WASHINGTON — Vice President Dick Cheney is calling President-elect Barack Obama's national security lineup "a pretty good team."
In a wide-ranging interview with ABC News with 35 days left in the Bush administration, Cheney also again vehemently defended going to war in Iraq, said waterboarding of suspects in the war on terror was justified in some instances, and opposed closing the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
"I must say, I think it's a pretty good team," Cheney said of Obama's national security choices, in a segment of the interview broadcast Tuesday on "Good Morning America."
"I'm not close to Barack Obama, obviously, nor do I identify with him politically. He's a liberal. I'm a conservative," he said.
But the vice president also said he thinks "the idea of keeping (Bob) Gates at defense is excellent. I think (retired Gen.) Jim Jones will be very, very effective as the national security adviser."
And Cheney said that, although "I would not have hired" Hillary Rodham Clinton to be secretary of state, "I think she's tough. She's smart, she works very hard, and she may turn out to be just what President Obama needs."
Cheney also urged the incoming administration to "carefully assess the tools put in place to fight terror" and to not cast aside strategies he said worked for the Bush administration.
Of waterboarding, Cheney said it was an appropriate means of getting information from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States.
He said he is against closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, saying it can be shut down responsibly only once the war on terrorism has ended.
Asked when that might be, he replied, "Well, nobody knows. Nobody can specify that."
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