Cheney defends Bush administration's decisions in interview with hometown paper
Published: Sunday December 28, 2008

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Vice President Dick Cheney, during an interview with the Casper Star-Tribune in his home state of Wyoming, defended his decisions during his two terms and dismissed the low poll numbers that have followed his administration with the continued occupation of Iraq and the tanking economy. He told his interviewer that a politician can't change his policy every time a new poll comes out.

"My experience has been over the years that if you govern based upon poll numbers, upon trying to improve your overall poll ratings, people Iíve encountered who do that are people who wonít make tough decisions," he said. "And the job the president has and those who advise him is to make those basic fundamental decisions for the nation that nobody else is authorized or able to make."

"My own experience has been," he added, "in the administrations I've served in, for example Gerald Ford, a man who made a very, very tough decision when he decided to pardon Nixon, something that was extremely unpopular, universally condemned, but 30 years later he was praised as having done the right thing. So I think you need to have that kind of approach to it rather than watch the polls on any given day."

"I think the facts are that we were faced with a unique set of circumstances in the aftermath of 9/11," he continued, "and we had to make some very tough decisions that not everybody agreed with. But I think they were the right decisions, especially in terms of defending the homeland.

"We've now gone seven and a half years without another attack. To do that, we adopted policies, such as the Terrorist Surveillance Program that let us intercept the communications of Al-Qaeda terrorists talking to folks inside the U.S., the High Value Detainee Interrogation Program, the Patriot Act. These were all measures we took that we felt were essential to defeat Al-Qaeda, to head off the next attack, and to defend the nation. Not everybody agreed with them; some of them have been controversial."

In March, Cheney expressed supreme indifference to the opinions of the American people. When told by ABC's Martha Raddatz that two thirds of Americans thought the fight in Iraq, at a "high cost in lives and treasure," was no longer worth it, the Vice President responded: "So?"

"So you don't care what the American people think?" Raddatz asked.

"No. I think we cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations of the public opinion polls," Cheney elaborated. "There has in fact been fundamental change and transformation and improvement for the better. That's a huge accomplishment."