Thursday, November 10, 2011

10/06-Wolf Blitzer vs Lynne Cheney

Ahhh I love it when CNN gets called on its BS. Wolf Blitzer had Lynne Cheney, The Vice President's wife on friday night. ticked her off too. anyway here's the transcript of the interview.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

More now on the recent controversial comments from Vice President Dick Cheney -- it concerns the issue of torture. Lynne Cheney is strongly defending her husband's recent comments, but she's also outraged over her own name being mentioned in a very nasty Senate race in Virginia.

And joining us now, the wife of the vice president of the United States, Lynne Cheney, no stranger to CNN, thanks very much for coming in.

L. CHENEY: Thank you, Wolf, for having me.

BLITZER: And we're going to talk about this excellent new book, "Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America". This is a book that I recommend for all ages, and I see it's already a best-seller.

L. CHENEY: I'm very proud of this book. It was an effort of two years for Robin Glasser and me and it was inspiring the whole time. It's a story of the whole country told by a family going on a road trip, and my grandchildren love it.

BLITZER: I want to get to that, all that, but I want to pick your brain a little bit on news that's happening right now, including your husband, the vice president. He was interviewed earlier this week out in North Dakota, and he had this exchange with a radio talk show host. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you agree a dunk in water is a no- brainer if it can save lives?

VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: Well, it's a no-brainer to me, but I -- for a while there, I was criticized as being the vice president for torture. We don't torture. That's not what we're involved in.


BLITZER: It made it sound -- and there's been interpretation to this effect -- that he was, in effect, confirming that the United States used this waterboarding, this technique that has been rejected by the international community that simulates a prisoner being drowned, if you will, and he was, in effect, supposedly, confirming that the United States has been using that.

L. CHENEY: No, Wolf -- that is a mighty house you're building on top of that mole hill there, a mighty mountain. This is complete distortion; he didn't say anything of the kind.

BLITZER: Because of the dunking of -- you know, using the water and the dunking.

L. CHENEY: Well, you know, I understand your point. It's kind of the point of a lot of people right now, to try to distort the administration's position, and if you really want to talk about that, I watched the program on CNN last night, which I thought -- it's your 2006 voter program, which I thought was a terrible distortion of both the president and the vice president's position on many issues.

It seemed almost straight out of Democratic talking points using phrasing like "domestic surveillance" when it's not domestic surveillance that anyone has talked about or ever done. It's surveillance of terrorists. It's people who have al Qaeda connections calling into the United States. So I think we're in the season of distortion, and this is just one more.

BLITZER: But there have been some cases where innocent people have been picked up, interrogated, held for long periods of time then simply said never mind, let go -- they're let go.

L. CHENEY: Well, are you sure these people are innocent?

BLITZER: They're walking around free right now and nobody has arrested them.

L. CHENEY: You made a point last night of a man who had a bookstore in London where radical Islamists gathered who was in Afghanistan when the Taliban were there, who went to Pakistan. You know, I think that you might be a little careful before you declare this as a person with clean hands.

BLITZER: You're referring to the CNN "BROKEN GOVERNMENT" special.

L. CHENEY: I certainly am.

BLITZER: This was the one that John King reported on last night.

L. CHENEY: Well, you know, right there, Wolf, "BROKEN GOVERNMENT." Now, what kind of stance is that? Here we are. We're a country where we have been mightily challenged over the past six years. We've been through 9/11. We've been through Katrina.

The president and the vice president inherited a recession. We're a country where the economy is healthy. That's not broken. This government has acted very well. We've had tax cuts that are responsible for our healthy economy. We're a country that was attacked five years ago. We haven't been attacked since. What this government has done is effective. That's not broken government.

So, you know, I shouldn't let media bias surprise me, but I worked at CNN once.

BLITZER: You worked ...


L. CHENEY: I watched your program last night and I was troubled.

BLITZER: All right. Well, that was probably the purpose, to get people to think, to get people to discuss these issues because a lot of conservatives and ...

L. CHENEY: Well, all right, Wolf. I'm here to talk about my book, but if you want to talk about distortion ...

BLITZER: We'll talk about your book.

L. CHENEY: Well, right, but what is CNN doing running terrorist tape of terrorists shooting Americans? I mean, I thought Duncan Hunter ask you a very good question and you didn't answer it. Do you want us to win?

BLITZER: The answer, of course, is we want the United States to win. We are Americans. There's no doubt about that. Do you think we want terrorists to win?

L. CHENEY: Then why are you running terrorist propaganda?

BLITZER: With all due respect -- with all due respect, this is not terrorist propaganda.

L. CHENEY: Oh, Wolf.

BLITZER: This is reporting the news which is what we do. We're not partisan.

L. CHENEY: Where did you get the film? BLITZER: We got the film -- look, this is an issue that has been widely discussed. This is an issue that we have reported on extensively. We make no apologies for showing that. That was a very carefully considered decision, why we did that, and I think -- and I think -- that if you're ...

L. CHENEY: Well, I think it's shocking.

BLITZER: ...a serious journalist, you want to report the news. Sometimes the news is good, sometimes the news isn't so good but ...

L. CHENEY: But, Wolf, there's a difference between the news and terrorist propaganda. Why do you give the terrorists the floor?

BLITZER: And if you put it in context, that's what news is. We said it was propaganda. We didn't distort where we got it. We didn't distort anything about it. We gave it the context.

Let's talk about another issue in the news, then we'll get to the book. This -- the Democrats are now complaining bitterly in this Virginia race, George Allen using novels -- novels -- that Jim Webb, his Democratic challenger, has written in which there are sexual references, and they're making a big deal out of this. I want you to listen to what Jim Webb said today in responding to this very sharp attack from George Allen.

L. CHENEY: Now, do you promise, Wolf, that we're going to talk about my book?

BLITZER: I do promise.

L. CHENEY: Because this seems to me a mighty long trip around the merry-go-round.

BLITZER: I want you to -- this was in the news today and your name has come up, so that's why we're talking about it, but listen to this.


JAMES WEBB (D), VIRGINIA SENATE CANDIDATE: There's nothing that's been in any of my novels that, in my view, hasn't been either illuminated the surroundings or defining a character or moving a plot. I'm a serious writer. I mean, we can go and read Lynne Cheney's lesbian love scenes, you know, if you want to get graphic on stuff.


L. CHENEY: Jim Webb is full of baloney. I have never written anything sexually explicit. His novels are full of sexual, explicit references to incest, sexually explicit references -- well, you know, I just don't want my grandchildren to turn on the television set. This morning, Imus was reading from the novels, and it's triple-X rated.

BLITZER: Here's what the Democratic Party put out today, the Democratic Congressional -- Senatorial Campaign Committee: "Lynne Cheney's book featured brothels and attempted rape. In 1981, Vice President Dick Cheney's wife, Lynne, wrote a book called "Sisters," which featured a lesbian love affair, brothels and attempted rapes."


BLITZER: "In 1988, Lynn Cheney wrote about a Republican vice president who dies of a heart attack while having sex with his mistress." Is that true?

L. CHENEY: Nothing explicit. And actually, that was full of lies. It's not -- it's just -- it's absolutely not a...

BLITZER: But you did write a book entitled "Sisters"?

L. CHENEY: I did write a book entitled "Sisters."

BLITZER: And it did have lesbian characters.

L. CHENEY: This description -- no, not necessarily. This description is a lie. I'll stand on that.

BLITZER: There's nothing in there about rapes and brothels?

L. CHENEY: Well, Wolf, could we talk about a children's book for a minute?

BLITZER: We can talk about the children's book. I just wanted to...

L. CHENEY: I think my segment is, like, 15 minutes long and we've had about 10 minutes of...

BLITZER: I just wanted to -- I just wanted to clarify what's in the news today, given -- this is...

L. CHENEY: Sex, lies and distortion. That's what it is.

BLITZER: This is an opportunity for you to explain on these sensitive issues.

L. CHENEY: Wolf, I have nothing to explain. Jim Webb has a lot to explain.

BLITZER: Well, he says he's only -- as a serious writer, novelist, a fiction writer, he was doing basically what you were doing.

L. CHENEY: Jim Webb is full of baloney.

BLITZER: We'll leave it at that. Let's talk a little bit about your book, "Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America."

L. CHENEY: And, you know, one of the reasons I wrote this book is because we spend so much time nowadays talking about things that are negative. And it's not the fault of any particular segment of the society, but we have come to define news as bad news.

And so our kids get a steady diet of this is wrong, the government is broken, the war isn't working, the economy is terrible, even when those things aren't true. Our kids are getting a steady dose of negativity.

What Robin and I wanted so much to do is to talk about what a wonderful country it is. We wanted to give our kids something positive, and I hope that's what we've done in this book. It's very, very pro-American.

This is a book -- it's very patriotic. There is no question about our view that this is the greatest country on the face of the earth. And that is what we want kids to take away from it.

BLITZER: The kids who read this book will learn a lot about the 50 states. That's what it's called.


BLITZER: But a lot of the landmarks in those 50 states.

L. CHENEY: Well, not just landmarks but the vast variety and diversity of our culture. You know, we have everything from the Preservation Hall Band in New Orleans to mariachi music in Texas to the Philharmonic in Boston.

We've got all kinds of food. There's a lovely little girl in this book. Her name is Annie, and she writes back to her grandma again and again about different foods she's enjoying, or not. In Boston, she says the beans are great, but she's a little doubtful about the cod.

So it's not just about landmarks. It's also about the kind of history and culture that I think kids will enjoy very much.

BLITZER: And it is beautifully illustrated.

L. CHENEY: Robin Glasser is a dear person and a very talented individual, and I'm very happy to work with her.

BLITZER: We can certainly disagree on what is news, what is serious news, but we can agree that this is a beautifully done book.

L. CHENEY: Well, I appreciate that. Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: How is your husband doing? Because there's always concern about his health.

L. CHENEY: Well, I'm not sure why there's always concern about his health. He's been out on 140 campaigns. He's raised -- I don't -- $40-some million for Republican candidates around the country. He's been very busy. He has been serving the nation very well, as I think George Bush has been a really great leader for us during this time of some trials.

BLITZER: We're going to leave it right there. It was kind of you to come in.

L. CHENEY: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: You came armed -- I guess you knew what you wanted to do.

L. CHENEY: Wolf, I am always prepared for you to ask questions that maybe aren't quite fair, but they're pretty tough.

BLITZER: You did a good job.

L. CHENEY: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you.


BLITZER: Now, we'd like to address a comment that Lynne Cheney made in our exclusive interview. You heard her harshly criticize CNN's "BROKEN GOVERNMENT" series, specifically the special that aired last night. She charged that the report declared a terror suspect named Moazzam Begg was -- and I'm quoting Mrs. Cheney now -- "a person with clean hands."

John King's report actually noted that the U.S. government considers Begg a threat and a terrorist but President Bush had him released anyway. Listen to this excerpt.


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president released Begg over the objections of his national security team. U.S. intelligence officials insists Begg exaggerates the harshness of his treatment, and to this day, these intelligence officials stand by the accuracy of the statement Begg signed while in U.S. custody.


BLITZER: John King's report goes on to note that Begg's statement said he trained at three al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, knew at least a half a dozen al Qaeda operatives, and that he planned to take up arms against the United States before fleeing through Tora Bora to Afghanistan.

Another point of contention in my interview with Mrs. Cheney, the title of CNN prime-time documentary series, "Broken Government." I asked CNN's Lou Dobbs to weigh in on that.


BLITZER: I don't know if you saw the interview we did with Lynne Cheney.

LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: I sure did. Sure did. BLITZER: She's very upset that we're calling this series "Broken Government," because she insists the government is not broken. The economy is doing great. And that for us to be calling this a broken government is distorting the actual situation.

DOBBS: Well, I, with all due respect, I don't believe Lynne Cheney could be more wrong, both in tone and in fact.

The truth is that this government is not functioning. It is dysfunctional, in point of fact. It's failing to secure our borders, it's failing to inspect cargo, five years after a terrorist attack on this country. It's inexcusable. Homeland security is nothing more than a sham being perpetrated right now, and sometimes aided and abetted by the national media, Wolf, as you well know.

We have a middle class, half the people in this country are making less than $30,000 a year. There's no question, some Americans are doing well, but our middle class is being hammered by runaway health care costs, by competition. Corporate America and this government have put our middle class in direct competition with the cheapest labor in the world. It is extraordinary.

BLITZER: I think her other point is that by calling it broken government, her words, these are Democratic talking points, and that we're playing into this partisan battle right now.

DOBBS: Well, again, with all due respect to Lynne Cheney, to anyone else who wants to argue about the issue of broken government, this is a broken government that's been created by both Democratic and Republican Congresses and presidents. The fact is, both parties are not working in the interests of the middle class. If she thinks this is a partisan issue, I would urge her to focus on our reporting, pointing out, in point of fact, that neither party is serving the interests of the American people right now. And our working people, most importantly, our working people, our middle class, our working men and women and their families. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

BLITZER: One thing about Lou Dobbs, he's an equal opportunity critic against the Democrats and the Republicans.

DOBBS: Well, probably a little heavier critic right now, since Republicans are in charge. If we see that change, you can bet -- one thing is, as you know, Wolf, I'm probably going to be a little more heavily critical of what the Democrats are doing.

BLITZER: Lou's book, and it's a best-seller right now, "War on the Middle Class," here it is, right here, "How the Government, Big Business and Special Interests Groups are Waging War on the American Dream and How to Fight Back." It's doing very well, as it should be.

DOBBS: Terrific interview with Lynne Cheney. It really -- it was very revealing, in terms of the tone and the tact that's being taken. You know, now we are watching power bridling at truth being spoken to power. Kudos to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much.

DOBBS: Thank you.


BLITZER: CNN's special series, "Broken Government," continues tonight with "Where the Right Went Wrong." It will be reported by our own senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield. That airs tonight, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 5:00 Pacific, right after "THE SITUATION ROOM." That's coming up shortly.

For more on Mrs. Cheney's earlier novel "Sisters" and her comment about Jim Webb in my interview, let's bring in our Internet report Abbi Tatton -- Abbi.

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, Lynne Cheney's 1981 novel "Sisters" is out of print, but there are images and excerpts available online on Amazon.

An image of the front cover, describing it as a novel of a strong and beautiful woman who broke all the rules of the American frontier. More on the back, saying, "it's a novel that breaks bold, new ground."

It is out of print, as I said, but you are able to get some copies online on Amazon Nine sellers (ph), selling used copies. They don't run cheap. $282 right up to $999 for a first edition.

Now, we found online passages that refer to items that Mr. Webb mentioned. We plan on calling Mrs. Cheney back and asking her what she meant in her interview when she denied Mr. Webb's comments about her book. We'll bring you that on Monday.

We should also mention that online also is Lynne Cheney's new book, her children's book, "Our 50 States." That's ranked number eight currently on Amazon -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much for that, Abbi.

Still ahead tonight, some may have thought the outcome would be a sure thing in the Maryland Senate race. We're going to tell you why a charismatic GOP candidate, though, could change that. We're watching what is now a very, very close race in Maryland. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

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