Video: A conversation with Lynne Cheney

msnbc.com
updated 10/11/2007 2:49:12 PM ET 2007-10-11T18:49:12

Earlier today on "Morning Joe," Lynne Cheney responded to President Jimmy Carter's comments calling her husband, Vice President Dick Cheney, a "disaster" and a "militant." Cheney told MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, "I lost respect for Jimmy Carter in 1991." Lynne Cheney also called Former President Carter "predictable," saying "He brings out a book, and he makes a fuss. He did it with his last book by suggesting that Israel was creating a society of apartheid with Palestine. He's done it this year by criticizing the administration and calling Dick names, so it's just pretty predictable."

Below is a partial transcript of the interview that aired this morning on "Morning Joe."

Joe Scarborough, MSNBC Anchor:  We've been talking this morning about Jimmy Carter saying, what did he say? What were his exact words?

Mika Brzezinski, MSNBC Anchor: That he was "a disaster."

Scarborough: And he was "a militant that never served in military service." As somebody that's always been very outspoken, how do you absorb this?

Lynne Cheney: Well ...

Scarborough: Because I sort of suspect that at the end of eight years, you're going to come out swinging.

Cheney: Would you want me to wait so long?

Scarborough: Well, yes, listen, if you come out swinging this morning, I would greatly appreciate it, because, like I said, big fan of yours on "Crossfire."

Cheney: Well, you know,  first of all, we've been in politics for 40 years. So you just kind of get used to it, Joe. You know, you've been there, you get a little bit of a thick skin. And every once in a while, I mean -- the human nature involved in all of this is a little amusing because Jimmy Carter is so predictable.

He brings out a book, and he makes a fuss. He creates a controversy. He did it with his last book by suggesting that Israel was creating a society of apartheid with Palestine. He's done it this year by criticizing the administration and calling Dick names, so it's just pretty predictable.

And in fact, I was thinking on the way over to your studio, I probably had more time to think than is good for me. I was thinking that I really lost respect for Jimmy Carter in 1991. You know, it's one thing to be critical, sure, be critical. This time, I was a little surprised that he would do it on the BBC.

But in 1991, he took an additional step. He didn't like the idea that we were going to get a United Nations resolution to kick Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. And so, he, as a former president, took it upon himself to write heads of state, urging them not to let their representatives in the United Nations vote for the resolution, supporting the action in Kuwait. You know, that -- he really has crossed some kind of line here.

Scarborough: That's what we criticized Chirac for doing just a couple of years ago, the president of France. Wow. So this is marketing ploy? A book comes out, and...

Cheney: Well, Joe, you're saying a little more, with a little less subtlety than I did. I just said it was predictable.

On being in the public arena
Scarborough
: Yes. Well... you say you have thick skin. But obviously, this has been a brutal process for you.  Has politics gotten too personal whether you're a Republican in the White House, or a Democrat in the White House. Do you think it scares off qualified people from running?

Cheney: I'm not sure how many people it scares off. I think the money is as hard an obstacle to overcome as the idea that you'll be criticized. The money, when I look at the amounts that the candidates for president are raising, it's just astonishing, and it's worrisome. You know, you keep seeing, I guess in Mrs. Clinton's case, the money coming in from sources that it shouldn't be coming in from, but it just has to come in so fast that it's hard, perhaps, to stop and look and be sure that the people who are contributing should be contributing.

Scarborough: Yes, but it's a tough lifestyle. You think it's been worth it?

Cheney: Oh, it's been an amazing privilege. And, you know, growing up as we did in a small town in Wyoming, I think the values that we grew up with have certainly stood us in good stead.

I was remembering this one scene in the book where Dick's family has the first television set on the block, and Eisenhower is being inaugurated. They didn't vote for Eisenhower. They voted for the Democratic candidate, but nevertheless, they invited the whole school over to watch Eisenhower be inaugurated because after all, he was our president.

And I'm not suggesting there shouldn't be criticism of administrations. Certainly not suggesting there shouldn't be criticisms of presidents, but I kind of was wondering in Jimmy Carter's small town, did they teach those same values?

Will Cheney write a book?
Brzezinski: Speaking of Jimmy Carter again... all the criticism that he has spoken about your husband, it does echo some criticisms that have been said in the past...

Do you think that perhaps after this administration comes to a close,  your husband might answer his critics more specifically, might he write a book? Is there more to know about Dick Cheney than perhaps we have seen?

Cheney: Oh, I'm sure there is. But you know what, I think the history of this administration has written what we will remember, what will be the overriding theme is that after 9/11, we didn't think we would get six months without an attack. Maybe not six weeks. And this president and the vice president helping him have been very strong. They have been very aggressive in going after the enemies of our country, the people who want to kill us. And it's now been more than six years.

I think it's easy to forget the trauma of 9/11, to forget how real and present the danger is, but they have kept the danger away from us for more than six years, and I think that's a remarkable achievement for which they deserve a great deal of credit.

On Dick Cheney's 'Darth Vader' image
Scarborough
: I want to ask you, why do you think it is that your husband has become such a lightning rod? Why is it always Dick Cheney's Darth Vader -- I absolutely love the narrative that it's not George Bush, it's evil Dick Cheney who is manipulating George Bush, who sits on his computer playing video golf, Dick Cheney tells him what to do, he says, "Okay." Why is that, why is that narrative so popular in Washington, D.C.?

Cheney: You know, I have no idea. But I do go back to my book every once in a while and look for the notions that I grew up with in Wyoming. And we have a saying in Wyoming, which goes like this, "Dogs don't bark at parked cars."

Now, you know, if you're in one of these high offices, and you want to sit and smile and make everyone like you, don't try to upset the status quo. Don't try to do things differently. But after 9/11, we had to do things differently. And Dick has been an advocate of that, and the president has been very strong and true in being sure that, you know, we take the steps we need to. Whether it's the terrorists surveillance program or other programs that the Democrats have objected to, that we take the steps to keep the country safe. And that does result in a lot of dogs barking.

"Morning Joe" telecasts weekdays from 6 – 9 a.m. ET.

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