Looking back, Bush and Cheney reveal different views

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President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have been unusually talkative in recent weeks, sharing candid thoughts in a string of exit interviews. But after eight years of a tight partnership that gave Cheney powerful influence inside the White House, the two are sounding strikingly different notes as they leave office, especially on one of the most fundamental issues of their tenure: their aggressive response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Bush defends his decisions as necessary to keep the nation safe, yet sounds reflective, even chastened. He has expressed regrets about not passing immigration reform and not changing the partisan tone in Washington. And the man who famously got tangled up in a question about whether he had made any mistakes — he could not come up with one in 2004 — recently told ABC News that he was"unprepared for war," and that"the biggest regret of all the presidency has to have been the intelligence failure in Iraq."

Cheney, by contrast, is unbowed, defiant to the end. He called the Supreme Court"wrong" for overturning Bush policies on military detainees; criticized his successor, Vice President-elect Joseph Biden Jr.; and defended water-boarding, a controversial interrogation technique that critics call torture.

"I feel very good about what we did," the vice president told The Washington Times, adding,"If I was faced with those circumstances again, I'd do exactly the same thing."

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