While some grassroots conservative leaders think of him as a prominent fixture in the so-called Republican “establishment,” former Vice President Dick Cheney had nothing but positive things to say about the Tea Party in a new interview.

“I think [the Tea Party has] raised issues Americans care about,” Cheney said Monday on NBC’s “Today.” “We have terrible track records with respect to federal spending. Nobody seems to be able to solve the problem.”

Youll Never Guess Which Longtime Republican Just Stepped Up to Defend the Tea Party

AP

Cheney, a former congressman, said he doesn’t see the rift between longtime Republicans lawmakers and their Tea Party colleagues as a “negative.”

“It’s an uprising, in part, and the good thing is it’s taken place within the Republican Party. I don’t see it as a negative. I think it’s much better to have that kind of ferment and turmoil and change in the Republican Party than it would be to have it outside,” he said.

“There are times when there’s a new wave, if you will, a new generation of political leaders coming along. The year I got elected (to the House) in 1978 we had a guy named Newt Gingrich who kept telling everybody we could become the majority, and he was right,” he said.

Cheney, asked whether he considers himself a member of the Tea Party, said he’s not sure if he could be characterized as such, but added that he greatly admires the movement.

“These are Americans,” he said. “They’re loyal, they’re patriotic and taxpayers, and they’re fed up with what they see happening in Washington. I think it’s a normal, healthy reaction and the fact that the party is having to adjust to it is positive.”

The Tea Party has often been characterized as “radical,” but Cheney says they aren’t the radical ones in Washington.

The “most radical operator in Washington today is the president,” Cheney said. “I think he’s trying to take the country in a direction that’s fundamentally different than anything we’ve seen before.”

Cheney was also asked about freshman Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and his recent efforts to chip away at Obamacare, President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.

“I think he represents the thinking of an awful lot of people obviously in Texas,” Cheney said, “But my own daughter is running for U.S. Senate in Wyoming partly under the concern that Washington is not working, the system is breaking down and it’s time for new leadership.”

Watch Cheney’s comments below, via NBC:

(H/T: Washington Examiner)

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