Dick Cheney is leaving office without remorse and taking some potshots at his successor on the way out the door.
Cheney mocked Joe Biden during a Fox News interview for misstating the section of the constitution that defines executive branch power, and he was dismissive of criticism that his amassing the power of the vice presidency was a trend that needed to be reversed.
"If he wants to diminish the office of the vice president, that's obviously his call," Cheney shrugged. "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."
Biden bit back, however, in a dueling Sunday morning interview that aired on ABC's "This Week" in which he said he stood by his statements.
"His notion of a unitary executive, meaning that, in time of war, essentially all power, you know, goes to the executive, I think is dead wrong. I think it was mistaken. I think it caused this administration, in adopting that notion, to overstep its constitutional bounds, but, at a minimum, to weaken our standing in the world and weaken our security. I stand by that -- that judgment," Biden said.
Cheney also seemed nonplussed at the idea that it was inappropriate for him to tell a senator to "Fuck yourself" on the floor of the Senate.
WALLACE: Did you really tell Senator Leahy, bleep yourself?
CHENEY: I did.
WALLACE: Any qualms or second thoughts or embarrassment?
CHENEY: No, I thought he merited it at the time. And we've since, I think, patched over that wound and we're civil to one another now.
: Cheney not sure if bin Laden is alive; says problems with auto industry fall to Obama.All of President Bush's actions during his years as a wartime leader were done with full legal authority, Vice President Dick Cheney said on Fox News Sunday.
Asked by Chris Wallace if it's legal when the president makes a decision to help the country when it's fighting a war, Cheney said, "As a general proposition, I'd say yes."
"You need to be more specific than that, but clearly when you take the oath to support, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic, there's no question about what your responsibilities are in that regard," Cheney said.
The Vice President acknowledged that there are arguments about how Bush exercised his powers, but remained adamant that his administration stayed loyal to the Constitution.
Cheney explained that the president's 24/7 access to nuclear codes in the event of an nuclear attack against the United States exemplifies the "nature of the world we live in."
"He could launch the kind of devastating attack the world has never seen," Cheney said. "He doesn't have to check with anybody, he doesn't have to call Congress, he doesn't have to check with the courts, he has that authority."
Defending policies on detainees, terrorist surveillance and intelligence gathering as justified in a time of war, Cheney said "It's unfortunate, but I think we're perfectly appropriate to take the steps we have."
Cheney also said he did not know if Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was still alive.
"I don't know and I'm guessing he is," Cheney said. "We've had certain pieces of evidence become available from time to time, there'll be a photograph released or something that allows the intelligence community to judge that he is still alive."
Asked by Wallace to address the current crisis in the American auto industry, Cheney demurred, saying the responsibility of finding a solution lies with President-elect Barack Obama and his administration.
Cheney says it's a difficult problem and that President George W. Bush has done his best to manage it. It was just on Friday when Bush ordered an emergency bailout of the industry by offering $17.4 billion in loans. The aid comes with tough concessions from the carmakers and their workers.