Former Vice President Dick Cheney defended his comments in his new memoir on former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Tuesday, saying that his take on Powell is “basically all very positive” and that he supported him for various military positions.
Cheney, whose long-anticipated autobiography “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir” was released Tuesday, sat down for a live interview with Matt Lauer on the “Today” show. Lauer did not directly ask Cheney to respond to Powell’s criticism this weekend that Cheney’s new book takes “cheap shots” at their colleagues from George W. Bush’s administration.
Lauer asked Cheney to respond to criticism of his vice presidency, where he was deemed everything from skillful to the most divisive vice president ever.
“You left out Darth Vader,” Cheney said.
Cheney added that critics “extracted a pound of flesh” due to his advocacy of “controversial policies in order to keep the country safe.”
On CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday, Powell fired back at Cheney for many of the book’s jabs at members of the Bush team.
“It’s not necessary to take these kinds of barbs and then try to pump a book up by saying, ‘Heads will be exploding’,” Powell said on Sunday. “I think it’s a bit too far. I think Dick overshot the runway with that kind of comment, if that’s how he plans to sell his book.”
During the interview, Powell disputed the book’s claim that Cheney pushed him out in 2004, saying that it was his decision to leave the administration at that time.
“It was clear by 2004 that the team was not functioning as a team,” Powell told “Face the Nation.” “And we had different views, and not just views, not views that could be reconciled. And so I said to the president that I would be leaving at the end of the year, after the election, and he ought to take a look at his whole team to try to resolve all these issues.”
In the book, Cheney makes swipes at Powell’s successor as secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, as well as former CIA Director George Tenet. In one passage, Cheney writes that Rice “tearfully” admitted she had been wrong to push for Bush to apologize for inaccurately alleging that Iraq had attempted to obtain yellowcake uranium in Niger.
“They are cheap shots,” Powell said on Sunday in response to the book’s claims.
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