Cheney Beckons Obama to the Dark Side

By Dan Froomkin
Special to
Tuesday, December 16, 2008; 1:15 PM

Vice President Cheney revels in his "Darth Vader" nickname, frequently joking that his wife says it humanizes him.

Yesterday, in two interviews, Cheney encouraged President-Elect Obama to come to the dark side.

After acknowledging his role in approving the waterboarding of detainees, Cheney urged Obama in an ABC News interview to reconsider his "campaign rhetoric" and instead "retain the tools that have been so essential in defending the nation for the last seven and a half years."

He also said the prison at Guantanamo Bay should stay open as long as there is a war on terror -- which, since there will always be terror, could mean forever.

In a second interview, with right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh, Cheney boasted of having strengthened executive branch powers and made a prediction: "I think the Obama administration is not likely to cede that authority back to the Congress. I think they'll find that given a challenge they face, they'll need all the authority they can muster. . . .

"[M]y guess is that once they get here and they're faced with the same problems we deal with every day," Cheney said, "they will appreciate some of the things we've put in place."

Maybe you expected some regrets? Dream on.

"Regrets?" asked ABC's Jonathan Karl.

"Oh, not a lot, at this stage," Cheney replied. "I think I'll have a chance to reflect on that after I get out of here and see whether or not anything immediately comes to mind. I think given the circumstances we've had to deal with, I think we've done pretty well."

Cheney didn't even share his boss's arguably insincere regret that the pre-war intelligence about Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction was flawed.

Unlike his boss, Cheney bluntly acknowledged that the president would have taken the country to war anyway.

Cheney's Defense of Torture

From the transcript:

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