Politics

Liz Cheney speaks out on her campaign for US Senate

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

Liz Cheney says she’s running for the U.S. Senate in Wyoming — and challenging an incumbent Republican — because “it’s time for somebody who isn’t afraid to stand up and fight.”

“I think it’s clearly time for a new generation,” Cheney said in a Friday phone interview with The Daily Caller.

The politically-active daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney announced this week that she’s mounting a campaign for the Senate seat currently held by Wyoming Republican Sen. Mike Enzi. The Republican primary is set for August 2014.

During the interview, Cheney declined to criticize Enzi directly. But the 49-year-old Republican lawyer seemed to suggest that the state would be better served with a younger, more energetic, bolder conservative. Enzi is 69.

“I respect Sen. Enzi’s 18 years of service, but it’s time for a change and it’s time for leadership,” Cheney said. “It’s time for somebody who will be able to mobilize others.”

Without mentioning Enzi by name, Cheney said: “There’s just a real sense of people not wanting to go along to get along anymore, feeling like it’s a time for a new generation to step up and say, ‘Look, we’re going to roll this stuff back.’”

She reserved her toughest words for the Obama administration, citing the energy industry and federal land in the state to argue that Wyoming “feels the pain disproportionally.”

“I think that people in Wyoming in particular are very concerned about the encroachment of the federal government,” Cheney said. “Very worried, angry, about the extent to which President Obama’s policies are inserting the federal government into every aspect of our lives.”

“It’s time to fight back,” she said. “It’s time to roll back these dangerous policies.”

Speaking by phone from the campaign trail, Cheney answered a few questions about her views, the tea party and whether her father will campaign for her. The questions and answers have been slightly edited for clarity.

What’s your position on abortion?

I’m strongly pro-life.

Would you have voted for the Gang of 8’s immigration bill?

I wouldn’t have voted for it. I think that there were too many good amendments, for example, that were not accepted, such as those offered by Sen. Cruz, that would have provided much more insurance in terms of border security. I am not comfortable with leaving so much discretion in the hands of the secretary for Homeland Security – to decide whether to carry out those provisions of the bill. And I think the bill as it stands now doesn’t deal with the most important issue we’ve got to address first, which is to secure the border.

What do you make of the Obama administration’s domestic surveillance programs?

I think you’ve got to distinguish between a number of things here. I think that there is legitimate concern about the extent to which the Obama administration has shown a disregard for American citizens’ privacy — if you look at what they’ve done with respect to going after enemies with the IRS, if you look at what they’ve done with respect to releasing information, addresses, GPS coordinates of farmers and ranchers through their EPA. I think they’ve shown a real willingness to cross lines that previous administrations of both parties haven’t been willing to cross. I think people are justly concerned. And they’re rightly concerned about what’s going to happen when the IRS has control of our medical information. I think those are all legitimate concerns.

I also think at the same time we’ve got to have a program in place that allows us to track phone calls that are being made from dirty numbers, from terrorist organizations, into the United States. I think you’ve got to be able to do both things. You have to have a president whose got the credibility that the American people believe he believes in the rule of law, that he believes in being faithful to the constitution. And people don’t believe that about Barack Obama.

Thoughts on the tea party?

I think the tea party has been a force for good. I think they’ve injected a fiscal discipline into the system that wasn’t there before. I think that they reminded our elected representatives that they work for the people that elected them. And I also think that the kind of change going on inside the Republican Party — it’s the kind of change you often see after a party loses an election. We lost the last two cycles pretty badly. It often results new leadership coming to the floor and a new generation stepping up to the plate.

Should we expect the vice president to hit the campaign trail very much?

He will not be. He’s very supportive of my run, obviously. And thrilled that I’m getting into the race. I don’t want him on the campaign trail because I want people to understand that I’m doing this on my own. So he won’t be campaigning around Wyoming for me. I’m dedicated to earning it myself.

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