Tuesday, Dec 16, 2008
In an exclusive interview with ABC News, a reflective Vice President Dick Cheney praised President-elect Barack Obama’s national security team and admitted he’s changed during his time in office.
In his first exit interview and first television interview since the November election, Cheney said the 9-11 terrorist attacks most certainly became “a prime motivation,” critically shaping his actions in the years that followed.
“Have I changed?” Cheney asked. “Well, not in the sense that I’ve gone through some fundamental psychological transition here, but I have been, since that day, focused very much on what we needed to do to defend the nation, and I think the policies we’ve recommended, the programs that we’ve undertaken, have been good programs. I think those have been sound decisions, and if that’s what they mean by saying I’ve changed, I’m guilty.”
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With 35 days left in office, the vice president also weighed in on those who will take the place of the Bush administration, assessing Obama’s picks to spearhead national security.
“I must say, I think it’s a pretty good team,” Cheney said. “I’m not close to Barack Obama, obviously, nor do I identify with him politically. He’s a liberal. I’m a conservative.”
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“But I think the idea of keeping Gates at Defense is excellent. I think Jim Jones will be very, very effective as the national security adviser.”
Cheney likewise weighed in on Sen. Hillary Clinton, who Obama has tapped to be the next secretary of state.
“While I would not have hired Sen. Clinton, I think she’s tough,” the vice president added. “She’s smart, she works very hard and she may turn out to be just what President Obama needs.”