Cheney Speaks Out on Torture; McCain on Semantics

Posted May 10, 2009 at 12:03pm

Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday would not rule out testifying under oath before Congressional investigators on the Bush administration’s use of controversial interrogation techniques.

“I’d have to see what the circumstances are and what type of precedent we’d be setting, but certainly I wouldn’t be out here today if I didn’t feel comfortable talking about what we were doing,— Cheney said today on CBS’ Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer. “I think it’ very important that we have a clear understanding that what happened here was an honorable approach to defending the nation.—

“I’ve made it very clear that I feel very strongly that what we did here was exactly the right thing to do,— Cheney told Schieffer. “If I don’t speak out, then where do we find ourselves? The critics have a free run and there isn’t anyone on the other side to tell the truth.—

Cheney also offered his take on the direction of the Republican Party, saying that “there is room for moderates.— The former vice president also took sides in a recent spat involving conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh and Colin Powell, the former secretary of State whom Cheney doubted “was still a Republican.—

“If I had to chose…I’d go with Rush Limbaugh,— Cheney said, noting that his former colleague “endorsed a Democratic candidate for president this time, Barack Obama, and I assume that is some indication of his loyalty and his interest.—

Cheney also expanded on a recent statement on talk radio that —it would be a mistake for us to moderate.—

“I think partly it’s a semantic problem,— Cheney told Schieffer. “I don’t think that the party ought to move to the left in order to redefine its base. We are what we are — we’re Republicans, we have certain things we believe in. Maintaining loyalty to those principles is vital to our success.—

Appearing Sunday on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) also said his party is getting bogged down in an unproductive semantic argument over its future.

“We’re in a word game here,— McCain told Stephanopoulos. “I don’t want to moderate’ either. I think the policies and principles [of Republicans] are as viable today as they were in the past.—

“We have to understand that maybe a candidate who can win in one part of our country like the South may not be able to get elected in Pennsylvania,— he added. “We can have people in our party who do not have the same views on specific issues as a long as we share common principles.—

McCain also placed some of Republicans’ current woes on Cheney and others in the Bush White House, who he said destroyed credibility with the party’s base by running up record deficits during two terms.

“In all due respect, the previous administration — by letting spending get completely out of control, by betraying some of those principles of our party — cost us a couple of elections,— McCain said.

The 2008 GOP presidential nominee also said a GOP resurgence is not impossible — but not before Republicans do a better job recruiting candidates, unifying their message and reaching out “to many Americans who don’t feel they can be a part of our party.—

“We all work in cycles. For many years we have seen parties down and parties up,— McCain said. “That’s the great thing about American politics.—