| Cheney: 'Full Speed Ahead' on Iraq
Vice President Tells ABC News That Election, Public Sentiment Will Not Influence War Policy
ABC News | November 3, 2006
By ED O'KEEFE
Nov. 3, 2006 — - Four days before the election, as Republican candidates battle to save their seats in Congress amid a backlash over the war in Iraq, Vice President Dick Cheney told ABC News the administration is going "full speed ahead" with its policy.
"We've got the basic strategy right," Cheney told George Stephanopoulos in an interview to be broadcast Sunday on "This Week."
Watch the full interview this Sunday morning, including the vice president's candid comments on John Kerry's gaffe this week and Hillary Clinton.
October was one of the deadliest months in Iraq for U.S. troops. Cheney said that while the administration's policy may not be popular, "This is the right thing for us to be doing."
In the most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, 57 percent of Americans said that the war was not worth fighting. The poll also showed President Bush's job approval rating dropped to 37 percent, the second-lowest mark of his presidency.
Cheney said that even with pollsters predicting that Democrats would likely make gains in both houses of Congress Tuesday, voter sentiment would not influence Bush's Iraq policy.
"It may not be popular with the public -- it doesn't matter in the sense that we have to continue the mission and do what we think is right. And that's exactly what we're doing," Cheney said. "We're not running for office. We're doing what we think is right."
First Reaction to Vanity Fair Report
Cheney also gave his first reaction to the Vanity Fair report that two of the Pentagon's strongest supporters of the war, Richard Perle and Ken Adelman, now say they would not have supported the invasion if they had known how incompetently the administration would handle it.
Cheney said, "I haven't seen the piece I'm not going to comment on it. I think there is no question that it is a tough war, but it is also the right thing to do," he said. "And it is very important that we complete the mission."
Cheney asserted that the anti-war message is coming primarily from the Democrats, despite their own policy disagreements.
"They haven't offered up a plan, but they have several different positions -- withdraw, withdraw at some future date, cut off funding," Cheney said. "The fact of the matter is, this is the right thing for us to be doing. We need to succeed here. It has a direct bearing on how we do around the world on the global war on terror."
On another subject, the vice president touted the Bush administration's economic policies, arguing that if Democrats take control of Congress, the tax cuts he and the president deem essential would not be extended. Cheney then complained that the White House had not been given enough credit on the economy, which he described as going "gangbusters."
When asked why he thinks the president doesn't get enough credit for the economy and the recent news that the nation has a 4.4 percent unemployment rate, Cheney said, "Well, you guys don't help," referring to the media.
"What's news is if there's bad news, and that gets coverage," he said. "But the good news that's out there, day after day after day, doesn't get as much attention."
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