Have a look:
THE VICE PRESIDENT: The question is, given that 40 years experience, what kind of values or philosophy did I develop and operate by that I might share with you?It's the highlighted areas that are up for contention. I know what I think, but what do you think?
I basically developed a great respect for American history. I still read a lot of it. I'm reading a brand new history, coming out on the plane this morning, written by Bill Bennett, the Secretary of Education. You can never read enough American history, I think, in terms of understanding where we came from and how we got here. And I don't think we teach enough history in our schools. I wished I'd taken more of it when I was in school, myself. But you start with that basic fundamental foundation in terms of how we got here, how the country got its start, who the founding fathers were, the Constitution and writing the Constitution, how the West was settled. There's fantastic stories about Wyoming. I would guess if you look back at your family, you can find places where they participated in the major events that have shaped 250 years of American history. All of us have got those kinds of stories someplace in our background.
I also, from a political standpoint, became a Republican because much is -- I think government is very important; I also think it needed to be limited. One of the secrets of our success is to continually -- we have a constant debate about what the government's role is going to be in the society, and to what extent we're going to allow people to make decisions for themselves, the extent to which we have other areas where we decide government needs to be involved, some kind of collective responsibility that can't be addressed as individuals.
One of the things I do as Vice President is to cast tie-breaking votes in the Senate. Under the Constitution, when there's a tie vote in the Senate, then the Vice President, and only then, does he cast the tie-breaking vote, decide who wins. I've done that about seven times now in the six years -- six-plus years as Vice President. One of those times was four years ago, in 2003, on the tax bill. We had a major tax bill up, and the President had advocated and worked to get passed a bill that cut taxes for everybody. And it came to a tie vote in the Senate, and I got to cast the tie-breaking vote to cut those taxes.
The reason I felt strongly about that was I believe deeply we have to be very careful not to let government get too big. And to the extent we can keep money in the hands of the taxpayers, the folks who earned it, they'll expand their businesses, create more jobs, expand the economy. And I think that's one of the keys to our success. So there are certain things like that I guess I've learned over the years in terms of what I believe.
I've got a lot of friends who are liberal Democrats, we disagree on an awful lot of issues. But it is important to know what you believe. If you're going to have an impact on events, if you're going to persuade others that your point of view is the correct one, you've got to know what you believe. You can't persuade anybody to do anything if you don't believe yourself in a particular point.
Yes, over here. How is my relationship with Harry Reid? Well, it's better than my relationship with Pat Leahy. (Laughter.) But I won't go into that. I like Harry. But -- of course, he's the leader of the opposition in the Senate. And we get along from a personal standpoint in terms of talking with each other, we get along fine. I have some fundamental difference of opinion with him, and so, occasionally, we get involved in public debate, which is basically healthy. We've got major differences over Iraq, for example, we fundamentally disagree. But I think on a personal basis, it's a friendly relationship -- no bad blood.
But here's the biggest whopper:
Q I was wondering -- I'm not trying to start a debate, or anything, but do you still think that the Iraq war can be won? And do you think we need to institute a draft to get the job done?The fact of the matter is that extended troop deployments are a defacto draft, and he knows it.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yes, and no. Yes, I think it can be won. And, no, I don't think we need a draft.