Cheney Defends His Tenure, Adminstration's Actions





Vice President Cheney offered an unabashed defense of the Bush administration's claims of broad executive powers today, mocking criticism from Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and saying the president "doesn't have to check with anybody" before launching a nuclear attack.

In an interview with Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday," Cheney fired back at Biden's contention that he was probably "the most dangerous vice president" in U.S. history. He also ridiculed Biden for mistakenly citing Article I of the U.S. Constitution, rather than Article II, in talking about executive branch powers during an October debate.

"If he wants to diminish the office of the vice president, that's obviously his call," Cheney said of Biden. "President-elect Obama will decide what he wants in a vice president and apparently, from the way they're talking about it, he does not expect him to have as consequential a role as I have had during my time."

Cheney, speaking less than a month before he and President Bush leave the White House, was blunt and unapologetic about his central role in some of the most controversial issues of the past eight years, including the invasion of Iraq, warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens, and harsh interrogation tactics. Cheney also said he disagreed with Bush's decision to remove embattled Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in 2006, saying that "the president doesn't always take my advice."



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