OTR Interviews

The Romney Doctrine versus the Obama Doctrine

Liz Cheney breaks down the difference between Romney and Obama's world views


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 8, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Former State Department official Liz Cheney joins us. Good evening, Liz.


VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think Governor Romney was seeking to achieve today, and did he?

CHENEY: You know, I think he was trying to do a couple of things, first of all, point out the very fundamental differences between his approach to leadership and national security and President Obama's.

If you look at just the issue of American leadership, which was the common thread throughout the entire speech, talking about how important it's been in the past, how important it's going to be in the future, what it means to lead as an American commander-in-chief, and contrasting that with what we've seen from this president, which is a real timidity, a weakness, a policy of retreat around the world, and a policy, as you just showed, that's left us weaker after nearly four years of President Obama.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think is the harshest thing he said about President Obama's foreign policy?

CHENEY: Well, I think, you know, "Hope is not a strategy" is -- I'm not sure I would say it's harsh. I think it's sad. I think that it's too bad we've gotten to that point.

I actually -- I thought one of the most interesting lines in the speech was, he said it's not just the character of our country -- talking about what makes us exceptional -- but it's the record of our accomplishments.

And he then went on to say that that's a record that's been written by patriots of both parties, that it's not a partisan issue.

But if you compare that to what President Obama said, for example, back in the spring of 2009, when Daniel Ortega just attacked the United States while President Obama was sitting in his presence, slandered us, and the president then stood up and said, I'm just happy that Ortega didn't blame me for things that happened when I was 3 months old -- so this view of America as having been the single most effective force for good in history and why it's so important that we have to continue to lead, compared and contrasted with the Obama vision, which we're seeing the results of now across the Middle East.

VAN SUSTEREN: I thought it was interesting how he was very -- he spent a good bit of time talking about Israel and about -- I mean, saying that there would be no daylight between the United States and Israel if he were president.

You know, it seems to me that whole sort of Israel dynamic -- and I pulled up the transcript going back to last November, in which then President Sarkozy said Netanyahu -- was quoted as saying -- got caught on a hot mike, saying, Netanyahu, I can't stand him, he's a liar. Then President Obama says, You're sick of him? But I have to work with him every day. And then, of course, then he -- then didn't -- didn't go see him when he was here in the United States when he spoke to the General Assembly at the United Nations. And then today, making it very -- making a very -- a lot of emphasis in the speech about our relationship with Israel.

I thought that was designed to make sure that he does get that vote here.

CHENEY: Well, I think it's a critically important part of our national security policy. I mean, there's a reason why Israel is one of our most important allies in the world. There's a reason why we stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel.

We share a whole range of common values and beliefs, and we have to make sure that we're standing with them and that they're not alone, as they, you know, face threats from countries like Iran, for example.

So I think Governor Romney was making clear both here, you know, in terms of the domestic audience, and also internationally with respect to the Iranians, that there should be no question but that we won't allow them to develop nuclear capability and we'll stand with Israel and support whatever it is they have to do or we'll act together.

VAN SUSTEREN: I thought the harshest thing he said is he accused President Obama of making a political decision about Afghanistan, where we've lost over 2,000 troops over there, died there, many have come home and have died here from their injuries. But he -- that -- I thought that was where he really was the harshest on the president, saying that, essentially, Your plan is a political plan.

CHENEY: Well, the facts bear out what Governor Romney said. You know, when President Obama ordered the surge, his commanders on the ground, first of all, asked for more troops, but then they said, We need two full fighting seasons. We need to make sure that we've completely dismantled the Taliban, that they can't come back. And that requires two full fighting seasons.

The president came back and said, I won't give you as many troops as you need, but I'm going to stop the surge, I'm going to pull the troops out before that second fighting season is done.

Now, there's simply no military reason why you would do that. If you're going to surge our forces and you're going to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven again, then you let the troops fight the amount of time the commanders say they need to fight.

VAN SUSTEREN: People have always thought, though, you know, as much as we love these political knock-down, drag-out fights in this country, is that when it comes to war, you know -- you know, politics is not part of it. And accusing the president of the United States of making a political decision is really farther than I've seen anyone else go.

CHENEY: Well...

VAN SUSTEREN: On war. I mean -- I mean, do you -- I mean, do you believe it? Do you think that President Obama's strategy was purely for himself, purely selfish, purely political and not because he thought it was best?

CHENEY: No question.


CHENEY: Absolutely. When you say you're going to surge those troops but that you're not going to allow them to fight through the second full fighting season, the commanders are saying, This is what we need, and you say, I'm bringing out them in September of an election year -- so it's not just a random year, it's September of an election year, with no military purpose whatsoever for making that decision -- I think that what's happening -- you know, whether or not the president's motives were political -- I happen to think they were -- what's clearly happening is we run the risk, as the governor said today, leaving behind an Afghanistan where the terrorists can once again gain the kind of foothold they used to attack us on 9/11.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I guess I draw the line -- I think we get rolled all the time when it comes to money and -- by the -- by the government, but when it comes to war, I'm still a believer that people may have different opinions on how to wage them and what to do, but that it's not done selfishly, but maybe I'm incredibly naive. Anyway...

CHENEY: I think you're incredibly naive, but...


CHENEY: ... but I think it was political.



VAN SUSTEREN: Liz, thank you.

CHENEY: Thanks, Greta.