OTR Interviews

Dick and Liz Cheney on Iran, Hillary and being 'Exceptional'

Former vice president and his daughter sound off on the potential implications of Pres. Obama's nuke deal with Iran, Hillary Clinton's private server scandal, their new book 'Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America' and more


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," September 1, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Former Vice President Dick Cheney and Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Liz Cheney teaming up to write a brand new book, Exceptional: Why The World Needs A Powerful America. And right now, Vice-President Cheney and Liz Cheney are here to go "On the Record." 

And I know both of your names were on the cover. First of all, was she bossy to work with Mr. Vice President?

DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: She was, but that's all right. She earned it.

VAN SUSTEREN: She earned it? All right, good. Anyway, nice to see both of you. Let me start with you Mr. Vice President. What do you mean by exceptional? What does that term mean?

D. CHENEY: Well, it's the United States has played a very special role in history, certainly since the beginning of World War II. Exceptional in the sense that the United States has been the prime defender of freedom worldwide, has liberated more people than any other nation in the history of mankind. And that that's a role that it had and a belief that our leaders had starting with FDR and Harry Truman, but all the way bipartisan basis through Jack Kennedy, Nixon, and Ford, Ronald Reagan, until now when we get to Barack Obama. And he does not hold the view that America is the exceptional nation.

VAN SUSTEREN: How do you know that, Liz? You are also a co-writer. How do you know that President Obama does not hold that view?

LIZ CHENEY, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: You just have to listen to his speeches. You just have to see what he has said himself. And he went to the United Nations and said, you know, any world order that elevates one nation above others cannot long survive. When he was asked about American exceptionism, he sort of equated to Greek exceptionism and British exceptionism. And then of course, you look at his own writings and you look at his policies. And he has spent a good deal of his presidency doing everything he can to diminish America's role in the world, to withdraw, to limit our power and influence. And his ideology seems to be very much one of America as a maligned force in the world, rather than, you know, looking back at the history. And that's why we started in World War II, really to begin the layout. This is the about what America has accomplished in the world. And this is a role we have a duty to play.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I certainly agree, Mr. Vice president, because you are the co-author, why do you think President Obama has that view?

D. CHENEY: I can't explain it. It seems to me it's against everything his own party has stood for in the international arena with respect to those years. I don't think FDR, Harry Truman or Jack Kennedy would recognize the foreign policy of a man like Barack Obama.

VAN SUSTEREN: What is his power of attorney policy? How do you describe it?

D. CHENEY: Well, if you look -- just take a specific example with respect to the Iranian deal. In that process, he is setting up a situation in which Iran is going to have a path to nuclear weapons. They are going to get over $100 billion. They are lifting the embargo on ballistic missile trade and on conventional weapons. At the same time, that he is absolutely turning his back on our friends in the regions, the Israelis, the Saudis, the Emirates, the Jordanians, the Egyptians. They are all friends of United States. We have worked with them closely in the past. He is setting up a situation that significantly enhances the threat and the danger to our friends and allies in the region. It's an operation in effect that he spent a lot of time sucking up to the Iranians, trying to build relationships there. And in many cases, for example, the Syrian red- line, we believe that the reason he did not do what he said he would do, when Assad crossed the red-line was because of his concern for the Iranians, the relationship between the Syrians and the Iranians led him to back off in effect and not carry through on his threat.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, this is obviously a very important election for a lot of reasons. Liz, you worked at the state department. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, she agrees with the Iranian deal, but she is also being haunted at least tonight about emails. What is your thought on these emails in terms of her campaign?

L. CHENEY: You know, I think she has got a real problem. I find it baffling that she would have determined. I can't imagine who advised her that you could conduct your business as Secretary of State on a personal, private email server I can't imagine, also, you know, on what legal basis she was advised that she could clean the server, that she could get rid of emails, delete them while they were under subpoena. And across the board, she has got very significant problems. You have now got these investigations underway. But the bottom-line is we now know there was classified information on the server. We now know that she was, in fact, an agent in exchange of classified information on this email server stored in a bathroom in Denver or in her house as well. And there is simply no way you can do that without putting our security at risk.

VAN SUSTEREN: Does this mean, you think, Mr. Vice President since you have been involved in a lot of presidential races, do you expect Vice-President Biden to jump in.

D. CHENEY: I do. I think Joe is not going to be able to resist the temptation. He has always wanted to be president. He has run twice before. It's the only opportunity he is going to have.

VAN SUSTEREN: Would he be a good president?

D. CHENEY: Well, he and I disagree on an awful lot of things. He is a liberal democrat. I'm a conservative republican. So probably not much. I would expect well, he has been part and parcel to the Obama policy basically, just as she has. He has as Vice President and she has been very much part of it as Secretary of State. I worry that with Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders, for that matter, we would have a continuation of the same kind of foreign policy that Barack Obama has put in place.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Here is the fun question. Would Donald Trump -- would he be interested in American exceptionalism as sort of outlined in your book? Where is Donald Trump on this?

D. CHENEY: I don't have a clue. I have never met the gentleman.

VAN SUSTEREN: You have never met Donald Trump?

D. CHENEY: No, I never have.

VAN SUSTEREN: Come on, you must be following this race.

D. CHENEY: I'm watching it with great interest.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you watch it with great interest?

D. CHENEY: Well, because our book, in fact, is a reflection of our concerns. A belief that it's important that front and center in this campaign and for our party, be concern about national security, the kinds of things we have talked about in this book. We think that ought to be the main priority for the next administration. And so that's why we wrote the book. We are not in the business at this stage in evaluating candidates what he would or wouldn't do with respect to those issues.

VAN SUSTEREN: But nonetheless, it's always sort of parlor gate that we all do have.


VAN SUSTEREN: Anyway, brand new book, Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney, Exceptional: Why The World Needs A Powerful America. Thank you both very much and the book is out today.

D. CHENEY: Out today.

L: CHENEY: Thank you.


L CHENEY: Thanks, Greta.

D. CHENEY: Good to see you, Greta.