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Briefing and Opinion
October 15, 2004


You and Senator Kerry have said that the war in Iraq is the wrong war at the wrong time. Does that mean that if you had been president and vice president that Saddam Hussein would still be in power?

John Edwards EDWARDS: "Our point in this is not complicated: We were attacked by Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. We went into Afghanistan and very quickly the administration made a decision to divert attention from that and instead began to plan for the invasion of Iraq. ...Listen carefully to what the vice president is saying. Because there is no connection between Saddam Hussein and the attacks of September 11th -- period."

CHENEY: "The senator has got his facts wrong. I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11, but there's clearly an established Iraqi track record with terror.

"And the point is that that's the place where you're most likely to see the terrorists come together with weapons of mass destruction, the deadly technologies that Saddam Hussein had developed and used over the years."
Dick Cheney



What is a global test if it's not a global veto?

John Edwards EDWARDS: "John Kerry will never give up control over the security of the United States of America to any other country. We will not outsource our responsibility to keep this country safe. ...For America to lead, for America to do what it's done for 50 years before this president and vice president came into office, it is critical that we be credible."

CHENEY "Your rhetoric, Senator, would be a lot more credible if there was a record to back it up. There isn't. And you cannot use "talk tough" during the course of a 90-minute debate in a presidential campaign to obscure a 30-year record in the United States Senate and, prior to that by John Kerry, who has consistently come down on the wrong side of all the major defense issues that he's faced as a public official." Dick Cheney




Part of what you have said and Senator Kerry has said that you are going to do in order to get us out of the problems in Iraq is to internationalize the effort. Yet French and German officials have both said they have no intention even if John Kerry is elected of sending any troops into Iraq for any peacekeeping effort. Does that make your effort or your plan to internationalize this effort seem kind of naive?

John Edwards EDWARDS: "What we know is that the president and the vice president have not done the work to build the coalition that we need -- dramatically different than the first Gulf War. We know that they haven't done it, and we know they can't do it."

CHENEY: "You talk about internationalizing the effort. They don't have a plan. Basically, it's an echo. ...It's hard, after John Kerry referred to our allies as a coalition of the coerced and the bribed, to go out and persuade people to send troops and to participate in this process." Dick Cheney




Mr. Vice President, in June of 2000 when you were still CEO of Halliburton, you said that U.S. businesses should be allowed to do business with Iran because, I quote, "Unilateral sanctions almost never work." After four years as vice presient now, and with Iran having been declared by your administration as part of the "Axis of Evil," do you still believe that we should lift sanctions on Iran? [Cheney's answer to the question is given during the following question.]

John Edwards EDWARDS: "While he was CEO of Halliburton, they paid millions of dollars in fines for providing false information on their company, just like Enron and Ken Lay. They did business with Libya and Iran, two sworn enemies of the United States. They're now under investigation for having bribed foreign officials during that period of time."

CHENEY: "The reason they keep trying to attack Halliburton is because they want to obscure their own record." "And Senator, frankly, you have a record in the Senate that's not very distinguished. You've missed 33 out of 36 meetings in the Judiciary Committee, almost 70 percent of the meetings of the Intelligence Committee." Dick Cheney




Mr. Vice President, the Census Bureau ranked Cleveland as the biggest poor city in the country, 31 percent jobless rate. You two gentlemen are pretty well off. You did well for yourselves in the private sector. What can you tell the people of Cleveland, or people of cities like Cleveland, that your administration will do to better their lives?

Dick Cheney CHENEY: "I think probably the most successful thing we can do with respect to ending poverty is to get people jobs. There's no better antidote to poverty than a good, well-paying job that allows somebody to take care of their own family."

EDWARDS: "The administration says over and over that the outsourcing of millions of American jobs is good. We're against it....We want to get rid of tax cuts for companies sending jobs overseas. We want to balance this budget, get back to fiscal responsibility. And we want to invest in the creative, innovative jobs of the future." John Edwards




"Senator Kerry said in a recent interview that he absolutely will not raise taxes on anyone under -- who earns under $200,000 a year. How can he guarantee that and also cut the deficit in half, as he's promised?"


John Edwards EDWARDS: "Roll back tax cuts for people who make over $200,000 a year; we will do that. We want to keep the tax cuts that are in place for people who make less than $200,000 a year and give additional tax cuts to those middle-class families, tax cuts for health care, tax cuts to help families pay for their college tuition, tax cuts for child care."

CHENEY: "There's a fundamental philosophical difference here between the president and myself, who believe that we ought to let the American people keep more of what they earn and we ought to empower them to have more control over their own lives -- I think the Kerry-Edwards approach basically is to raise taxes and to give government more control over the lives of individual citizens." Dick Cheney




I want to read something you said four years ago at this very setting: "Freedom means freedom for everybody." You said it again recently when you were asked about legalizing same-sex unions. And you used your family's experience as a context for your remarks. Can you describe then your administration's support for a constitutional ban on same-sex unions?

Dick Cheney CHENEY: "People ought to be free to choose any arrangement they want. It's really no one else's business. That's a separate question from the issue of whether or not government should sanction or approve or give some sort of authorization, if you will, to these relationships. Traditionally, that's been an issue for the states. States have regulated marriage, if you will. That would be my preference."

EDWARDS: "I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, and so does John Kerry. I also believe that there should be partnership benefits for gay and lesbian couples in long-term, committed relationships. But we should not use the Constitution to divide this country. No state for the last 200 years has ever had to recognize another state's marriage. This is using the Constitution as a political tool, and it's wrong." John Edwards




Ten men and women have been nominees of their parties since 1976 to be vice president. Out of those ten, you have the least governmental experience of any of them. What qualifies you to be a heartbeat away?

John Edwards EDWARDS: "I don't claim to have the long political resume that Vice President Cheney has. That's just the truth, and the American people know that and deserve to know it. But what we know from this administration is that a long resume does not equal good judgment."

CHENEY: "It's a very significant responsibility when you consider that at a moment's notice you may have to take over as president of the United States and make all of those decisions. It's happened several times in our history. And I think that probably is the most important consideration in picking a vice president, somebody who could take over." Dick Cheney