Morning Joe | March 14, 2013
>>> dick cheney unquestionably is the most powerful vice president in history. he changed the course of history in a way that no vice president has.
>> he did not want to be flexible. he just felt you had to get in the face of the terrorists or the potential threats and use extreme measures.
>> almost any man can stand up under adversity. but if you want to really know a man's character, give him power.
>> i wanted to spend all of their time trying to do -- be loved by everybody, probably aren't doing much. if you're not prepared to have critics and to be subject to criticism, then, you know, you're in the wrong line of work. if you want to be loved, go be a movie star .
>> that's a clever. the director and producer of the documentary is us now, r.j. cutler . good sound bite .
>> a great sound bite .
>> thank you for being here. tell me. once said deck cheney had changed since he knew him working in the bush administration . talk about how much he was changed by 9/11.
>> it seems to be, as bob woodward says in our film the hinge of history for deck cheney. it was the event that altered or kind of -- his world view and turned him into the man we kind of understand him as somebody who is singularly obsessed with making certain that no matter what, america was not attacked on its soil again.
>> this was not going to happen again. that is what drove him.
>> that is, as he says in our film, became his duty and in the context of that, nothing else mattered. he speaks in the film about the fact that honor itself doesn't matter in the face of duty which is a pretty startling thing to hear him satisfy.
>> you interviewed him last june. did he find it ironic that a lot of the same people that had attacked him unmercifully while he was vice president had adopted many of his policies?
>> we didn't speak about that, but he -- you know, as you know, he has redefined the vice presidency in the wake of his time in office as much as he redefined it as he was in office. he has been an active critic of the obama administration and also feels that to the extent that -- that his policies have been adopted, he hasn't been given proper credit for it. so he -- you know, he continues to have an ax to grind and much to say.
>> it would be hard, mike barnicle , for a lot of those people to give him credit for adopting his policies because while he was doing it, they were claiming he was shredding the institutio constitution. now they are doing it, they are keeping america safe. a heavy burden people carry when their job carry when their job is to protect this country. be it democrats or republicans.
>> the flip side of that with the former vice president, i wonder what was your sense in talking to him and interviewing him, did you get any sense of regret from him over the fact that, you know, we had this disaster called iraq spawned in part by deceit. any sense of regret over that?
>> strikingly none at all. in fact, i think he is more certain of the rightness of his policies and his actions today than ever before and no sense really that in spite of the fact that the world changed dramatically around him while he was in office, his own view of the world did not change at all. and so no sense that he regrets that. nothing to apologize for. he says many times in the film that -- and notably at the end if he had it all to do over again, he would do it all the same way and in a minute. again, that's very striking.
>> the motivation for him saying that is what? that we weren't attacked after 9/11?
>> that's the justification. he sees the effort in iraq as successful and he sees his policies and he sees his policies as successful and he sees his behavior, the actions that he took to ensure those policies became american policy as the right things to have done.
>> i have to chide my colleague because as you know, no politician in history has ever expressed regret about anything. you can't ask him if they have any regret.
>> i have never seen it.
>> he didn't express regret. he did a complicated analysis of how history recalls the victors.
>> doubling down is the usual response. what is the most misunderstood thing about dick cheney for better or for worse?
>> well, i'm not sure -- there isn't one way of seeing dick cheney as you know. he's such a polarizing figure. as we have shown this film around the country, it sparks strong reactions from the left, strong reactions from the right, he is a figure who history will always, i think, examine because who he is and what he did has a lot to say about what we look for in our leaders and what succeeds and what makes a democracy work and not work. here's a man of conviction. conviction is a requirement for democracy to succeed. his conviction is so total and uncompromising that some would argue that it causes democracy to grind to a halt and can be destructive to a democracy. he's a really complicated man. he is also the single most, i think, impactful nonpresidential politician this country has ever known. it's hard to say there are individual things that are misunderstood because people see in him vastly different things as you know.
>> r.j. cutler , thank you so much. the word according to dick cheney .
>> congratulations on " "nashville."
>> we're proud of that. thank you.
>> the world according to dick cheney is on showtime tomorrow at 9:00 eastern and pacific time . thanks again. good to meet you. still ahead on " morning joe ," we'll talk to bill gates in just a moment. we'll be right back.