Beat the Press

CHUCK TODD: Welcome to Meet the Press, Mr. Vice-President.DICK CHENEY: I don't have to exchange pleasantries or engage in any of the conventions of polite society.CHUCK TODD: Fair enough!  So, about the Senate Intelligence report concerning the CIA's use of torture --CHENEY: Not torture.CHUCK TODD: Sorry?CHENEY: Not torture.  I'm not going to sit here and pretend it's torture just because that's what you call it.  Would you expect me to play along if you started calling this table a potholder, or that thing you're wearing a suit?CHUCK TODD: Well... the fact remains that this report about enhanced interrogation techniques --CHENEY: Not that either.CHUCK TODD: What would you prefer we call them, Mr. Vice-President?CHENEY: I like to call them "Escalated Conversational Gambits."  They're like heightened icebreakers, really.  Just a way to get everyone talking.  You know how it is when you've got people in a room, nobody knows each other, it's awkward.CheneyCHUCK TODD: Especially if one of those people is strung up by his wrists, that can get really awkward.CHENEY: Yeah, I'll string you up by your wrists, Beanbag.CHUCK TODD:  I don't even know what that means but when you say even normal words they sound so abusive.CHENEY: It's a gift.CHUCK TODD: Still, surely you'd agree that some of these techniques are more intense than your standard party games.CHENEY: Maybe.  If you're a pussy.CHUCK TODD:  I mean, waterboarding.  Keeping a prisoner inside a coffin-sized box.CHENEY: Look, Hashtag.  When I was vice-president I spent several hours a day inside a man-sized safe.  Didn't affect me at all.  WHAT IS THAT, IS THAT A BAT? Belay that. False alarm.CHUCK TODD: But some of these other things... rectal feeding...CHENEY: I believe that was done for medical reasons.CHUCK TODD: What medical reasons?CHENEY: What am I, a doctor? I assume it was performed only with a prescription...CHUCK TODD: A prescription?  From a physician?CHENEY: Sure. Or, y'know, a torturer.  Someone with credentials.CHUCK TODD: But you wouldn't characterize any of these techniques as extreme?ChuckToddCHENEY: I don't know. Would you characterize that thing on your head as a haircut?CHUCK TODD: What's... wrong with my...?CHENEY: Listen, Safeword. You weren't there, I wasn't there. Were these things specifically "torture?"  Who's to say? Torture's in the eye of the beholder.CHUCK TODD: I think that's beauty.CHENEY: Tomayto, tomahto.  It's a slippery slope, Cakepop. Start down this road and soon any whiner can come along and say he got tortured.  I mean, look at yourself: is it torture that you have to go around wearing that sad little goatee?  Is that torture?  Is The Hague going to indict your Gillette Fusion ProGlide Styler?CHUCK TODD: That was a long way around for that burn, Mr. Vice-President.CHENEY: You’re welcome.CHUCK TODD: No second thoughts, then?CHENEY: I'd do it all again in a minute.CHUCK TODD: Even when you consider the innocent people who were wrongly subjected to this treatment?CHENEY: I like to think they understand.CHUCK TODD: They almost certainly do not understand.CHENEY: But I like to think they do.  Look, Fruitsnack, this stuff wasn't torture. Torture is what the Al Qaeda terrorists did to 3000 Americans on 9/11.CHUCK TODD: Well, I mean -- no, it literally isn't, that was, y'know, murder. Like, mass murder.CHENEY: Agree to disagree.CHUCK TODD: Mm, but no, because, I mean, words mean stuff, and torture and murder mean different things, so...CHENEY: I've got my dictionary, you've got your wrong dictionary, can't we all just get along?CHUCK TODD: Not if we, I mean, want to communicate with each other...CHENEY: Look, I'm not running for anything.  I'm not a slave to opinion polls. I don't have to subscribe to "generally accepted" "definitions" of "words." The techniques on this list aren't torture because the Justice Department said they're not, and I also say they're not.  You know what they are? They're onions.CHUCK TODD: ...Onions?  Who says?CHENEY: I say.  They're locally sourced heirloom onions, mmm, delicious.  Not so scary now, are they?  Or how about this, you'll like this, Nougat: they're hugs.  The things on this list?  All just hugs.  Doesn't sound so terrible, does it?CHUCK TODD: But they're not actually hugs—CHENEY: Sure they are. I've said so. Three of four recent attorney generals agree with me.  These techniques are just different kinds of hugs.CHUCK TODD: Mr. Vice-President, I've experienced hugs—CHENEY: Have you really?  I mean, with that goatee?  It's just hard to picture.CHUCK TODD:  Actual hugs, I'm saying, are nothing like this.CHENEY: Then you've never had a Dick Cheney hug.  What do you say, Chuck? You want a Dick Cheney hug?CHUCK TODD: I do not.CHENEY: C'mere, Chew-Toy.  Let me give you a "hug."CHUCK TODD: No, that's okay.CHENEY: Alright, I'm goin' in.CHUCK TODD: Oh God no please SECURITY—!technical-difficulties