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Dick Cheney Takes George H.W. Bush Criticisms As 'Mark Of Pride'

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 5/11/2015 Sam Levine
ATHENA IMAGE © David Hume Kennerly via Getty Images ATHENA IMAGE

Former Vice President Dick Cheney dismissed comments by former President George H.W. Bush that he became too hawkish while serving under George W. Bush.

In excerpts of a new biography of the 41st president released Thursday, George H.W. Bush said that Cheney had transformed since serving as secretary of defense in his administration.

"I don't know, he just became very hard-line and very different from the Dick Cheney I knew and worked with," Bush told John Meacham, his biographer. "The reaction (to Sept. 11), what to do about the Middle East. Just iron-ass. His seeming knuckling under to the real hard-charging guys who want to fight about everything, use force to get our way in the Middle East." 

Cheney said that he saw the comments as a compliment.

"I took it as a mark of pride. The attack on 9/11 was worse than Pearl Harbor in terms of the amount of people killed and the amount of damage done," he told Fox News' Bret Baier. "I think a lot of people believed then and still believed to this day that I was aggressive in defending and carrying out what I thought were the right policies."

The former vice president also brushed off the 41st president's suggestion that his wife and daughter had made him more conservative.

"We smile about it, we laugh about it...My family was not somehow conspiring to turn me into a tougher, hard-nosed individual. I got there all by myself."

George W. Bush defended Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in a statement Thursday, saying that Cheney did a "superb job."

Meacham's book, Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey Of George Herbert Walker Bush, will be available in stores on Nov. 10.

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