Countering many of his Republican colleagues, former Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday the tea party is actually a positive movement for the GOP.
"It's an uprising, in part, and the good thing is it's taken place within the Republican Party," he said on NBC's "Today." "I don't see it as a negative. I think it's much better to have that kind of ferment and turmoil and change in the Republican Party than it would be to have it outside."
Mr. Cheney said that if it wasn't for the tea party, his daughter, Liz, might not be seeking to unseat Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi. Her campaign was "partly motivated" by concerns expressed by tea party members who decry high taxes, high national debt and the looming financial obligations from Obamacare.
Mr. Cheney said he admired the tea party for fighting the good fight.
"I'm not a card-carrying member [of the tea party] — I don't know if there is a card — but I've got a lot of respect for what the people are doing," he said. "These are Americans. They're loyal, they're patriotic, they're taxpayers and they're fed up with what they see happening in Washington."
Mr. Cheney said he didn't blame the tea party for causing an unrepairable schism within the Republican Party.
It's all just part of the new waves of political thought that hit at Congress and Capitol Hill from time to time, he said, citing a "new generation of political leaders" in the late 1970s that included Newt Gingrich, who foretold of a Republican majority.
"And he was right," Mr. Cheney said of Mr. Gingrich's prediction.
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