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NBC: Cheney admits mistake in Iraq, why he 'dropped the F-bomb' on Leahy
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Monday July 23, 2007
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NBC reported Monday on a "revealing new book" about the powerful and secretive Vice President Dick Cheney. According to NBC, the most striking aspect of the biography is that in it Cheney acknowledges a major error early in the occupation of Iraq, saying, "I think we should have probably gone with the provisional government of Iraqis ... I think the Coalition Provisional Authority was a mistake."

Barton Gellman of the Washington Post commented in surprise, "He does not talk almost ever about mistakes or courses that might have been. This is the first time I've seen him do that on Iraq."

Cheney also reveals a biting sense of humor in the book, saying of his well-publicized dustup with Patrick Leahy on the floor of the Senate, "Leahy came over and put his arm around me and he didn't kiss me but it was close to it. So I flashed and I told him -- I dropped the F-bomb on him...it was heartfelt."

Stephen Hayes, who in 2004 published a book arguing for a direct connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, appeared sympathetic to his subject and said that despite Cheney's past errors and misstatements, "as long and he and the president have this channel ... his power is virtually unimpaired."

Hayes said that secrecy has been a habit of Cheney's throughout his career, citing an anecdote Cheney told him about a time when he was speaking to the King of Morocco and the king made his translator swear on a silver box holding a copy of the Quran never to reveal their conversation. "Damn," said Cheney. "I need one of those."

Cheney's secretive attitudes have not served him well as vice president, acknowledged Hayes, and yet he still actively resists any attempts by his staff to soften his image.

The following video is from NBC's Today Show broadcast on July 23.