From The Washington Post:
Former vice president Richard B. Cheney said yesterday that he strongly disagreed with President Bush’s decision not to pardon I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, saying his former chief of staff had been left “hanging in the wind.”
“I think he’s an innocent man who deserves a pardon,” Cheney said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” in what the cable news program billed as his first television interview since leaving office in January.
Libby, Cheney’s top adviser, was the only Bush administration official to face criminal charges in the case surrounding the exposure of Valerie Plame Wilson as a CIA operative in 2003.
She is the wife of Joseph C. Wilson IV, who criticized the Bush administration for what he said was a deliberate misrepresentation of Saddam Hussein’s ambitions to build a nuclear weapon in order to justify the 2003 Iraq invasion.
In the run-up to the war, Wilson, a former ambassador in Africa, was sent to Niger by the CIA to investigate claims that Hussein had sought to buy weapons-grade uranium. He concluded that the assertion was unfounded.
Anonymous officials sought to discredit Wilson’s findings by claiming his selection for the assignment was based on nepotism, exposing his wife’s identity in the process.
Libby, who was involved in conceiving and defending the administration’s Iraq policy, was convicted in March 2007 on two counts of perjury and one count each of lying to FBI agents and obstructing a federal investigation. He received a 30-month prison sentence and a $250,000 fine.
Four months later Bush commuted the prison sentence, leaving Libby, a prominent Washington lawyer for years, to face the fine and two years’ probation.
Cheney and other conservatives urged Bush to issue Libby a pardon, which amounts to a full exoneration. But Libby was not included in the more than two dozen that Bush handed out in December in a final round of pardons, an often controversial end-of-term tradition.
Cheney said he still speaks to Bush after having “traveled a long way together in eight years and two presidential campaigns. That built a very solid, lasting relationship.”
Rob Saliterman, the former president’s spokesman, declined yesterday to comment directly on Cheney’s interview. He referred instead to Bush’s Jan. 20 farewell remarks, during he Bush called Cheney a “great vice president.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) –”Well, it was — it was one of the moments that occurred in the administration where we had fundamental difference of opinion,” Cheney told John King on State of the Union.
King asked whether any of the discussions had been angry or tense ones, or involved shouting. “Those kinds of details, I think, are best left to history,” replied Cheney. “Maybe I’ll write about it in my book.”
Cheney is writing an as-yet untitled memoir about his four decades in Washington.
Cheney also defended Rush Limbaugh from charges by some conservative commentators that the radio host was electoral “kryptonite.”
“Rush is a good friend. I love him,” Cheney told King. “I think he does great work and has for years. He’s now offered to debate President Obama on his radio show. Hell, I’d pay to see that! It would be interesting to have developed. I think Rush is a good man and serves a very important purpose.”
And that was the least offensive crap Deadeye Dick had to say!