This morning I had the great honor to speak with former Vice President Dick Cheney about his life in politics, which also happens to be the subject of his new book, “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir.” To hear more from Vice President Cheney, including his reflections on Ronald Reagan, his experience in the minutes and days following the 9/11 attacks and his views on tax and entitlement reform, download the podcast here.
First off, I want to ask you about your book, “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir,” which I have to say was such a quick read because it was so fascinating. Did you enjoy writing it? Did it bring back a lot of memories?
Yes, I did. I started out a little skeptical about it. I’m not an author by profession—my wife is, I’m not. One of the great things was that my daughter [Liz Cheney] helped—she was my co-author. It’s a lot of fun to have your eldest child sit and listen for hours about old war stories. We had a lot of fun.
As secretary of defense under George H.W. Bush, you saw the disintegration of the Soviet Union and, of course, Operation Desert Storm. Tell us about that. Did you know what you’d bitten off when you stepped into that position?
No. I wasn’t trying to get into the cabinet. At that point I was the #2 house republican, and when the [John] Tower nomination went down in defeat, the president asked me to take the job and I did. I’ll always be grateful for that opportunity. It was a fundamental shift in history, if you will. All of a sudden the Cold War started to wind down, Desert Storm was a real challenge—we sent half a million men and women to the Gulf to liberate Kuwait and put Saddam Hussein back into Iraq. It was an extraordinarily successful military venture. There was a tremendous feeling of support all across the country for the troops—it was really something to see.
You were, of course, vice president under George W. Bush. You changed that office forever. Today I’m looking at an administration that, for lack of a better term, needs an adult in the room. You were that adult in the room when we needed one. How did that happen?
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