Vice President Dick Cheney, asked on CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday if he had spoken to I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, his former chief of staff who was convicted in early March of perjury and obstruction of justice, said, "There hasn't been occasion to do so."
In response, CBS's chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer said he was "surprised," and repeated his question to the vice president.
"But as your friend, wouldn't you even call and express your regrets?" Schieffer asked Cheney. "I mean, I am surprised to hear you say that."
Cheney responded again, "I just — I haven't had occasion to do that." When asked if Cheney felt at all responsible for Libby's demise, the vice president answered, "Bob, I'm simply not going to get into the case. And I think it would be inappropriate for me to do so."
Cheney did add that he has "enormous regard for the man. I believe deeply in Scooter Libby. He's one of the most dedicated public servants I've ever worked with, and I think this is a great tragedy."
Libby is the highest-ranking White House official to be convicted of a felony since the Iran-contra scandals of the 1980s.
Last week, attorneys for Libby said they would not file motions for a new trial, but intend to raise "substantial issues of law" on appeal of his conviction to the U.S. Appeals Court.
Convicted last month
Libby was convicted on March 6 of lying to a grand jury and to FBI agents investigating the leak of the identity of a CIA. operative in the summer of 2003 amid a fierce public dispute over the war in Iraq.
A jury found him guilty on 4 of 5 felony counts of lying and obstructing the investigation into the leak of CIA officer Valerie Plame.
Libby's attorneys wrote, in a notice to trial Judge Reggie Walton, that the resulting appeal "may result in granting a new trial."
His defense attorneys added that a review of transcripts and records of the case and the 14 day trial indicate "that the issues were adequately presented to the District Court" during the trial.
On June 5, Libby faces a likely sentencing range of one to three years in prison. It is unlikely that Libby will have to report to prison before the outcome of his appeal.