This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 6, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: With 92 days to go, Republicans are striking back at the baseless attacks on Mitt Romney, as Nancy Pelosi joins in with a ridiculous statement of her own.
Now, tonight, Dick Morris, Senator Joe Lieberman, Fred Thompson, and the man rumored to be on Mitt Romney's VP short list, Governor Bob McDonnell will all be here tonight. But first, I traveled to Wyoming for an exclusive interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney, to talk vice presidential picks, Sarah Palin, President Obama, and much more.
HANNITY: Neither you, nor President Bush will be going to the Republican Convention. You just made an announcement recently about it. Why?
DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: Well, after you've been there, and I've been to a lot of conventions. I mean, going back to '72, the Nixon re-election convention, and then being Ford's chief of staff, overseeing an operation at '76. And as a delegate from Wyoming, and as a vice presidential candidate, once you've done all of that, to go back now, with no role, I mean, what would I do? Sit in the gallery and watch? You can see it on television. And I see I got a fishing trip planned.
HANNITY: A few people might still want to see you.
CHENEY: Well, they might, but it's going to be the Mitt Romney show. It ought to be. He's our nominee. He ought to be the focal point. And, you know, I'm happy to do whatever I can to help, but they don't need to see me at the convention. I mean, I'm pretty well known at this stage of the game, and this is a new era, if you will, and a new set of officeholders.
I think it's very important that we defeat Barack Obama. I think he's been a terrible president. Frankly, I fundamentally disagree with him on anything. And I think Mitt Romney is going to win. But we just did a big fundraiser for Mitt here in -- at our home here in Jackson Hole.
HANNITY: The biggest in --
CHENEY: The biggest in the history of Wyoming. And so it's been a -- an effort on my part to do everything we can, but not to get in the way. And I think at the convention, I'd just be in the way.
HANNITY: Just a little over 90 days to go.
HANNITY: You're one of a select group of people that knows that feeling three months out of a presidential election. What do you think is going through Mitt Romney's mind, or is he just so busy with the day-to-day activities he probably does not have the perspective?
CHENEY: Well, I think he has probably a better perspective than most, sort of its center of it. But if you've got some experience at it, which he clearly does, I mean, he's been through the presidential process before, now, when he was candidate for the nomination. And I find when I've dealt him, and I've talk to him some, most especially when he was here, that he's very well grounded, he knows what he wants to do. He's got a good sense of what strategy ought to be. He's not being affected I don't think by a lot of a minutia that goes with running for president.
CHENEY: And so I feel pretty good about where his head's at this stage. And one of the things you learned in the business is it's very important, because the candidate sort of sets the tone for the entire campaign organization. You've got a candidate who spends all of his time lying awake at night wringing his hands, worried about the minutia, that will be reflected in the organization.
If you got a guy in the other hand, and he knows why what he's running for, why it's important to the nation, I think Mitt Romney qualifies in all of those ground. Then, you see a guy who is confident, and upbeat, and his organization is behind him, and he's got good prospects of winning.
HANNITY: You were a big part of the decision-making process for candidate Bush, then President Bush, for VP. We expect in the next week, couple of weeks, that we're going to get a decision from Governor Romney.
HANNITY: He said the single most important criteria for a VP choice has to be the capacity of that person to be president, you said that's why you pick them. You know, all the names that are out there. You've got Ryan and Rubio, you've got Portman and Pawlenty, you've got Jindal, Christie. You know all the names that are being bantered about. Do they -- does everyone on that list that we hear about meet that criterion? You're laughing. Why?
CHENEY: Well, because I'm not going to answer your question, Sean.
No, the way I think of it. I think of it -- there are two lists.
CHENEY: There's the big list. And on that list, I mean, I mentioned before, I even had people called me when I was running the search, say, "Dick, it would really help me in my race back home if I can be on the list." You're on the list.
HANNITY: Just put them on?
CHENEY: Just put them on.
HANNITY: Then they --
CHENEY: Then somebody could leak that they were on the list, and that will help them back, home but they were never really under consideration.
HANNITY: And I might call over to the Romney campaign. Maybe they could put me on the list.
CHENEY: Yes. Why not? And then they've got shorter -- you'd probably win. They've got a shorter list, that's three or four or five people that are under serious consideration. And in order to get on the short list, my argument would be, you have to be to have to pass that test that you just mentioned, you've got to be capable of standing in tomorrow and taking over as president of the United States. That's the real requirement.
HANNITY: If Governor Romney though did call you, and said, Mr. Vice President, I'd really like your advice, you've been through this process, you've been through these campaigns, you've been vice president, who do you think -- give me two names. And this way you're not --
CHENEY: Sean, if I had offered that kind of advice, I wouldn't want to talk anybody about it except the candidate himself. It ought to be a private communication. He ought to have people they can go to and to seek advice and counsel without seeing it appearing in the press, so.
HANNITY: Let me see if I can go about this another way without naming names. Do you think all the -- do you agree all the people that we hear about meet that criteria? Because this is an important -- we always hear about electoral votes, swing state, maybe certain demographics could be hit with a certain candidate, that he might appeal to certain demographics. But your criteria is steadfast. You've got to be able to step in from day one to be the president of the United States.
HANNITY: Most important job in the world.
HANNITY: All the names you hear, are you confident, without mentioning any names, that they meet that standard?
CHENEY: I am generally confident. And I don't want to pick out any one particular individual. But I think of it is that there's a new generation of Republicans coming along, and a very attractive generation of Republicans. And you mentioned a lot of the names in terms of the prospects that he's looking at now at this point. And so I feel very good about the next generation.
It think he's in a position, my sense of it is, just from watching and listening, that the Governor's very much of a-mind that you've got -- you've got to address those other issues -- gender, race, geography, all those kinds of things, will ultimately be debated, but that the basic fundamental test is, can this individual be president of the United States. And if they don't meet that test, then as I said they shouldn't be on the short list. After they've been on the short list, and they get over that hurdle, then you've got -- then you can consider those other prospects.
So, the other thing I mentioned, too, is this is the first presidential level decision that a candidate, in this case Governor Romney, will make. First time the American people get to see him make a decision that has absolute direct consequences for what his governments will look like. And so, it's a real test. And I think everything I can tell that in fact Governor Romney is treating it with that kind of seriousness.
HANNITY: You made a comment recently about Governor Palin.
HANNITY: Governor Palin responded this week. And she basically said, you know, everyone's allowed to make a mistake, and she pointed out poll numbers, some other things, others have pointed that out. What did you mean by that, you kind of standby that, or do you --
CHENEY: Well, I like Governor Palin. I think she's very able and effective spokesman for the party, for conservative causes. She believes in a lot of the same things I believe in. I think she's been very effective at that. The question I was addressing when I was interviewed was the question of process, and did I think, for example, that the McCain process that was used in 2008 met the standards the way I described them, and my answer was no, I didn't think it did. So, it wasn't the name so much Governor Palin as it was against the basic process that McCain used.
HANNITY: Governor Palin told me once that she didn't even know she was being considered until four days before she was announced.
CHENEY: Yeah. Well, I called her --
HANNITY: What were you talking about that process?
CHENEY: Well, that's a big part of it. I think.
HANNITY: What about -- you mentioned experience though, too.
CHENEY: I think experience is important as well, too. But I voted for her, just like I voted for the ticket. But my point basically dealt with the process in terms of that basic requirement, is this person prepared to step in and be president of the United States when they're picked. And it was my judgment -- I was asked if I thought the McCain process in '08 had been well done, or was it a mistake, and I said, I thought it was a mistake. That's not so much of a criticism of Governor Palin as it is that I just thought it was not -- that process didn't meet the standards I would like to see our candidate pursue when they pick a running mate.
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