Vice President Cheney sat down for an expansive interview yesterday with myself and executive editor John Solomon, in which he defended the morality of the Bush administration’s war on terror, including its use of aggressive interrogations that some believe to have been torture.
You can read our story on the interview here, and portions of the transcript are here.
One of my favorite moments in the interview came at the end, however, after we had finished the 38-minute interview and stood to leave, and were saying our goodbyes. As we shook hands, I asked Mr. Cheney who his favorite Founding Father is. I’ve been reading books on some of the founders of late, and think I see a parallel between Mr. Cheney and one founder in particular (the subject of a later post, probably tomorrow).
Mr. Cheney, by the way, has portraits of two founders on the walls of his West Wing office: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. When I asked the vice president who his favorite founder was, he thought for a moment, and then said, “Partly I’m influenced by my wife on this. I am intrigued as well by Madison, James Madison.”
“Served in the Congress and had an enormous impact on the Constitution,” he said of the nation’s fourth president.
He then revealed that his wife, Lynne Cheney, has just signed a contract with Viking Publishers to write a biography of Madison.
“I think Madison’s an intriguing figure who had an enormous impact and doesn’t get the kind of attention that some of the others do,” said Mr. Cheney, whose reputation as vice president has been that of a behind the scenes operator who knew how to wield power without drawing attention.
“Not a very flashy guy, small man, but huge impact,” he said.
It was a classic Cheney moment.