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Smackdown
Cheney Fires Back At Pelosi
Tells ABC News: "I'm Not Backing Down"
By CHRISTINA DAVIDSON 02/23/2007 2:45 PM ET
Ian Waldie/Getty

Dick Cheney responded to Nancy Pelosi's outrage offensive in an exclusive interview with ABC news today.

The interview with Jonathan Karl also covered Cheney's views on North Korea, Iran, Iraq, and other lofty issues of the day, but the juiciest part concerns his bickering match with the Dems.

Karl: Well, let me ask you about something you said when we last spoke, you said that the course that Nancy Pelosi has proposed on Iraq would validate al Qaeda's strategy. She has come out with a pretty strong response saying that those remarks were "beneath the dignity of the debate, a disservice to our men and women in uniform." She's even said that she's going to call the President to express her disapproval. What's your reaction?

Cheney: She did call him. She got Josh Bolten. The President wasn't in right then. But I'm not sure what part of it is that Nancy disagreed with. She accused me of questioning her patriotism. I didn't question her patriotism. I questioned her judgment. If you're going to advocate a course of action that basically is withdrawal of our forces from Iraq, then you don't get to just do the fun part of that, that says, we'll we're going to get out and appeal to your constituents on that basis.

You also have to be accountable for the results. What are the consequences of that? What happens if we withdraw from Iraq? And the point I made and I'll make it again is that al Qaeda functions on the basis that they think they can break our will. That's their fundamental underlying strategy, that if they can kill enough Americans or cause enough havoc, create enough chaos in Iraq, then we'll quit and go home. And my statement was that if we adopt the Pelosi policy, that then we will validate the strategy of al Qaeda. I said it and I meant it.

Karl: And you're not backing down?

Cheney: I'm not backing down.

Who would ever expect Cheney--he who notoriously uttered "fuck yourself" to Patrick Leahy on the Senate floor--to back down?

Pelosi knows well enough that Cheney is not a man of many apologies, but I doubt she ever expected him to do so. Washington whispers of how Cheney is being increasingly marginalized within the Administration, and Pelosi may be shrewdly trying to drive a final public wedge between the President and his VP.

Bush has yet to comment on the Pelosi-Cheney exchange.

The full transcript of the ABC News interview with Cheney is available on their Website.

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