Vice President Dick Cheney offered an aggressive, unwavering defense of the Bush administration's legacy at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, after taking the stage to a chant of "Four more years!"
"The President has made the right decisions for the right reasons and he always reflected the values of the American people," Cheney declared, "Would I support those same decisions today? You're damn right I would."
The crowd was adoring. There was a standing ovation as Cheney entered, and a woman shouting: "We Love You!" Attendees clamored for a good "Cheney shot," with one young conservative pumping his fist after catching an unobstructed wide lens take of the Vice President on his camera.
And they got some red meat. Well more than half of Cheney's address was focused on national security and terrorism. Some of the biggest applause lines, and there were many, came when he discussed the interrogation of detainees in Guantanamo Bay.
"We have gathered a wealth of information that has foiled attacks against the United States. Information that has saved thousands of lives," he said, before adding, "We do not torture. It is against our laws and our values."
No mention was made of waterboarding, a controversial tactic, which the CIA has acknowledged it used on at least three occasions.
In the same vein, Cheney urged Congress to pass a revamped version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The bill has been held up over opposition to a provision that would grant telecom companies immunity for helping the government's warrantless wiretapping program.
"We are asking Congress to make these revisions permanent and provide liability protections to those companies that are believed to have helped America since 9/11," said Cheney. "Those who act in good faith to defend this country should not be punished by lawsuit or hassle of trial lawyers."
Mostly, however, Cheney continued to beat the war on terror drums. Some choice quotes include:
"The fact is the danger remains very real and we know the terrorists are determined still to hit us."
"The absence of another 9/11 is not an accident it is an achievement."
"One of the lessons of 9/11 was we had to stop treating terrorist attacks merely as law enforcement problems... the world changed with a coordinated attack which ended the lives of 3,000 people."
"The important thing to remember is that six-and-a-half years after 9/11 is that the war on terror is still real. It won't be won on the defensive and we have to proceed on many fronts at the same time."
"The freedoms we enjoy, the rights we exercise, all the privileges we have in this country - none of them can be taken for granted."
The crowd loved it, and him. As Cheney said upon entering the room to a grand applause:
"A welcome like that is almost enough to make me want to run for office again."