OTR Interviews

Cheney: Obama has 'huge credibility problem'

Uncut: Former vice president sounds off on ObamaCare 'trainwreck,' Bill Clinton's comments on Obama's promise, his fears about the Affordable Care Act's serious longterm damage, Gov. Chris Christie, GOP infighting and more


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," November 12, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Listen closely. You don't hear this very often. Most likely you've never heard this one before. Former Vice President Dick Cheney agreed with former President Bill Clinton.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: So I personally believe, even if it takes a change in the law, the president should honor his commitment to the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they've got.


VAN SUSTEREN: We spoke with former Vice President Cheney earlier today.


VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Vice President, in light of your own health experience, I know you have followed the health system very closely. I'm curious, your thoughts on ObamaCare?

DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: It is a trainwreck, Greta, as far as I can tell. It is -- if you can't even handle the website, the thing I'm concerned about is whatever is embodied in that fundamental change in our whole health care system. The government getting more deeply involved than it ever has been before in our health care system, that's really scary. You know. What we don't know yet about how the system will work or not work is frightening. And I think the -- as I look at it, I think there is a real danger here, especially after the president so deliberately misled, I mean, he knew what was going on. He knew people were going to have their policies canceled and he went right ahead and said they wouldn't.

Time after time after time and said if up want to keep your old policy you can. So I think he has a huge credibility problem. More than that, I really worry about when kind of damage is being done to our health care system. That may have problems and there may be things we may like to fix. But I think we have the finest health care system them the world, for most of our people. There may be ways we want to tweak it but what's happening under Obama care appears to be a train wreck.

VAN SUSTEREN: Former President Bill Clinton says that President Obama should keep his pledge of the promise if you like your health care you can keep it. Your doctor, you can keep it. Your insurance, you can keep it. If we have to pass law or do something the president should do it. Is there anything you can conceive of President Obama could do to meet that commitment at this point?

CHENEY: I don't know. I'm inclined to agree with Bill Clinton. That's something that ought to be attempted. But given the complexity of the system we already have people that lost their policies who can't get new ones. These policies have been declared by law to be inadequate because of the standards written into federal regulations.

I'm not quite sure how you go -- peel back that onion. I mean, you have a situation here where you go back out to the people whose policies have been canceled and give them a new policy and -- just repeal ObamaCare? I don't know, maybe. But it is hard to think of how you are going to actually implement that. I think exactly what needs to be done is to -- repeal ObamaCare. I think it is a serious, serious foul-up, major problem in terms of the government trying to do more than it is capable of doing.

VAN SUSTEREN: If it were repealed or if we rewind to before we had ObamaCare, as a matter of fact, there are some people, some Americans who just didn't have access to medical care, what should we have done for them? What can we do? We don't want to leave them behind.

CHENEY: Right. We don't want to do that. It is also important. I always have -- problem because people -- tend to confuse medical insurance with medical care and they are not necessarily the same thing. We have a lot of people that don't have insurance and get treatment. The rest of us pick it up the cost of it, lots of times. We pay higher premiums and higher rates.

But there are an awful lot of Americans, institutions, hospitals and so forth that will service the indigent and provide medical care even if they don't have insurance. It is not quite as clear cut as saying that you have to have insurance or health. Where -- the system and a program that's provided standard of care that's the envy of the world.

I worry very much that taking over in effect what's -- one-sixth of the nation's economy in the name of ObamaCare and putting the federal government in charge to the extent we are that we are going to do more harm than good.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you recommend the president do now? He has a PR problem, which is least one of the problem.

CHENEY: He is not likely to listen.

VAN SUSTEREN: I know. Not likely. I don't think he will listen. I don't think he will listen. But it is -- it really is a serious situation because we are coming up a deadline. I actually worry less about the web site. I think that could be fixed. You know, it is very annoying and inconvenient to a lot of Americans and a headache but the deeper problems, as we go along, with ObamaCare, how do we fund it, for instance?

CHENEY: It may be it is just not fixable. It may be one of those developments, proposals, or packages that is a train wreck. It is not going to -- there isn't anything you can do to repair it. Start all over again.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's going to happen if we don't? What happens if we don't?

CHENEY: Well, I think we are doing serious damage for it and -- say medical devices, you know, I was the beneficiary as I went to heart disease with stents and fibrillators and pump that assisted my heart. The ObamaCare package includes legislation, taxing those devices. The people who come up with those ideas and so forth, they pay regular income tax and corporate tax, if they are involved in that. Why would we want to establish a tax that's likely to produce less than one of the most valuable capabilities we have?

VAN SUSTEREN: I guess --

CHENEY: Makes no sense at all. I think that's -- that will cost -- if we haven't invented stents, for example, in the last few years, imagine how many lives have been saved because of stents? George W. Bush just had a accident put in the other day. We can do with stents what we used to have to do with open-heart coronary bypass surgery. So it is -- I think it is -- if we go forward with ObamaCare it will be serious long-term damage. Our health care won't be as good as it would have been if they hadn't created that train wreck in the first place.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you served in Congress. Is the medical device tax, lot of Democrats are also unhappy with it and want to see that repealed. That's because they suddenly discovered medical device manufacturers were their constituents. If anyone had bothered to read that statute from the get-go and knew what was in it, even though the Democrats who today all of a sudden say they don't want that tax and would have known bit, you know, nobody even knew what he was voting on.

CHENEY: I wasn't there.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm not blaming you. I don't blame you for that vote.

CHENEY: I think it was classic case of a very badly handled piece of legislation. It was not given enough attention and it was passed in a hurry and every effort made to jam it through which they did with a handful of votes. And -- it is -- fundamentally flawed concept, fundamentally flawed piece of legislation, and I think the damage that it is doing and will do, if we continue down this path is enormous.

We have been significantly expanded the role of the federal government, federal government is good at some things but not others. And, frankly, I -- I have difficulty understanding how they are going to recover from this. I don't think there's some magic tweak or some piece of legislation that can be passed.

It is going to repair it. It is a bad, badly flawed piece of legislation that should never have been passed in the first place and was passed under extraordinary circumstances where it was never given careful consideration.

VAN SUSTEREN: Big picture, Republican Party, looking at the Tea Party, Governor Christie's big victory in New Jersey, Senator Ted Cruz. What's your thought?

CHENEY: Well, this isn't our first rodeo so to speak. Not going to remember the Reagan-Ford years and differences within the party and Goldwater or Rockefeller. I mean -- battles inside the Republican Party are nothing new. And -- frankly, I much rather have that struggle than strife, if you will, inside the party than outside the party.

I think the people who have signed on to the Tea Party, the ones I know, are strong conservatives and good Republicans who believe very deeply in the proposition. That our government has gotten badly off course and we need to sort of recommit to the constitution and they need to maintain a smaller government as possible and that the way this -- administration especially is functioning, it is -- has created the enormous discontent that's out there.