Cheney: Obama Will Appreciate Expanded Exec. Power

Vice President Dick Cheney said today that he expects President-elect Barack Obama will appreciate the broadened executive authority he will inherit as a result of the Bush administration, and that he does not expect the Democrat to roll back the executive power Bush and Cheney built up over the past seven years.

"My guess is, once they get here and they're faced with the same problems we deal with every day, that they will appreciate some of the things we've put in place," Cheney said this afternoon in a radio interview with Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh had asked the vice president if he expected Obama to benefit from the "strengthening" of the executive branch President Bush has overseen.

"We did not exceed our constitutional authority, as some have suggested, but we--the president believes, I believe very deeply, in a strong executive, and I think that's essential in this day and age," Cheney said, according to a White House transcript of the interview.

Bush and Cheney have been blasted by critics during their tenure for broadening executive authority through a number of means. Those include issuing signing statements that effectively decline to enforce legislation, asserting executive privilege to excuse administration officials from testifying before Congress, and, in Cheney's case, claiming that the Office of the Vice President is an executive/legislative hybrid that is exempt from scrutiny under the Presidential Records Act of 1978.

Some of the most vocal criticism of Bush and Cheney has come from members of Congress who have accusedthe two of wresting power unlawfully from the legislative branch.

Obama did not make restoration of legislative power a theme in his campaign, and, while he blasted the Bush administration on many isses, he did not make a major point of claiming to roll back executive authority. Cheney said he doesn't expect him to.

"I think the Obama administration is not likely to cede that authority back to the Congress," Cheney said. "I think they'll find that given a challenge they face, they'll need all the authority they can muster."

More in Blog Briefing Room

Cheney: Bush wasn't in the dark on CIA

Read more »