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CNN LARRY KING WEEKEND

Interview With Lynne Cheney

Aired May 25, 2002 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Lynne Cheney, an outspoken conservative who thinks Americans have a lot to learn about their own history.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LYNNE CHENEY, WIFE OF RICHARD CHENEY, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: People who have improved the world have generally used the tools that education provides in order to build a better society.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Vice President Dick Cheney's wife -- the first second lady to keep her career. Lynne Cheney is next on LARRY KING WEEKEND.

Good evening and welcome to a very special edition of LARRY KING LIVE for tonight.

When she was with us a couple of weeks ago in Los Angeles, Lynne Cheney said, I've got a book coming out called "America: A Patriotic Primer" or is it PRIM-ER?

CHENEY: PRIM-ER.

KING: PRIM-ER. I think both are acceptable, but we'll go with PRIM-ER.

And she said, I'd love to come back and talk about it, and that's what we're here tonight. We'll talk other things, too.

But this book, which is receiving wonderful reviews, is "America: A Patriotic Primer." The author is Lynne Cheney. This book is historic in that all of the -- all of the money that comes in goes to what charity?

CHENEY: Well, my net proceeds are going to the American Red Cross, and to projects that foster historical appreciation.

The publisher, Simon & Schuster, is giving a good deal of its share of the profits to First Book, which is an organization that gives books to little kids who might not otherwise have one.

I should also note that my agent on this book, Bob Barnett, has done his work on it pro bono. So, it's been a labor of love for many people.

KING: That's historic news.

CHENEY: It is.

KING: The agent and lawyer, Bob Barnett, Williams & Connolly -- free?

CHENEY: Yeah, well, wait until that word gets out.

KING: Edward Bennett Williams is rising from the grave now in horror.

What's the idea behind this?

CHENEY: When we were campaigning in 2000, and we were traveling all across the country, it was, you know, an emotional experience in many ways.

You see every part of this country and all the people, the wonderful diversity of the people and the landscape. And we had our granddaughters on the plane with us much of the time. Even the little baby was there.

And I just wanted them to know what an amazing country this is. And I wanted them to grow up understanding all of the great good reasons there are to love America.

KING: As a civics lesson?

CHENEY: That's not a bad way to talk about it, though I hope it's an entertaining civics lesson. I hope that ...

KING: And it's done with the letters of the alphabet.

CHENEY: That's right.

KING: We go A through Z ...

CHENEY: That's right.

KING: ... and like, G is for God in whom we trust. J is for Jefferson, K is for King -- Martin Luther King. I thought it was me when it said is for King.

CHENEY: Well, Larry, now, you can talk to Chance and Cannon, your little boys, and make sure they understand that.

KING: L is for Lincoln. Who did these drawings?

CHENEY: Oh, I was so lucky in my choice of an illustrator. Her name is Robin Glasser, and she lives in California. And people brought me books to look at -- really wonderful illustrators that might be interested in working with me. And when I saw her work, I knew it was just right.

It's so joyful, for one thing. The little kids in this book -- look at the cover. I mean, it's just full of joy.

KING: Yeah. Did she ...

CHENEY: And she gets a lot of information on each page, too. And there's a lot ...

KING: Oh, boy, is there a lot.

CHENEY: ... to tell about America. So that's ...

KING: So in addition to the text, there's an awful lot.

CHENEY: That's right.

KING: Do you like writing?

CHENEY: Well, I love writing. And I hadn't written for children for a long time. Back at the very beginnings of my career as a writer I did some children's essays.

But it was just so gratifying to get back to it. It's been the most gratifying project I've ever worked on.

KING: Is it more difficult to write -- this is what age group are we aimed at here?

CHENEY: Well, you know, at first we were saying eight and under. But it really stretches beyond. You know, I think this is a book that parents and grandparents and other loving adults who read to children will learn from.

I certainly learned, as I was writing the book, I found out things I didn't know.

KING: With your research you find out things, right, ...

CHENEY: That's right, that's right.

KING: ... about your own country.

CHENEY: Exactly.

KING: When you write for children, is it hard not to write down?

CHENEY: You know, if you've got little children in your life, I think it makes it easier, because you just imagine, you know, how you would explain the concept of the declaration of independence to your seven-year-old grandchild. Or in your case, your -- what is it -- four-year-old?

KING: Three and two.

CHENEY: Three and two-year-old sons. Now, how can you even begin to talk about this?

One of the things that we've done in the book is illustrate each letter with a child of today, too. So that when you talk about the Declaration of Independence, you have this wonderful picture of a little girl, and she's just won a race, and her arms are open, and she's so free -- she's so independent -- to try to bring down the concepts that animate our country to a child's level.

KING: When you have an idea like this, was it Mr. Barnett that takes it to publishers? The Second Lady of the United States would like to do a book?

CHENEY: Well, I called in Bob to talk to him about it, because he's been around that track a lot of times.

KING: Boy, has he.

CHENEY: And he has a good record. And we decided it really was a good concept to go forward with. And he wanted me to talk to some different publishers.

I had a wonderful editor at Simon & Schuster. As soon as I met her, and she is so smart and loves kids' books, that I decided I wanted to work with her.

KING: You know, thinking, if this is a hit -- it probably will be with the reviews and the nature of the writing and the book itself, there could be a two, right? With a whole new alphabet and more things about America.

CHENEY: Well, there are lots of possibilities.

KING: I mean, there are not just 26 things, right.

CHENEY: That's right. Or you could do a number book. I don't know. There are all sorts of possibilities.

KING: You're going to be -- won't it be great that you get known for this. Lynne Cheney -- oh, she was, she was ...

CHENEY: She wrote children's books.

KING: ... married to the president, vice president. But writes children's books you wouldn't believe.

CHENEY: Well, so far this book promises to eclipse many times all of the adult books I've written. So ...

KING: How many books have you written?

CHENEY: Oh, well, ones I've co-authored as well as authored by myself, five.

KING: We'll get back to this. A lot of other things to talk about.

Do you enjoy life as -- do you like this job?

CHENEY: Well ... KING: There's no training for it.

CHENEY: No, there's no training for it. And it's sort of a job you invent, so you can do what feels right to you to do. And that's a nice thing.

And, you know, now that I have grandchildren, I really just wake up every day and just feel so lucky to have the little girls close by and to have, you know, Dick coming home at night, and we get to live in the vice president's house.

So, there are ...

KING: What's changed the most?

CHENEY: Oh, it's security, I suppose. You know, you don't just decide that you're going to go to the bookstore.

KING: Yeah.

CHENEY: You call up and make an appointment to go to the bookstore. And you have people who will take you to the bookstore.

KING: Does that bother you at all? Any aspect of that ...

CHENEY: No. It took some getting used to. You know, it's not having the people with me so much. It's the lack of spontaneity, that you can't ...

KING: You, way (ph) in the past, I want to get up and go the grocery store, I'm going.

CHENEY: That's right. That's right. And that's not really possible.

KING: Do you miss advocacy of a different nature? You were once co-host of "CROSSFIRE WEEKEND." You were in the hunt a lot. Do you miss that?

CHENEY: Well, I think with this book that I'm involved in advocacy of a different kind.

For a long time, ever since I was chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities back in the '80s and early '90s, I've been talking about the importance of knowing history, and lamenting that maybe we don't do as good a job of teaching it as we should.

So this is really a kind of frontline effort to turn that situation around, to give little kids, from the earliest years, some notion of how exciting history can be, how inspiring the story of this country is.

KING: I think I read somewhere once that among nations of the world, we're the least knowledgeable about our own history and geography. CHENEY: Well, there are certainly some examples, some surveys of students at elite universities, for example, showing that seniors at the best schools you can think of, think that Ulysses S. Grant fought in the Revolutionary War.

Or, there's a professor -- I can't remember where he's from -- who's gathered together anecdotes about things college students believe about history, you know. And there's something about the Canadian missile crisis spinning around in one student's head and ...

KING: That's funny.

CHENEY: Yeah, it's that kind of thing.

KING: We'll get a break and be right back with Lynne Cheney, the wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, former chair of the National Endowment of the Humanities, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and author of this new children's book, "America: A Patriotic Primer." The publisher is Simon & Schuster. The proceeds go to charities, including the Red Cross.

We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD CHENEY, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: I, Richard Bruce Cheney, do solemnly swear ...

WILLIAM REHNQUIST, CHIEF JUSTICE, U.S. SUPREME COURT: ... that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States, ...

RICHARD CHENEY: ... that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States, ...

REHNQUIST: ... that I take this obligation freely, ...

RICHARD CHENEY: ... that I take this obligation freely, ...

REHNQUIST: ... so help me God.

RICHARD CHENEY: ... so help me God.

REHNQUIST: Congratulations, Mr. Vice President.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Lynne Cheney. She was pointing out the last letter of the alphabet, because what are you going to use for Z? But this is hip.

"Z is the end of the alphabet, but not of America's story. Strong and free, we will continue to be an inspiration to the world." And the Ronald Reagan quote, "I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead."

This wonderful picture of children ... CHENEY: That's right.

KING: ... chasing the future.

CHENEY: Well, it's a sunrise on the coast of California, and this little girl just running to embrace the future.

The book opens with a celebration in New York Harbor, a 4th of July celebration. And it closes with a sunrise on the coast of California.

So there's a lot to this book that repeated reading ...

KING: Now, what's all this in this back, notes on the text?

CHENEY: You know what that is? That's a cheat sheet for grownups.

And it also ...

KING: So when they ask you, what do you mean by this, turn to page 40.

CHENEY: Well, and it also gives you some additional information.

On one page, for example -- you know, some of the letters are harder than others. Q is a hard letter. So Q in this book is for America's quest for the new, the (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and the very best.

And it's about people who have achieved excellence in their lives. And the border, in fact, is made up of names, like Willa Cather and Ernest Hemingway and Louie Alvarez and Roberto Clemente.

KING: Wow ...

CHENEY: You look in the back, ...

KING: ... got baseball in there, too.

CHENEY: Well, Roberto Clemente was the first Hispanic in the nation -- the Baseball Hall of Fame.

KING: Right.

CHENEY: And, of course, he died doing good for others.

KING: Yeah, he did.

CHENEY: So anyway, in the back of the book, you can find out who these people are.

KING: From the glossary.

CHENEY: Yes.

KING: Very well done. CHENEY: Yeah, so ...

KING: You ought to be very proud.

CHENEY: I am so proud of this book.

KING: It's a hoot to publish, but you seem more excited about this than other things I've talked to you about in your life. This ...

CHENEY: Well, now, Larry, I'm not sure what things I have been less than enthusiastic about.

KING: Not less enthusiastic. You seem -- when you -- a children's book, more a labor of love.

CHENEY: Yes. This book was wonderful to do. It really was.

KING: What does Dick think?

CHENEY: Well, he just loves it. He thinks it's a great project. And he helped.

KING: Oh?

CHENEY: V is for valor. V is for the valor shown by those who have kept us free. And it's a page mostly about military heroes.

And we wanted to do something about World War II and sailors. And so he said, well, you should have a picture of the aircraft carrier Enterprise that really was crucial at the Battle of Midway.

KING: Yes, it was.

CHENEY: So, we did a lot of research, and came up with a good drawing.

KING: So you learned a lot yourself when you wrote it, yeah.

CHENEY: Oh, yes.

KING: What was it like -- speaking of travel and going -- what was the Mideast like?

CHENEY: Well, it's an amazing part of the world. There are -- it's not all the same.

You know, I think, we in this country often think that the Middle East is all a big desert. And of course it's not. I mean, there are deserts, and some very beautiful deserts.

But we were in Oman, which is a country with amazing mountains, beautiful in the way that we think of beauty in Wyoming. And places where the greenery is lush.

KING: Like Jerusalem. CHENEY: Oh, Jerusalem! What ...

KING: Gorgeous city.

CHENEY: ... an amazing city. You just understand when you see the sun -- and the moon -- shining on all of the white stones that Jerusalem is built of, why it is that so many of the world's great religions have their centers there.

KING: Was it frustrating to you on this trip to have the whole Palestinian-Israeli thing erupt ...

CHENEY: Well ...

KING: ... for you and for the vice president?

CHENEY: ... the Middle East is a complex problem. And I think no one is more aware of that than Dick. And there are always many moving pieces you have to deal with. So I don't think frustration is quite right.

KING: What is a good word? Colin Powell said that the -- it's the hardest thing to deal with, this animosity that exists.

CHENEY: You know, we were fortunate enough to -- I was, when Dick was doing meetings -- to see other parts of the Middle East, things that are not being debated with such intensity.

I went to a school in Jerusalem where you had little kids there. Some of the little kids were Arab. And some of the little Arab kids were even Christian, not all were Islamic, and there were little Jewish kids.

And they were all in the same class and growing up together. And I couldn't tell the difference. And they themselves soon lost track of who was who. It was very heartening to see that.

KING: The many facets of Lynne Cheney. The book is "America: A Patriotic Primer." It is now in all stores where books are sold, even stores that are not famous for selling books.

Who bought a whole bunch of books?

CHENEY: Well, Wal-Mart has been enthusiastic about this book, and I think it's just great that they are.

KING: Wal-Mart. They might do well.

CHENEY: I think so.

KING: Yeah. We'll be right back with Lynne Cheney. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The truth is, the door to the Oval Office has a little peephole. This is Karen Hughes peeping in on me.

And ladies and gentlemen ...

(LAUGHTER)

... this is the vice president of the United States, looking through a peephole. And, Dick, I hope you're not doing what it looks like you're doing.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That was from the recent White House correspondents' dinner -- a very funny president. Did you laugh?

CHENEY: Oh, of course, I did. Actually, I think what Dick is doing in that picture ...

KING: What is he doing?

CHENEY: Well, he had -- his Achilles tendon. You know, he banged it up around the pool. So he's leaning over. He was walking with a crutch then. He's quite well now, but that's what he was doing was leaning over.

KING: Did he have any idea that picture was taken?

CHENEY: No. I think the president does tend to warn people, you know, when he's going to poke a little fun at them. So I think he said to Dick, you know, you're in my speech tonight, Cheney.

KING: He is a jokester, though.

CHENEY: The president.

KING: Yeah.

CHENEY: Oh, well, and ...

KING: Great sense of humor.

CHENEY: ... what a good thing, you know, with all the pressures that there are on someone in that high job to be able to laugh.

KING: Controversy about you.

CHENEY: Oh!

KING: Ah!

CHENEY: No! KING: Alleged comments about Ozzy Osbourne. Matt Drudge reported -- I don't -- was it Matt Drudge -- that you were embarrassed over the fuss that the D.C. power elite made over rocker and MTV star Ozzy Osbourne, who attended that dinner.

Did you -- were you embarrassed?

CHENEY: You know, that story is totally made up -- totally.

And what's funny is that, I asked my press person, you know, when people call, I say, just tell them the story's not true. It's made up.

And so then the next round of stories went something like this: Why is Lynne Cheney backing away from her earlier comments ...

KING: Again, it was saying, well, you know, Ozzy Osbourne, maybe it's because he's been married to the same woman for 22 years ...

CHENEY: Yes.

KING: ... and she stands up for family values.

In other words, you made no comment at all.

CHENEY: You know, I haven't thought about Ozzy Osbourne 20 seconds in my whole life. And then the press talked about him.

KING: You're not a fan nor a dis-fan, right?

CHENEY: That's right. I just don't, you know, I'm probably out of that loop, you could say.

KING: Some were disappointed that President Bush recognized him from the podium. That bother you?

CHENEY: Oh, really? No, I haven't heard anybody say that.

KING: All right. See, all right -- now, when this happens -- and you're in public life ...

CHENEY: Yeah.

KING: ... and you've been in all facets of public life, because ...

CHENEY: That's right.

KING: ... you've been on this side of the camera. What do you make of that? Where does this come from?

CHENEY: Well, you know, sometimes I think ...

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is wrong once every other day.

CHENEY: ... well, I sometimes think made-up stories are more interesting than real stories.

You know. You've been around long enough so that -- you know that sometimes it's so tempting not to check. It's easier to go with the story than to call up and have somebody ruin your story by saying that's not true.

So, you just go with the made-up story.

KING: And you're able to just laugh it off like that.

CHENEY: Well, you know, the only thing worse than just ignoring it would be to not ignore it and to keep it going. So you just say, that's the way it goes.

KING: Does Dick handle it the same way?

CHENEY: Well -- and this happens to him all the time.

KING: Yeah, how about it.

CHENEY: There'll be a report in a story that, you know, he said something to someone, and I'll say, oh, Dick, really? And he'll say, no. No, I haven't done that.

KING: You think someone will figure out something controversial about "America: A Political Primer"?

CHENEY: It's possible I suppose. It's hard to imagine.

KING: Did you like the way that kid was drawn on the G page? Do you think that -- was that a little ...

CHENEY: You know, that's interesting, Larry. We started this book before September 11. And ...

KING: Oh ...

CHENEY: ... I -- G has always been for God in my mind. G is for God in whom we trust.

And before September 11 I thought to myself, well, you know, maybe that's a little controversial. I do have a kind of public life, and people will say, oh my gosh, church and state, and it'll be controversial.

After September 11, I don't think it is. I just think that we've become more accustomed since then to talking about matters of faith, and about things that really matter more than we were before.

KING: Yeah. In fact, indeed, at the beginning of the show when I said PRI-MER, and PRIM-ER is the correct pronunciation, you did point out to me that it's based on the word "prime," right?

CHENEY: It is.

KING: And it deals with prayer? CHENEY: There used to be different periods for praying during the day in the Anglican church, and the prime hour was the early hour to pray.

And gradually that became the hour where children were given their lessons. And so the books that were used then were called, PRI- MER, you say.

KING: PRI-MER.

CHENEY: I say, PRIM-ER. So ...

KING: Prime time.

CHENEY: Exactly.

KING: We don't say PRIM-ER time.

CHENEY: That's right.

KING: Do you think you're a general in the culture wars? Some people have described you that way. You're out front with the sword.

CHENEY: You know, I like to think that, in a sense, the culture wars are a part of the last century. You know, at the end of the 20th century we did have this big quarrel.

But I think now there's a very positive agenda that you can talk about. The president's certainly done it in education. You know, he's talking about using scientific research to teach kids how to read. And that sort of leaps over the boundaries between people who had this theory and people who had that theory.

I think, with a book like this, maybe I'm able to leap over the boundary about, well, should we teach this or should we teach that and say, look, let's teach this story.

It's a story of America that's not about perfection. We were based on some amazing ideas, some amazing ideals that we didn't live up to in the beginning. But gradually over our history we've done a better and better job.

KING: We have to teach slavery.

CHENEY: Of course you do. And you have to teach the fact that women couldn't vote until 1920.

KING: Is any of that in this?

CHENEY: Oh, sure. There's a page, S is for suffrage. And there, all the women who were -- not all -- many of the women who were important. And it points out that it took a very long time.

You know, the Declaration of Sentiments, which was sort of the first statement of women being, having full rights as well as men, was in 1848. It took until 1920 for women to get the right to vote. So it was a very long and hard struggle.

KING: There's another controversy arising over Eminem, who has a video out in which he dresses up, I'm told, as bin Laden. I haven't seen it. The video parodies bin Laden as an old school hip-hop rapper who busts out with slick dance moves, and it parodies Elvis and the "Survivor" shows and Sally Jessy.

You have any complaints about that?

CHENEY: No, it sounds a little sad. No, I haven't seen it, so I really can't comment. But it's a little sad and desperate, maybe.

KING: When you read about performers like this, and some people say that they're very talented, and then they go this kind of route, how do you react, especially as someone so involved in culture as you are? It's all part of the American culture.

CHENEY: It's hard for me to understand that this is humorous or anything else. It sounds a little lame. So, ...

KING: I mean, there's nothing funny about Osama bin Laden.

CHENEY: Well, there's certainly nothing funny about Eminem dressing up as Osama bin Laden. Where's the amusement here?

KING: I don't -- it's, do you get it?

CHENEY: I don't get it. So, ...

KING: What about humor after 9/11? We've got a lot of it now.

CHENEY: You know, some of the funniest things have been done about Dick at the undisclosed location. "Saturday Night Live" has been particularly clever ...

KING: The guy's great.

CHENEY: ... he is, Darrell Hammond is ...

KING: A great (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ...

CHENEY: ... just so funny. And people -- I have to confess, we aren't often up that late on Saturday night -- but people send us clips, and Dick just has the best time watching them.

KING: Speaking of that, watch.

CHENEY: Oh-oh.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")

DARRELL HAMMOND, ACTOR (as Dick Cheney): You're probably worried because you heard things about me having a weak heart. Well, I got news for you.

Check it out, suckers. I got me a bionic ticker. This thing regulates my heartbeat, gives me night vision and renders me completely invisible to radar.

Check this out.

(LAUGHTER)

I brew my own Sanka!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHENEY: That's really good.

KING: That's funny. Does Dick laugh?

CHENEY: Oh, he thinks it's hilarious.

KING: Did you know it was coming? Do they give you any ...

CHENEY: Oh, no. Not at all. And so ...

KING: Were you watching that night? Or did ...

CHENEY: No.

KING: ... a tape?

CHENEY: Some alert person who was awake that night taped it for us. And we've played it a couple of times, because it is hilarious.

KING: It's hilarious.

Lynne Cheney's our guest. The book is "America: A Patriotic Primer." The illustrations are by Robin Preiss Glasser.

We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LYNNE CHENEY: Let's just do a little modest piece. Sir, do you like frosting?

BUSH: I love frosting.

LYNNE CHENEY: All right, that's ...

BUSH: If that's little and modest, I'd hate to see big.

LYNNE CHENEY: Well, we're from Wyoming, just like you're from Texas.

(LAUGHTER)

LYNNE CHENEY: It's got a few fingerprints on it.

BUSH: I'll tell you one thing. It's good to be celebrating the birthday of the finest vice president ever.

RICHARD CHENEY: Thank you, sir.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE with the first -- the second lady -- are you the second lady?

CHENEY: Well, I don't know.

KING: I mean, is ...

CHENEY: Some people say so. You know, there are these acronyms. The President is POTUS. You know, ...

KING: POTUS -- president of the United States.

CHENEY: ... that's president of the United States. The -- his wife is FLOTUS, the first lady of the United States.

Dick is VPOTUS, vice president of the United States. So what does that make me? S-L-O-T-U-S, the SLOTUS, which is kind of a funny word.

KING: Meaning, second lady of the United States.

CHENEY: That's right. But the word itself is so ...

KING: Of all the words.

CHENEY: That's right. So my kids think it is so funny. We went to Disneyland and took our grandchildren. And my children got me a Mickey Mouse hat that has SLOTUS on it -- the second lady of the United States.

KING: It's kind of ...

CHENEY: Oh! I've got a better story for you.

KING: ... grows on you.

CHENEY: Talking of title, my four-year-old granddaughter Elizabeth was with her mom out in California visiting her other grandmother.

And they were talking about things that had happened when my daughter was growing up, including the time I took them across the Oakland Bay Bridge and ran out of gas.

Little kids love hearing how incompetent grown-ups can be. So, the four-year-old thought this was a pretty good story. But she was confused about which grandmother it was, since they were in California visiting the other grandma.

So she said, "Do you mean Grandma Julie?" To my daughter, and my daughter, and my daughter said, no, Grandma Lynne. And she's still confused, because she never calls me that.

So she thought for a minute -- the four-year-old -- and she said, "Oh, you mean the grandmother of the United States."

(LAUGHTER)

KING: That's a great story.

CHENEY: It's a good title, too.

KING: OK, SLOTUS, you have raised concerns about how the United States and history is taught here.

CHENEY: That's true.

KING: What is your worry?

CHENEY: That we are so uniquely blessed to live in freedom as we do. And that if you don't understand how we got to be this way, how we got to be a free and independent country, you first of all don't understand what a privilege it is.

But secondly, you don't understand that freedom is something less than inevitable, you know that so many points in our history brave men and women have kept us free.

In the beginning, you know, it was the founding fathers. And so we need to know our history so that we understand that we have freedom, but it's not inevitable that we have it. And if we were to lose our liberty, we may not -- it might not come our way again.

There are just important realizations like that that come with history.

Our story -- the American story -- is also full of inspiration. You know, reading about Abraham Lincoln or Frederick Douglass, these are wonderful stories.

KING: But how balanced should it be? I mean, how much of the bad -- if that's the right word -- do we teach?

CHENEY: It should be completely honest, ...

KING: Warts and all.

CHENEY: ... completely honest.

KING: But there's a lot more than just bad warts, right. Is that one of your emphases, that we too much emphasize the wrongs?

CHENEY: I think we have done that. I think we have gone down a path where we often forget to convey to the next generation the real wonder and amazement of the American story.

I mean, of course, we want to talk about the fact that in the beginning women and African-Americans did not have equality. Many African-Americans were enslaved.

But we also want to talk about the story of how that ended, about the Abolitionists who fought so bravely against slavery. We want to talk about people like Harriet Tubman, who so bravely went back to the South to help slaves escape, and Frederick Douglass who taught himself -- I mean, this is such an amazing story -- he taught himself to be an orator.

He taught himself to write. His first mistress, the woman to whom he was sold as a young boy, taught him his ABCs. And after that, he taught himself everything else. And he became the most amazing orator and used words to advance the cause of African-Americans.

KING: So slavery is a big part of the Douglass story, but so is the plus side ...

CHENEY: Exactly.

KING: ... is a big side of the Douglass story. And that's the point you make ...

CHENEY: Exactly. That's right. And ...

KING: There's the bad, and there's the good.

CHENEY: ... and, you know, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who were perhaps the most -- the forerunners of fighting ...

KING: Feminists.

CHENEY: ... for women, died before women got the vote. They worked in that struggle for 50 years, ...

KING: And never saw it.

CHENEY: ... and never saw it. And that's a sad thing.

But the fact that they did advance the cause, and that women did get the right to vote, and that we've made such advances in this country today, that's an important part to tell.

KING: How in that concept do we teach Vietnam?

CHENEY: Well, I have a Vietnamese soldier in the book on the V is for valor page. And for a little kid, it's American soldiers fought bravely in Vietnam.

KING: Because it taught us a mistake?

CHENEY: Well, I think when you get into high school you talk about it as a complex issue, that there were people who thought it was the right thing to do for this reason. There were other people who thought it was a mistake.

We did not give our soldiers the full kind of backing that we have given them in other wars, such as in the Persian Gulf, that many, many brave men were killed, and that it is a story that many people still feel sad about.

KING: You are now in the upper echelon of government. When you read the books of the Johnson tapes of those first two years, and he is saying we're going to lose. And people like Senator Russell are saying to him, you should get out of there, and that can't be the -- isn't that dismaying?

CHENEY: Yes, it is. It is. It's very dismaying.

And, you know, that was an important part of what happened to America at the end of the 20th century. That faith in public officials and in their word ...

KING: Waned.

CHENEY: Exactly. The sort of faith was broken. And it's taken a long time to heal that.

KING: Is it coming back?

CHENEY: I think so.

KING: Under the Bush-Cheney administration, with the SLOTUS up there, it's coming back.

CHENEY: The president, the president -- I mean, if you look at his approval ratings, they've stayed high for so long. I think people believe him.

And he has such a disarming way of just saying what he thinks.

KING: By the way, do you want your husband to run again?

CHENEY: Well, I think that's entirely up to Dick and the president.

KING: Do you want him to? Supposing, let's say the doctors say he's totally healthy, he's in fine shape. There's no problem.

CHENEY: I think that he should do whatever makes him happy. The job certainly has made him happy so far. It's ...

KING: He likes it.

CHENEY: Oh, it's such a big job, you know. And it gives you the scope to use all of the experience and the talent that you've developed over the years.

KING: So if he said, I'd like to stay, that would be fine with you?

CHENEY: Sure.

KING: And if said, I'd like to go ...

CHENEY: That would be fine, as well. KING: ... that would be fine.

We'll be -- and you'll keep writing.

CHENEY: Oh, I've got children's books to do, right?

KING: More, yeah -- part two.

We'll be right back with more of Lynne Cheney. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHENEY: Come on in. Come on in. How are you today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happy Thanksgiving to you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning.

CHENEY: How are you this morning? Is this your first Thanksgiving here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

CHENEY: Yeah, mine too. But my daughter knows about some of the graduates.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, really, which daughter?

CHENEY: This one. Happy Thanksgiving, sir. How are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), thank you.

CHENEY: Hope you're hungry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yeah.

CHENEY: There's a lot of turkey on that one. So how many turkeys did you cook?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thirteen (ph) -- 30.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think about 150 turkeys.

CHENEY: No kidding.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Your daughter Mary is edging toward politics. You want her to?

CHENEY: Well, she's also edging toward getting her MBA. So, ...

KING: She'll do both.

CHENEY: Well, I -- certainly can. And you can, just as you can have a family and work at the same time, but ...

KING: Would you like her to get into the swirl?

CHENEY: I think Mary should do whatever makes her happy.

You know, one of the things that comes with -- I'm 60 now -- is this sort of, just, attitude that people should fulfill their lives in a way that makes them feel most gratified.

KING: So you encourage whatever their endeavor.

CHENEY: Exactly.

KING: Elizabeth, too?

CHENEY: Elizabeth now has a very demanding job. She's Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East at the State Department. So she's got ...

KING: She likes that?

CHENEY: ... her hands full. And ...

KING: Likes diplomacy?

CHENEY: Well, she has for a long time been a student -- a very serious student of the Middle East. So this is a chance for her to use all the knowledge she's gained.

KING: Do you think, in these times with three-year-olds hitting computers, it's harder to raise a kid?

CHENEY: I think it's harder to ...

KING: Too much ...

CHENEY: ... raise a kid for lots of reasons.

KING: More than just too much knowledge too soon.

CHENEY: Well, I think too much knowledge too soon is part of it. You know, you get into the Internet. Maybe that's what you were ...

KING: Yeah, ...

CHENEY: ... where you heading.

KING: ... I mean, what are we leading to?

CHENEY: Exactly, and ...

KING: Hey, mom, you're wrong. I read -- I read, I punched this key today, ...

CHENEY: Well, that part doesn't bother -- hey, mom, you're wrong. That's the basis of a good conversation. KING: But that's been forever, right?

CHENEY: But there's a lot of stuff out there on the Internet that, you know, is really damaging to young people. And it's a worry.

KING: What do you do about it, you know?

CHENEY: Well, I think it's good that ...

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the world.

CHENEY: ... so many of the makers of software now have led the way in having control so that there are Web sites that you can't get into. That's a good thing.

KING: Do you think with drugs, and the like, it makes raising kids harder?

CHENEY: It sure does. I mean, I think it's much harder now to raise children than it was when my own children were growing up.

KING: But, there's no training to be a parent.

CHENEY: Well, that's also the case. And, you know, but -- I liked what you said, you know, when this little kid was saying, hey, mom, you're wrong.

That kind of discussion, if you can get that kind of honesty going early on, it seems to me it's really the basis on which to build that parent-child relationship, and to be able to tell a child again and again and again.

Look, if somebody offers you drugs, it would be a dumb thing for you to say yes. Just tell them no. And if they don't like it, then they're not the kind of person you wanted to hang out with anyway.

KING: And if they say, mom, you're wrong, don't react negatively to that by just saying yes, I'm right. Right?

CHENEY: I don't think ...

KING: You've got to explain today.

CHENEY: That's right. That's right. And you can point to all the damage that drugs have done to so many people's lives. And alcohol, as well.

Moderation in drinking I think is an important thing to display in front of young people, because in a sense, you're altering your mind if you go too far with alcohol. And you shouldn't that in front of little children.

KING: There are some conservatives -- more conservatives than others, William F. Buckley and others -- who are saying, legalize drugs. You then can control them, know who use them. No one will get hit on the head for $100 habit, and you can treat your people, and half the prisons would be empty.

CHENEY: I just have seen so many young people whose lives have been destroyed. You know, they're alive, and they're able to function. But they're not able to have the kind of full experience of life, and to achieve in the way they might have otherwise. I can't think legalizing drugs is a good thing.

KING: Or as former Governor Cuomo said, it's idiocy.

CHENEY: Did he really?

KING: Yeah, to legalize it.

CHENEY: Yeah, well ...

KING: He thinks it's -- it would be idiotic.

CHENEY: ... I'm ...

KING: But alcohol is legal.

CHENEY: ... I'm more of that mind.

KING: Alcohol is legal.

CHENEY: That's true.

KING: That destroys a lot of lives.

CHENEY: Well, and -- but I think that the things we have done to lower the percentage of alcohol in the blood that constitutes drunkenness for the sake of deciding who's driving under the influence, I think that's a good thing.

Alcohol education I think is an important agenda item right along with drug education, right along with abstinence education.

KING: I want to cover some other bases in our remaining moments, but about the book, how should I approach this book if my child is four?

CHENEY: Well, I think ...

KING: Read it to them?

CHENEY: When your child is four, it's difficult to read any book, you know, from beginning to end. Because what a four-year-old wants to do is talk about what's on the page.

And that's true of this book.

KING: So, discuss the pictures.

CHENEY: That's right. Talk about the pictures.

KING: So even, don't read what Lynne wrote. CHENEY: Oh, well, sure. Some of the words are wonderful. Like I'm thinking, under Thomas Jefferson, don't read my words first. Read the words of the founders. Under Jefferson's -- J -- there's a little sentence that says, "I cannot live without books."

Well, what a wonderful thing. Discuss what that means. Why would Thomas Jefferson say he couldn't live without books?

KING: And you could say that to a four-year-old and discuss that, because ...

CHENEY: That's right.

KING: ... they love books.

CHENEY: And up at the top of the page is some advice that Jefferson gave to his daughter. It says, "Never be idle." You can achieve so much, you can do so much if you are always doing.

And that's another thing to talk to a little kid about.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Lynne Cheney. The book is "America: A Patriotic Primer."

Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHENEY: What a great (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

Oh, I like this reindeer in front. He looks like he's quite (ph) ready to go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Lynne Cheney. We've discussed the president. How do you get along with the first lady?

CHENEY: Oh, Laura Bush is just wonderful. I think everyone knows the way in which she's wonderful. She's kind and she's thoughtful.

But she's also really funny. And I ...

KING: She's a regular on this show, you know.

CHENEY: Well, I just ...

KING: It's Laura Bush live.

CHENEY: She is so much fun to be around.

KING: Now, she was hesitant about the media at first.

CHENEY: Was she?

KING: Oh, the first time I talked to her, she was not enthralled with ...

CHENEY: Yeah?

KING: ... going on.

CHENEY: Because she's so good when she's on.

KING: Isn't she. She's -- sometimes there's been reported strifes between second ladies and first ladies -- SLOTUSes and FLOTUSes, and ...

CHENEY: SLOTUSes and FLOTUSes.

KING: We've had none of that.

CHENEY: I'm afraid I've started something.

No, no. Not at all.

KING: Has she read the book?

CHENEY: I sent her one of the first copies, because I, you know, just wanted to be sure she had seen it. And she's been very kind in talking about it and then wanting to read it to little kids and so on.

KING: And she's so big in literacy and the like and ...

CHENEY: Yes.

KING: And the president himself -- now, you were a political commentator. Is there any -- and you knew George Bush, but not intimately, right? I mean, you knew him, knew him as a governor and that.

Does anything about his presidency surprise you?

CHENEY: He was a really good governor. Let me tell you something that surprised me when he was governor.

I was helping develop the history standards for the state of Texas. There were many, many people involved in this process, of which I was one.

And the first time through -- I don't know exactly what happened. They didn't come out exactly right. They just weren't terrific. They were good, but they weren't terrific.

He made the decision to do the whole thing again.

Now, that's -- isn't that unusual? Most politicians would just say, oh, we've given so much time and effort to this, let's just call it good. But, no, he wanted them to be really, really good. And so the whole process began again. He is very committed to education. And ...

KING: His number one thing, right.

CHENEY: Absolutely. And it was in Texas. I think that kind of consistency is an important thing to note about him.

KING: But what, if anything, has surprised you about -- and the press, certainly, and a lot of others, were surprised at his leadership during that crisis.

Did anything about it surprise you? Just as an observer.

CHENEY: You know, whenever he gives a speech -- one of the big, important speeches -- I think I'm always surprised by how wonderfully eloquent it is, just as I'm surprised by eloquence anyplace.

The speeches and the presentation and the delivery are so good.

KING: Because he's not a wordsmith, though. But what ...

CHENEY: I don't know, ...

KING: ... something comes alive, right?

CHENEY: ... but it's really good. It's really good, and we should all be grateful for it.

KING: All right. Where were you when Dick was hiding?

CHENEY: Sometimes with him, in many different undisclosed locations, some of which even had quail.

KING: Was any of it -- without telling us where or anything -- was any of it kind of weird?

CHENEY: Well, it's always -- that whole period after September 11 was unusual, not just for us, but I think for all Americans.

And our lives just weren't very predictable from one minute to the next. And I guess that was unusual.

KING: Now, how about teaching 9/11? How do we write about 9/11 for the kids who are reading America?

CHENEY: We've got some pretty good first drafts. Journalists ...

KING: You do.

CHENEY: ... well, people often talk about journalism being the first -- providing the first draft of history.

And I have to say that the accounts in the newspapers and the ...

KING: "New York Times" (UNINTELLIGIBLE). CHENEY: ... news magazines were very good.

The "New York Times" with the obituaries ...

KING: Still doing it on weekends.

CHENEY: ... of all the victims -- exactly -- have -- that has been a remarkable treasury that people will turn to forever.

KING: Is it going to be hard to explain it to those children now of learning age?

CHENEY: It's always hard to have to tell little kids that there are evil people in the world. You know, you try to keep that news from them, I think, for as a long as you can, sort of nurture them and help them grow up and feel safe and loved.

And that's always a hard piece of news to impart to little kids.

But by the time they're, you know, in junior high, and certainly in high school, it's a pretty black-and-white story to tell.

KING: But they get -- they get to seeing things blowing up.

CHENEY: That's right.

KING: Do we know what effect that has?

CHENEY: You know, one of our little granddaughters was in Wyoming with us a few months after September 11. And we had a fire in the fireplace. And she said, "Oh, grandma, I love fires." She says, "I love it when the smoke goes up the fireplace."

She said, "It wouldn't be good if it came in the room." And then she paused for a minute and she said, "You know, I'm talking about the people who were killed on the airplane."

What?

So they have internalized so much that I think we don't really understand it all.

KING: You going to miss Karen Hughes?

CHENEY: Oh, Karen is great. Isn't she wonderful? She's an inspiration to women everywhere, with her energy and her ...

KING: What do you think of her going back home?

CHENEY: Well, I understand that, too. You know, I watch my own daughter who has three children and a demanding job. There's a constant pull and tug.

And I think as you progress through life, you discover there's not one right way to do it. And you just try this way for a while, and if it's you uncomfortable, you try another way for a while. And I think that's what Karen's doing. I also read that she's going to be back on the campaign plane ...

KING: Every day, right?

CHENEY: ... for 2004, yes. So that's good.

KING: I congratulate you on this book, Lynne.

CHENEY: Well, thank you, Larry. It's always fun to be with you.

KING: And thank you for spending an hour with us.

The book -- "America: A Political Primer" available ...

CHENEY: Patriotic!

KING: ... Patriotic Primer" -- political primer, that's ...

CHENEY: There you go.

KING: That'll be after she's out of office, when she tells the whole story.

Lynne Cheney, thanks very much for joining us. It's always a great pleasure having you with us.

CHENEY: Well, I love being here. Thank you.

KING: We thank you, SLOTUS.

Thanks for joining us and good night.

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