITY: You know, it is beautiful here. Now I know why you have a lot of this great state.

Dick Cheney, "In My Time" with Liz Cheney by the way, "A Personal and Political Memoir." You have been working on this for a long time.

CHENEY: We have. We started out on it, spent two full years on it basically. I started it after I left office. I had a lot of materials, notes, oral histories, things like that that had been done over the years. But in terms of actually working on the book, having a contract, it has been the last two years.

HANNITY: Yes, you know, one of the things that keep coming up and I know a lot of people are concerned obviously, you had a heart attack in 1978.

CHENEY: Right.

HANNITY: You had quadrupled bypass. In the course of your life, you ended up with five heart attacks.

CHENEY: Right.

HANNITY: Recently you had a very tough struggle. I guess they have new technology, mechanical heart pump. And I read that you don't have a pulse, is that true?

CHENEY: Well, there's a pulse there but it is very weak.

HANNITY: Yes.

CHENEY: And the pump, it is called a VAD, Ventricular Assist Device. And at the time they put it in, I was in the latter stages of heart failure. It has been a little over a year now and it has really worked beautifully. I'm a big fan.

HANNITY: How do you feel now? You know, and this is what I -- it struck me because it came up a lot during the book, even when President Bush was asking you to be his vice president. You know, you brought up the issues of your heart. And since the age of 37, you've had to deal with that at least in the back of your mind. That's got to be difficult, psychologically.

CHENEY: Well, it would be if you worried about it every day. You can't let yourself do that. What happened in my case was, I had that first heart attack in the middle of my first campaign for Congress. And found myself in the Emergency Room at Cheyenne Memorial Hospital, 37-years-old. And all of a sudden, heart attack. Does that mean I have to give up my political careers, the campaign over and so forth? And I asked the doctor taking care of me, a guy named Rick Davis, has gotten to be a good lifelong friend, if I had to forego the campaign. And he said, look, he said, hard work never killed anybody, if you want to do it, go do it. He said, the worst thing would be to spend your life doing something you don't want to be doing.

And I took that advice and I sort of crossed that bridge back in 1978. And I've always operated on the basis, obviously, you do the things that an intelligent man would do. You don't smoke. Take care of yourself. Watch what you eat. But I've been able, partly because of technologies staying ahead of my disease, to have my entire political career, has taken place after that first heart attack.

HANNITY: It is amazing how far they've come and all of these things. So, I'm glad you are feeling better, so I'm glad.

CHENEY: Fifteen months ago, I was a very sick puppy. But today, I'm in much better shape thanks to the technology and some great doctors.

HANNITY: That's great news.

Do you miss the day-to-day? Do you miss the involvement? Do you miss being vice president? What did you like most about the job? What did you dislike the most?

CHENEY: Well, I loved the job. It was a great fun to go back after all those years and settle in, in the White House, in an office there in the West Wing right next to the one I'd occupied 20 years before as White House chief of staff. When I went back as vice president, I was the oldest guy in the West Wing. I had been one of youngest back in the Nixon administration when I had first gone in. And to have the opportunity after service in the Congress for 10 years, and through Desert Storm at the Defense Department and so forth. Time with Ford to have the perspective of that experience was very valuable for me. But it was great to have the opportunity to come back and sort of sit there and look back on that experience and deal with the issues we had to deal with.

Of course, President Bush had a huge, huge set of issues within months of our return. All of a sudden 9/11 occurs. And we are in the midst of a war on terror and that just totally dominated everything we did then for the next seven-and-a-half years. It wasn't anything you could have planned on before you arrived. But in many respects, I felt the experiences I had before, my service on the House Intelligence Committee, my time as secretary of Defense, overseeing a big part of the intelligence community. All of those things stood me in good stead, when we got into the global war on terror. And that set of concerns we have to face after 9/11.

HANNITY: You talk about one of the saddest days in your life is the hunting accident with your friend. And you describe it in detail.

CHENEY: Right.

HANNITY: As I was reading this, you always had a medical team as part of your staff that would follow you wherever you went.

CHENEY: Right.

HANNITY: And you talked about it, very open about it. And you know, that was a hard day. Tell us about it.

CHENEY: Well, it was. I was, one of the things I loved to do was to hunt quail in South Texas -- and on the Armstrong ranch out there, they were longtime friends of ours. And it was on such a hunt when I -- it was my fault, I accidentally shot, didn't know that one of my compatriots had come up beside us. It was late in the day, the sun was starting down and visibility wasn't that good. But a bird flashed, I turned and fired. And fortunately it was a 28 gauge, smaller shotgun. But obviously it was devastating in terms of it hit him in the upper body. He had protective goggles on, so his eyes weren't injured.

But Harry Whittington, the gentleman I was hunting with, could not have been kinder about the whole thing. He was more worried about me and the press flap that was bound to develop than he was about his own situation. The good thing was that we had my medical crew with me. They were always with me, they were more likely to get business --

HANNITY: That probably helped a lot.

CHENEY: Yes.

HANNITY: Yes.

CHENEY: Rather than working with the president. But they did a remarkable job immediately on the scene. And we always had an ambulance in my motorcade. He was loaded in the ambulance. Taken to the hospital in Corpus Christi, and fully recovered.

But, one of the interesting things, the -- when I was sick last year in the Intensive Care Unit for five weeks and so forth, I got a lot of letters from people around the country. One of the very nicest, most thoughtful ones was from Harry Whittington. It really was a remarkable message and he's just a great gentleman. And we've managed to get through all of that and all the late night jokes, the comedians and so forth.

HANNITY: Including President Bush you talked about...

CHENEY: President Bush. Provided a lot of material for the Gridiron Dinner and for Jay Leno and --

HANNITY: Well, I used to use a joke on the stump too, the reason that Alan Colmes left "Hannity and Colmes" was because I gave him a birthday present which was an all expense paid hunting trip with you.

CHENEY: OK.

HANNITY: And he's never talked to me again. I know, you've heard them all.

CHENEY: We kept track of some. Some were pretty good.

HANNITY: Yes.

CHENEY: It was the event itself, for me was devastating. I mean, this was one of the most difficult things I ever had to go through. But it was my fault. And I wished it hadn't happened.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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