Cheney Doesn't Care What You Think

By Dan Froomkin
Special to
Thursday, March 20, 2008; 12:46 PM

It's never exactly been a secret that Vice President Cheney operates by his own rules and thinks he knows better than the American public. But yesterday, he made it official.

Talking to ABC News's Martha Raddatz, in the piano lounge of the Shangri-La resort and spa in Oman, Cheney said he isn't the least bit concerned that the public overwhelmingly opposes the war in Iraq. In fact, it makes him identify with Abraham Lincoln.

Here's the transcript and a video excerpt from the interview.

Raddatz: "Two-thirds of Americans say it's not worth fighting, and they're looking at the value gain versus the cost in American lives, certainly, and Iraqi lives."

Cheney: "So?"

Raddatz: "So -- you don't care what the American people think?"

Cheney: "No, I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls. Think about what would have happened if Abraham Lincoln had paid attention to polls, if they had had polls during the Civil War. He never would have succeeded if he hadn't had a clear objective, a vision for where he wanted to go, and he was willing to withstand the slings and arrows of the political wars in order to get there."

Cheney on Iran

Remember all those crazy conspiracy theories last week that Cheney's Middle East trip, coming hard on the heels of Adm. William Fallon's abrupt resignation, signified that the White House had some sort of plan in the works to attack Iran? (See my March 12 column, Are We Closer to War?)

Cheney didn't quite confirm those theories yesterday -- but he said he understood where they were coming from.

Raddatz: "Can you foresee any point where military action would be taken? I ask you this because when you come over here, people in the region start thinking you're over here to plan some sort of military action."

Cheney: "Well, I suppose that's because of my past history."

Raddatz: "Yes, it is. So what would you like to say about that, and Iran?"

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