Anderson Cooper had some tough questions for Liz Cheney, but like any good Villager comes out swinging initially but fails to do any real follow up after Cheney lies to him repeatedly. It was nice to see someone actually call bulls#@t on some of her talking points though. It's more than I can say for Chuck Todd. Cheney also basically admits that her father's reason for speaking out has more to do with protecting his own hide than national security. The transcript of the full interview is available here.
COOPER: Most former vice presidents walk off the public stage quietly, at least for a while, but not Dick Cheney. His tough talk seems to be working for him. His approval rating, now 37 percent, has jumped eight points since leaving office in January. President Bush's approval rating has risen six points, to 41 percent, from 35.
Dick Cheney's daughter Liz served in the State Department during Bush administration, has been an outspoken defender of her father's record as vice president. She joins us now.
Thanks for being here.
LIZ CHENEY: Great to be here. Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: Is it -- is it appropriate for your father to be so out in front right now so soon after leaving office, essentially mocking the sitting president of the United States?
L. CHENEY: Well, he's not mocking the sitting president. But I think that...
COOPER: Well, saying he's pandering to Europe?
L. CHENEY: He is pandering to Europe.
I mean, I think that -- that, you know, there's sort of a level of political nicety that's important to observe, except in certain circumstances. And one of those circumstances is where the national security of the nation is at risk, as my father feels strongly that it is.
I don't think he planned to be doing this, you know, when they left office in January. But I think, as it became clear that President Obama was not only going to be stopping some of these policies, that he was going to be doing things like releasing the -- the techniques themselves, so that the terrorists could now train to them, that he was suggesting that perhaps we would even be prosecuting former members of the Bush administration, I think my dad began to feel very strongly that somebody needed to speak out, that this needed to be a full airing of views, and not a one-sided mischaracterization of the last eight years.
COOPER: But these -- you know, these are techniques which have been around. I mean, the Nazis used them. The -- the Khmer Rouge used them. The -- the North Koreans used them. So, it's not as if terrorists were unfamiliar with these techniques, if they wanted to train for them. And I'm not sure you really can train for torture or -- or enhanced interrogation.
L. CHENEY: Well, I think, first of all -- yes, I mean, I would question the premise there.
I think that you have got to look at the legal memos, actually, which now you can do. The legal memos are very clear. And this was a -- a very carefully designed program, and it was a program that the CIA designed, that they had the lawyers look at to make sure that the line that divided sort of rough treatment from torture wouldn't be crossed.
But the important point here, though, there's a big difference between a terrorist sort of Googling, you know, techniques that might be used and a terrorist who can now pull up these memos and actually see, OK, well, they're going to be able to do this, you know, to me for this many minutes, but I know they won't cross that line.
What the president has done is ensure that no future president can use any of these techniques. So, that's a big step. And that's a step that I think really does endanger the country.
And, frankly, if the president himself in the future is faced with a ticking-time-bomb scenario, it's not clear to me, you know, what exactly he will do, even though he's reserved to himself the right to take action like these techniques.
COOPER: Is it appropriate, though, for your father, who has had access to high-level intelligence for -- for eight years, to be very publicly waving a flag, saying, we're much weaker now than ever before? Isn't that, in fact, emboldening our enemies? Couldn't you make that argument?
L. CHENEY: I think that it is a moral obligation to stand up and say, wait a second. You know, when you...
COOPER: But you can write letters. You can -- you can have meetings with the president. He could have a meeting with the president and say very firmly, "This is what I believe," and the president would either listen to him or not.
But to stand up publicly and -- if...
Well,. Yes. No, absolutely.
COOPER: If a Democrat was doing this in a Republican administration, wouldn't be the Republicans be saying, this is traitorous?