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CBS Features Lynne Cheney to Talk James Madison, But Hectors on Hillary, Gay Marriage

The hosts of CBS This Morning on Tuesday featured Lynne Cheney to talk about her new book on James Madison. However, predictably, the topics drifted towards a grilling on gay marriage and her daughters' public spat over the subject. Additionally, Norah O'Donnell rather obviously quizzed Cheney on whether being a Secretary of State, like Madison, would still be a good path for the president in 2016. 

On the subject of Liz Cheney's Senate run, O'Donnell lectured, "I do think this was an interesting story, not because it's two daughters of a prominent vice president, but also because Mary then said that her sister was on the wrong side of history." She added, "Was Liz on the wrong side of history?" [MP3 audio here.] Obviously, it was a painful thing for a mother to see her two daughters fighting publicly. If Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016, will the co-host bring up painful, personal topics from her marriage?

Regarding the above question, Cheney zinged the co-host. She retorted, "Imagine, Norah, if your mom got on TV and started talking about your attitudes towards life and various controversial issue. So, get Mary and Liz [to talk about that]." 

Discussing history, O'Donnell listed secretaries of state who went on to become president. She hinted, "So, is Secretary of State good training to become the president of the United States?" 

Cheney dodged and talked about early 19th century vice presidents. As if the question wasn't obvious enough, O'Donnell followed up: "You know what I was getting at. Hillary, though." 

A partial transcript of the May 6 segment is below: 

8:36

NORAH O'DONNELL: The New York Times said this was probably the best single volume biography of Madison that we now have. I mean, this is pretty thick and impressive. What is it, do you think, the fascination with Madison and, certainly, with conservatives? 

LYNNE CHENEY: Well, if you are an advocate of limited government, Madison is your man. The reason that he and Hamilton became estranged is because Hamilton wanted to interpret the Constitution to mean that the Congress could pass anything that contributed to the general welfare. Madison said if we're going to go that far, we might as well throw the parchment, meaning the Constitution, into the fire. So, for people who are advocates of limited government, advocates of intellectual freedom, Madison was absolutely committed to the idea that each of us are in charge of our own conscience. 

O'DONNELL: I want to turn, if we can, to current day politics, because the other interesting thing about Madison that he was a secretary of state and Jefferson's secretary of state, then became president. There were six former secretary of states that went on to become president, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Van Buren, Buchanan. So, is Secretary of State good training to become the president of the United States? 

CHENEY: Well, you know, the politicians then were as clever as now. Jefferson chose an older vice president so that he wouldn't compete with Madison. Madison chose two older vice presidents so they wouldn't compete with Monroe. I think the early Virginia founders made the secretary of state into a natural stepping stone. 

O'DONNELL: You know what I was getting at. Hillary, though. 

CHENEY: Yes, well – 

CHARLIE ROSE: Yes, she knew and yes she evaded.  

CHENEY: There is more than one path to the presidency. But, you know, in our time, it's been governors. 

...

ROSE: People also are interested in the personal life of the Cheney family, as you know. And you have talked about that because your daughter ran for the Senate and it became an issue about respect for gay rights. So, when you look at that episode now, tell me what you think and what did you come out of that with? 

CHENEY: Well, I came out with the same ideas I went into it with, which is you love your children unconditionally, no matter what paths they happen to choose. 

ROSE: Even if they are fighting among each other? 

CHENEY: Yeah. Well, you still do. 

GAYLE KING: You said at the time that it was a very painful time for the Cheney family. 

CHENEY: Well, it's painful mostly because it was made public. You know, I think every family has differences, big differences going on. 

KING: What is the relationship between your two daughters today? 

CHENEY: Well, they're good and loyal sisters. 

O'DONNELL: Can I ask you, because Liz said, I believe in the traditional definition of marriage. Do you believe in the traditional definition of marriage? 

CHENEY: You know, I have always thought Dick Cheney says it most amazing thing in the 2000 debate with Joe Lieberman. This is a long time ago and he was asked about gay marriage. And he said freedom should mean freedom for everyone to enter into whatever relationships they choose. And when it comes to the legal aspects of it, it should be decided by the states and I think that's where Madison would be and that's where I am. 

O'DONNELL: And I want to ask you, because I do think this was an interesting story, not because it's two daughters of a prominent vice president, but also because Mary then said that her sister was on the wrong side of history. Was Liz on the wrong side of history? 

CHENEY: You know, you really need to get Mary and Liz here. 

O'DONNELL: Will you help us? Will you help us with that? 

KING: You know them. Why don't you tell them to come? 

CHENEY: Imagine, Norah, if your mom got on TV and started talking about your attitudes towards life and various controversial issue. So, get Mary and Liz. 

— Scott Whitlock is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Scott Whitlock on Twitter.