NBC's Guthrie Tells Cheney: 'You're A Living, Breathing Example of Government Investment'

In part two of an interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday's NBC Today, focused on his new book about his struggle with heart disease, co-host Savannah Guthrie couldn't resist the chance use Cheney's health problems to promote big government: "...some of this technology that ultimately lead to the pump that kept you alive before you could have the [heart] transplant started in 1964 with government funding. So you can look at it as you're a living, breathing example of government investment." [Listen to the audio]

In response, Cheney pointed to other life-saving technology he relied on that was developed in the private sector: "Sure, but there's also the stent, which was developed by two docs who got together with an investor, came up with the stent, got the patent, sold it to Johnson & Johnson. It's saved millions of lives. So that was private initiative, government wasn't involved."

Guthrie spent the first part of the interview trying to get Cheney to denounce the Tea Party for supposedly causing the government shutdown and dividing the Republican Party.

Here is a transcript of the October 21 exchange regarding Cheney's heart disease:

8:38AM ET

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SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Actually, one of the things your cardiologist writes about is some of this technology that ultimately lead to the pump that kept you alive before you could have the transplant started in 1964 with government funding. So you can look at it as you're a living, breathing example of government investment.

DICK CHENEY: Sure, but there's also the stent, which was developed by two docs who got together with an investor, came up with the stent, got the patent, sold it to Johnson & Johnson. It's saved millions of lives. So that was private initiative, government wasn't involved.

So, there – the other thing I guess I need to emphasize, talk about, is the donor. And it's so important – I wouldn't be here today without a donor and the donor's family. And we badly need to encourage people to become donors. And it's enormously important in terms of progress going forward.

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— Kyle Drennen is News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.