Rating Dad's Performance: Liz Cheney Responds to the Debate

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," Oct. 5, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Welcome back to "Hannity & Colmes." I'm Alan Colmes. We are live Tuesday night from "spin alley" at the site of the vice presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio. First, joining us, I think a swing voter. We're not sure where she stands.


COLMES: You may have been convinced tonight. Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter Liz Cheney. Now you have decided how you're voting?

LIZ CHENEY: I have decided, that's right, absolutely.

COLMES: You knew even before tonight. Look, obviously you are proud of your dad so I'm not going to sit here and tell you you shouldn't be proud of your dad as the Democrat on this program. But what is it like behind the scenes, did you spend time while he was doing debate prep? What was that like?

LIZ CHENEY: Yep. We spent a lot of time doing debate prep. We worked most weekends this September and then we spent the last four days out in Jackson Hole working on it and it is fascinating to watch because he's so focused on the substance and he is so focused on the details.

COLMES: Well, he pretty much knows his stuff as John Edwards does, the guy on my side. But your dad knows his stuff. He spent a lot of time preparing for this.

LIZ CHENEY: He spent a lot of time preparing for it and also making sure that the format is interesting so you have to make sure you can get across the message you need get across. Tonight that was clearly the importance of selecting a commander-in-chief and who's going to lead this country.

COLMES: The Dick Cheney we saw tonight, is that the guy you know as dad?

LIZ CHENEY: Oh yeah. I mean, the guy I know as dad gives me lots of hugs. And he's a great granddad.

COLMES: He didn't hug John Edwards tonight. No hugs took place.

LIZ CHENEY: I could have predicted that.

COLMES: Do you think he likes John Edwards.

LIZ CHENEY: You know, he doesn't know John Edwards. As he said at the debate tonight, this is the very first time he ever met him when John Edwards walked on that stage despite the fact my dad spends a lot of time up in the Senate as President of the Senate.

COLMES: But he knows of him. They know of each other. It is not personal animosity, there.

LIZ CHENEY: No, I just think he just doesn't know the man.

COLMES: What do you think was — what was the most difficult moment for you tonight watching your dad in this debate? Because I know you will tell me how great he did and how you are proud of him but was there a moment that you felt...

LIZ CHENEY: No, no. The most difficult moments are when you are there before the debate begins. I don't know if people see this on TV but the candidates come out and sit at the table for a good five minutes and they are just sitting there before anything starts, the families are there. That is the most difficult time. As soon as he started and started laying out the case and started the presentation — my nerves were gone.

COLMES: No moments of "Oh I wish that" or "Oh?" You had none of those moments?


COLMES: What does he do in terms of relaxation? We know how he prepares, but what does he do in terms of getting his mind in the right place?

LIZ CHENEY: Well, this is a really good example because he spent three days in Wyoming really intense preparation and then he spent a day on the river fly fishing yesterday. And that was how he really cleared his head.

COLMES: What did he do today, prior to the debate?

LIZ CHENEY: Today we flew in from Wyoming and then we were at the hotel and we really just had down time. My ten-year-old daughter met us here and so we spent time with her.

COLMES: Do you agree with your dad on everything? Are there areas where you and he don't see eye to eye?

LIZ CHENEY: There really aren't. I'm sure there must be something but in terms of the issues that matter in this campaign and this election.

COLMES: You don't have political arguments with your father?

LIZ CHENEY: No. My whole life growing up sitting around the dinner table we would have political discussions and we'd talk about things and he is much more the kind of person you ask him questions. You know and you say "What is really going on with this or what does this mean?" and he is somebody you always know will have a very interesting answer.

COLMES: Do you ever give him political advice?

LIZ CHENEY: Oh yeah. All the time.

COLMES: What have you told him that he should do that he has actually actually incorporated into his campaign?

LIZ CHENEY: Oh my God. No, I mean my mother and my sister and I, we give him a lot of advice and at the end of the day he always is just completely himself. That is just the very best.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Has he always been this smart? I mean, he just sits there and — very smart man.

LIZ CHENEY: He is a very smart man. I mean, he's always the kind of person you can say to him "What happened at the Battle of Stones River in the Civil War?" and he will know immediately. He's just very wise.

HANNITY: That was interesting. The last time I spoke with your mom we discussed the fact if you look at his background and his record in the years in Congress and years as Secretary of Defense and his history, it was like he was almost groomed for this time versus look at somebody like John Edwards doesn't show up very often, has no major piece of legislative accomplishment in his career. Just barely got his feet wet and he is instantly trying to get on the national stage and run for president. Seems like a very different background.

LIZ CHENEY: Yeah, well, I think what it means for my dad is that he understands the gravity of the situation and the historic nature of the times we're living in and he takes so seriously these challenges and these threats. And I think his understanding of history as well as his experience keys into that.

HANNITY: You know in light of the focus tonight on the debate, when your dad said "consistent is not the word I would use to describe John Kerry" and you think and put into context that in 2002, John Edwards said that Iraq was the most serious and imminent threat to the United States of America, you wonder how does he take this position today having said that then?

LIZ CHENEY: You know, and for me, I'm one of these "security moms," and I spent a lot time in this campaign traveling across the country talking to other young moms.

HANNITY: I traveled with your young kids.

LIZ CHENEY: That's right. You know.

HANNITY: They took over the whole plane.

LIZ CHENEY: They do, exactly. And it's something that causes people real concern. People know we're at war. They know we need a leader that is steadfast and for somebody to take shifting positions on the single most important issue we're facing is very troubling and I think that is one of the things my dad pointed out tonight.

HANNITY: Was it a mistake Thursday not to bring up any of the record, the 25-plus-year record of John Kerry, because I look at it—supporting a nuclear freeze, not willing to confront the Soviet Union, not showing for Intelligence Committee meetings, the Kerry amendment after the first Trade Center bombing would have cut $7 billion from our intelligence community. None of these issues were really brought home until tonight. Was it a mistake not to bring it up earlier?

LIZ CHENEY: No, I don't think so. I think what you saw the president do very effectively was talk about the importance of consistency, talk about the importance of the challenge we are facing. And the president pointed out very effectively, for example, when John Kerry says he is going to bring more allies to this cause, is he going to pick up the phone and say "Come fight with me in a grand diversion."

HANNITY: And I thought that was a good point. And he said, "How do you bring people along and in an international effort when you are saying it is the wrong war and wrong place and wrong time"? How do you ask people to die for the wrong cause? How do you attack the prime minister who comes here and thanks this country for the sacrifice?

LIZ CHENEY: And I don't know if you have seen but today the Polish embassy issued a press release where the president of Poland talked specifically about John Kerry's comments at the debate.

HANNITY: What kind of games does he play with your kids?

LIZ CHENEY: Oh, he plays all kinds of games — He teaches them to fish. That's really the biggest thing.

HANNITY: Now I want to go fishing.

LIZ CHENEY: Fly fishing, horseback riding.

HANNITY: I want to go fly fishing.

COLMES: We have to part company, but you have a couple of debates to change your mind. There's still time.

LIZ CHENEY: I've got to tell you, I'm sold but we're going to try to change your mind.

COLMES: That's not going to happen. Thank you very much.


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