By: E&P Staff
Appearing with Larry King tonight on CNN, Vice President Cheney continued to attack Sen. Hillary Clinton for allegedly helping the enemy in Iraq and admitted he should recall, but did not recall, that he sent Attorney General Gonzales to former A.G. John Ashcroft in the now-famous 2004 incident.
He also admitted, for the first time, that his 2005 comment about the “last throes” of the insurgency in Iraq had been far off base: “My estimate at the time — and it was wrong, it turned out to be incorrect — was the fact that we were in the midst of holding three elections in Iraq, elected an interim government, then ratifying a constitution, then electing a permanent government, that they had had significant success, we’d rounded up Saddam Hussein.
“I thought there were a series of these milestones that would in fact undermine the insurgency and make it less than it was at that point. That clearly didn’t happen. I think the insurgency turned out to be more robust.”
Here is a transcript of the “hospital visit” part of the interview.
Q In that regard, The New York Times — which, as you said, is not your favorite — reports it was you who dispatched Gonzales and Andy Card to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft’s hospital in 2004 to push Ashcroft to certify the President’s intelligence-gathering program. Was it you?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I don’t recall — first of all, I haven’t seen the story. And I don’t recall that I gave instructions to that effect.
Q That would be something you would recall.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I would think so. But certainly I was involved because I was a big advocate of the Terrorist Surveillance Program, and had been responsible and working with General Hayden and George Tenet to get it to the President for approval. By the time this occurred, it had already been approved about 12 times by the Department of Justice. There was nothing new about it.
Q So you didn’t send them to get permission.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I don’t recall that I was the one who sent them to the hospital.