Vice President Cheney’s interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl on Monday revolved mostly around the normal Cheney topics such as national security and the war on terror, but at one point the veep made a very curious comment.
Mr. Cheney was talking, as he often does, about how he and President Bush have not looked to public opinion for direction.
“Our objective has not been to see how high we could get our poll numbers by the time we left office,” Mr. Cheney said.
But then, while going down a list of things he and Mr. Bush did do, Mr. Cheney slipped in mentions to two things that he, by all accounts, has never been a big fan of: the president’s No Child Left Behind program from 2001 and the 2003 Medicare Part D reform, which gave subscription drugs to seniors.
“Our objective has been to do other things such as defend the nation, pursue a successful counterinsurgency program, to prevail in Iraq and Afghanistan, to reform the education system, add prescription drug benefits to Medicare, cut taxes — those are all things that I think we’ve succeeded on. They were not all popular,” Mr. Cheney said.
Mr. Cheney does not make a value judgment about the education and Medicare reforms. He simply says they were “objectives” that the president and he “succeeded” in getting signed into law and implementing.
But to even refer to those programs as successes is interesting from a man who, as a traditional small government conservative, was never a fan of these big government expenditures.
Washington Times executive editor John Solomon and myself will be interviewing the vice president tomorrow. Look for updates to the Web site by late afternoon and then our story in Thursday’s paper.