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Liz Cheney Sticks Up For Halliburton: ‘I Don’t Know What Planet You Live On’

By Amanda Terkel  

"Liz Cheney Sticks Up For Halliburton: ‘I Don’t Know What Planet You Live On’"

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This morning on ABC This Week, Arianna Huffington brought up the role the Bush administration played in creating a regulatory system “full of loopholes, full of cronies and lobbyists filling the very agencies they’re supposed to be overseeing,” especially when it comes to the oil industry. Indeed, a 2008 report by the Interior Department’s Inspector General found that workers at the Minerals Management Service were “partying, having sex, using drugs and accepting gifts and ski trips and golf outings from energy company representatives with whom they did government business.” She then tried to talk about the role Halliburton, the energy giant formerly run by Dick Cheney, has in the oil spill, but she was soon cut off by Liz Cheney, who rushed to defend her dad and the corporation:

HUFFINGTON: Right here, we have the poster child of Bush-Cheney crony capitalism. Halliburton involved in this, and we haven’t said about that. They after all were responsible for cementing the well. Here’s Halliburton, after it defrauded the American taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars –

CHENEY: Arianna, I don’t know what planet you live on, but that’s not –

HUFFINGTON: — it’s involved again. I’m living on this planet. … Halliburton was involved in this. How can you say it is not?

TAPPER: Well, Halliburton was cementing the pipe.

HUFFINGTON: How can you say Halliburton has no relationship?

CHENEY: Her assertion that Halliburton defrauded the U.S. government –

HUFFINGTON: It did. It did.

CHENEY: It was Bush-Cheney cronyism is the left talking point –

HUFFINGTON: It was — hundreds of millions of dollars in Iraq.

CHENEY: Arianna, is absolutely not true. It is absolutely not true.

Watch it:

First of all, Halliburton was involved in the current oil spill, as both Huffington and host Jake Tapper pointed out. From the Wall Street Journal:

An oil-drilling procedure called cementing is coming under scrutiny as a possible cause of the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico that has led to one of the biggest oil spills in U.S. history, drilling experts said Thursday. [...]

The scrutiny on cementing will focus attention on Halliburton Co., the oilfield-services firm that was handling the cementing process on the rig, which burned and sank last week. The disaster, which killed 11, has left a gusher of oil streaming into the Gulf from a mile under the surface. … According to Transocean Ltd., the operator of the drilling rig, Halliburton had finished cementing the 18,000-foot well shortly before the explosion.

Natalie Roshto, whose husband died after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, has filed a lawsuit against BP and oil rig owner Transocean for violating “numerous statutes and regulations.” The suit also names Halliburton, claiming that prior to the disaster, it was “engaged in cementing operations of the well and well cap and, upon information and belief, improperly and negligently performed these duties, which was a cause of the explosion.” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Henry Waxman (D-CA) has also sent a letter to Halliburton seeking more details about its role. (Josh Dorner and Rebecca Lefton of CAPAF have more here and here on Cheney’s ties to this disaster.)

Second of all, Halliburton became notorious for its malfeasance in Iraq. It allegedly tried to cover up the gang rape of one of its contractors, knowingly exposed U.S. troops to deadly toxins, and ignored warnings of unsafe electrical wiring that led to the death of U.S. soldiers. In 2007, federal auditors told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that the government had wasted $10 billion on “overpriced contracts or undocumented costs.” Of that amount, $2.7 billion was charged by Halliburton.

Transcript:

HUFFINGTON: The truth is that right now we have precisely the regulatory system that the Bush-Cheney administration wanted — full of loopholes, full of cronies and lobbyists filling the very agencies they’re supposed to be overseeing –

WILL: So it’s Bush’s fault.

HUFFINGTON: — the industry.

WILL: Just clear this up.

HUFFINGTON: It is absolutely 1000 percent Bush-Cheney’s fault, plus the fact that the Obama administration has not really done enough fast enough to change what’s happening at the MMS agency, at all sorts of other agencies. Not just when it comes to the energy problems, when it comes to Wall Street — all over, we are seeing the complete success of the kind of regulatory system that Bush-Cheney wanted. And we’re seeing this is the inevitable result of what they wanted.

CHENEY: You know, it’s truly amazing. I mean I actually heard that George Bush was responsible for the breakup of Tipper and Al Gore’s marriage too. I mean it’s incredible the extent to which people are now trying to shift blame. And frankly –

MOULITSAS: Did you fact check that?

TAPPER: We’ll get that fact.

CHENEY: I heard it. I don’t know. I think it was on the DailyKos. But at any rate, I think that, you know we got to look at what’s happening going forward, and you’ve got to look at the facts. I mean, the left is going to try — you guys –

HUFFINGTON: This has nothing to do with the left.

CHENEY: — have for years been demonizing Bush and Cheney, and I’m sure you will continue to demonize them for years going forward, but we have got now a catastrophe on the Gulf Coast, a catastrophe that happened on this administration’s watch which this administration is failing to clean up and be responsive and lead, frankly. And it is a problem we’re seeing with this president across the board. A president with no leadership experience.

HUFFINGTON: Right here, we have the poster child of Bush-Cheney crony capitalism. Halliburton involved in this, and we haven’t said about that. They after all were responsible for cementing the well. Here’s Halliburton, after it defrauded the American taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars –

CHENEY: Arianna, I don’t know what planet you live on, but that’s not –

HUFFINGTON: — it’s involved again. I’m living on this planet. You’re living in a planet that is –

CHENEY: — it’s — Arianna, what you’re saying –

HUFFINGTON: — continuing –

CHENEY: — has no relationship to –

HUFFINGTON: It is completely –

CHENEY: No relationship to the effects –

HUFFINGTON: — Halliburton was involved in this. How can you say it is not?

TAPPER: Well, Halliburton was cementing the pipe.

HUFFINGTON: How can you say Halliburton has no relationship?

CHENEY: Her assertion that Halliburton defrauded the U.S. government –

HUFFINGTON: It did. It did.

CHENEY: It was Bush-Cheney cronyism is the left talking point –

HUFFINGTON: It was — hundreds of millions of dollars in Iraq.

CHENEY: Arianna, is absolutely not true. It is absolutely not true.

HUFFINGTON: OK, I’m so glad Politifact is going to be checking this. I’m so glad.

CHENEY: Good.

Update

ABC This Week host Jake Tapper tweeted to ThinkProgress that he thought Cheney was objecting only to Huffington’s claim that Halliburton defrauded the government — not about its role in the oil spill. However, Huffington seemed to respond to the fact that Cheney was objecting to both claims. Therefore, this headline has been amended from the original.

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