Dick Cheney

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Richard B. Cheney
Richard B. Cheney
Order: 46th Vice President
Term of Office: January 20, 2001–present
Predecessor: Al Gore
Date of Birth January 30, 1941
Place of Birth: Lincoln, Nebraska
Wife: Lynne Cheney
Profession: Businessman
Political Party: Republican
President: George W. Bush

Richard Bruce Cheney (born January 30, 1941), widely known as Dick Cheney, is an American politician and businessman affiliated with the U.S. Republican Party. He is currently the 46th Vice President of the United States under President George W. Bush.


Early life and family

Cheney was born in Lincoln, Nebraska to Richard Herbert Cheney and Marjorie Dickey. His father worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a soil conservation agent and was a registered Democrat. He has a brother, Bob, and a sister, Susan. Cheney grew up in Casper, Wyoming, and met his high-school sweetheart and future wife, Lynne Vincent, at age fourteen. One of his first known ancestors was Ralph de Chesney, Sire of Quesnay who fought on the side of William the Conqueror in the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

Cheney excelled athletically in high school. He was elected the Natrona County High School senior class president, represented the school at Boys State, and played halfback on the football team. [1] [2][3] After high school graduation in 1959 and during the next six summers, Cheney worked on power lines and was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union.

In November 1962 at age twenty one, Cheney was convicted for the first of two offences of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). According to the docket from Cheyenne's Municipal Court, Cheney was arrested for drunkenness and "operating motor vehicle while intoxicated." A Cheyenne Police Judge found Cheney guilty of the two charges and Cheney was given a 30-day suspension of his driver's license. He also had to forfeit a $150 bond posted at the time of his arrest.

Details of Cheney's second Wyoming arrest, in July 1963, have fallen victim to time and record destruction practices. However, a police arrest card similar to the one that haunted President George W. Bush and maintained by the Rock Springs Police Department shows that Cheney was fined $100 for his second DWI conviction. At the time, it was not possible for the authorities in each area to link the two convictions which would have resulted in the second offence being viewed much more seriously. Since his second Wyoming arrest, Cheney has had no further convictions. [4]

In 1964, he married Lynne Vincent. Mrs. Cheney has a BA with highest honors from Colorado College, an MA from The University of Colorado, and a Ph.D from The University of Wisconsin specializing in British literature. She has authored or co-authored eight books and numerous articles. She served from 1986 to 1996 as Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, appointed by Ronald Reagan. She was at one time a co-host on CNN's Crossfire. She is now a public speaker and author, and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Cheney was of military age during the Vietnam War but he did not serve in the war. On May 19, 1965, Cheney was classified as 1-A "available for service" by the Selective Service. On October 26, 1965 the Selective Service lifted the constraints on drafting childless married men. However, after his daughter was born, Cheney applied for and received a reclassification of 3-A, making him unlikely to be drafted.

Cheney has two adult daughters, Elizabeth and Mary, and four grandchildren. Elizabeth was born in 1966 and is married to Philip J. Perry, a Lockheed Martin Corp. lobbyist who was nominated by Pres. George W. Bush in March or April, 2005, to be General Counsel of the Department of Homeland Security. The Perrys have four children. Elizabeth graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1996 and has worked as an international law attorney, consultant. She currently works for the State Department's Near East Affairs Bureau. Mary is one of her father's top campaign aides and closest confidantes and lives in Denver, Colorado.


Following high school, Cheney earned an academic scholarship and attended Yale University in 1959. He decided after three semesters to take some time off from Yale, on account of difficulty with his studies. He saved up enough money and returned to Yale only to leave again the following semester, partly due to poor grades, but also due to his homesickness for Wyoming, and the girl he would eventually marry. [5][6].

In 1962, when he was 21, he pleaded guilty to two DWIs in Wyoming. [7] [8] He was reputedly dissatisfied with his work at the time, and in a May 7, 1991 New Yorker interview said that he found himself "working, building power lines, having been in a couple of scrapes with the law." He said that the arrests made him "think about where I was and where I was headed. I was headed down a bad road, if I continued on that course."

Refocusing on academics, Cheney first matriculated to Casper Community College in 1963 and thereafter to the University of Wyoming where he began earning straight A's. He received his bachelor's degree in 1965 and master's degree in political science in 1966 both from the University of Wyoming.

He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a doctoral candidate in political science and completed all required coursework as an ABD, but left and entered politics before completing his thesis. Cheney was selected for a one-year fellowship in the office of Representative William Steiger, a Republican congressman from Wisconsin.

Early political career

Early White House appointments

Dick Cheney's public service career began under the Nixon administration in 1969. He served in a number of positions at the Cost of Living Council, at the United States Office of Economic Opportunity (as a special assistant to Donald Rumsfeld beginning in the spring of 1969), and within the White House. Under President Gerald Ford, Cheney became Assistant to the President and the youngest White House Chief of Staff in history. He was campaign manager for Ford's 1976 presidential campaign, while James Baker served as campaign chairman.


The Dick Cheney Federal Building in Casper, Wyoming.
The Dick Cheney Federal Building in Casper, Wyoming.

Cheney was elected to represent Wyoming in the U.S. House of Representatives to replace Teno Roncalio, who had resigned from Congress. He defeated his Democratic opponent, Bill Bagley, in the 1978 midterm elections. Cheney was reelected five times, serving until 1989. He was Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee from 1981 to 1987 when he was elected Chairman of the House Republican Conference. The following year, he was elected House Minority Whip.

Among the many votes he cast during his tenure in the House, he voted in 1979 with the majority against making Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday a national holiday, and again voted with the majority in 1983 when the measure passed.

He voted against the creation of the U.S. Department of Education, citing his concern over budget deficits and expansion of the federal government. He also believed it to be an encroachment to state´s rights.[9]

In 1986, after President Reagan vetoed a bill to impose economic sanctions against South Africa for its official policy of apartheid, Cheney was one of 83 Representatives who voted against overriding the veto. In later years, Cheney articulated his opposition to "unilateral sanctions," against many different countries, stating "they almost never work."[10] He also opposed unilateral sanctions against communist Cuba, and later in his career he would support multilateral sanctions against Iraq. However the comparison to Cuba is not exactly apt, as the European Community had voted to place limited sanctions upon South Africa in 1986.

In 1986, Cheney, along with 145 Republicans and 31 Democrats, voted against a nonbinding Congressional resolution calling on the South African government to release Nelson Mandela from prison, after the majority Democrats defeated proposed amendments to the language that would have required Mandela to renounce violence sponsored by the ANC and requiring the ANC to oust the Communist faction from leadership. The resolution was defeated.[11] Appearing on CNN during the Presidential campaign in 2000, Cheney addressed criticism for this, saying he opposed the resolution because the ANC "at the time was viewed as a terrorist organization and had a number of interests that were fundamentally inimical to the United States."[12]

As a Wyoming representative, he was also known for his vigorous advocacy of the state's petroleum and coal businesses. The federal building in Casper, a regional center of the oil and coal business, was named the "Dick Cheney Federal Building" for him.


Cheney served as the Secretary of Defense from March 1989 to January 1993 under President George H. W. Bush. He directed Operation Just Cause in Panama and Operation Desert Storm in the Middle East. In 1991 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for "preserving America's defenses at a time of great change around the world."

Business career

Cheney joined the American Enterprise Institute after leaving office in 1993. From 1995 until 2000, he served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Halliburton, a Fortune 500 company and market leader in the energy sector. He also sat on the Board of Directors of Procter & Gamble, Union Pacific, and EDS.

In 1997, he, along with Donald Rumsfeld and others, founded the "Project for the New American Century," a think tank whose self-stated goal is to "promote American global leadership".

Medical problems

Cheney's long history of cardiovascular disease and periodic need for urgent health care have several times raised the question of whether he is medically fit to serve as Vice President. Cheney sustained the first of four myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) in 1978, at age 37. Subsequent infarcts in 1984, 1988, and 2001 have resulted in moderate contractile dysfunction of his left ventricle. He underwent four-vessel coronary artery bypass grafting in 1988, coronary artery stenting in November 2000, and urgent coronary balloon angioplasty in March 2001.

In 2001 a Holter monitor disclosed brief episodes of (asymptomatic) ectopy. An electrophysiologic study was performed, at which Cheney was found to be inducible. A cardiac defibrillator was therefore implanted in his left upper anterior chest. As of 2004, it has never discharged.

On September 24, 2005, Cheney had an endo-vascular procedure to repair popliteal artery aneurysms bilaterally. (In other words, a catheter treatment technique was used in the artery behind each knee.) The condition was discovered at a regular physical in July, and, while not life-threatening itself, is likely an indicator that Cheney's atherosclerotic disease is progressing despite aggressive treatment. [13]


President George W. Bush's 2003 State of the Union address.  Over the President's right shoulder is Cheney; over his left is Dennis Hastert.
President George W. Bush's 2003 State of the Union address. Over the President's right shoulder is Cheney; over his left is Dennis Hastert.

In the spring of 2000, while serving as Halliburton's CEO, he headed George W. Bush's Vice-Presidential search committee. After reviewing Cheney's findings, Bush surprised pundits by asking Cheney himself to join the Republican ticket.

In the 2000 presidential election, a question was raised by the Democrats as to Cheney's state of residency since he had been living in Texas. A lawsuit was brought in Jones v. Bush attempting to invalidate electoral votes from Texas under the provisions of the Twelfth amendment, but was rejected by a Federal district court in Texas.

Cheney quickly earned a reputation as a very "hands-on" Vice President, taking an active role in cabinet meetings and policy formation. He is often described as the most active and powerful Vice President in recent years, moving the office out of its traditional figurehead role, and even occupies an office in the House of Representatives. Some, like Reagan's last Chief of Staff, Ken Duberstein, have likened him to a prime minister because of his powerful position inside the Bush Administration. In his status as President of the Senate he has cast 6 (so far) tie-breaking votes, including deciding votes on concurring in the conference reports of the 2004 congressional budget and the Jobs and Growth Tax Reconciliation Act of 2003.

Cheney directed the National Energy Policy Development Group (NEPDG)[14] commonly known as the Energy task force. Comprised by people in the energy industry, this group included several Enron executives. Because of the subsequent Enron scandal, critics accused the Bush Administration of improper political and business ties. In July 2003, the Supreme Court ruled that the Department of Commerce must make the NEPDG's documents public. The documents included information on companies that had made agreements with Saddam Hussein to develop Iraq's oil. The documents also included maps of oil deposits in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates. The NEPDG's report contains several chapters, covering topics such as environmental protection, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and energy security. Critics focus on the eighth chapter, "Strengthening Global Alliances," claiming that this chapter urges military actions to remove strategic, political, and economic obstacles to increased U.S. consumption of oil, while others argue that the report contains no such recommendation.

Following the uncertainty immediately after the events of September 11, 2001, Cheney and President Bush were kept in physically distant locations for security reasons. For a period Cheney was not seen in public, remaining in an undisclosed location and communicating with the White House via secure video phones.

On the morning of June 29, 2002, Cheney became only the second man in history to serve as Acting President of the United States under the terms of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, while President Bush was undergoing a colonoscopy. Cheney acted as President from 10:09 UTC that day until Bush resumed control at 13:24 UTC.

Both supporters and opponents of Cheney point to his reputation as a very shrewd and knowledgeable businessman and politician who knows the functions and runnings of the federal government. Opponents however accuse him of following policies that indirectly subsidize the oil industry and major government contractors, and hold that Cheney strongly influenced the decision to use military force in Iraq.

Relationship to Halliburton as Vice President

Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld under the Ford presidency
Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld under the Ford presidency
Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld under the Bush presidency
Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld under the Bush presidency

Cheney resigned as CEO of Halliburton on July 25, 2000, and put all of his corporate shares into a blind trust, except 433,333 stock options worth about $8 million which are referenced in a Gift Trust Agreement pursuant to which an Administrative Agent has the right to exercise those options and distrubute the proceeds from the sale of the resulting stock to certain charitable organizations. As part of his deferred compensation agreements with Halliburton contractually arranged prior to Cheney becoming Vice President, Cheney's public financial disclosure sheets filed with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics showed he received $162,392 in 2002 and $205,298 in 2001. Upon his nomination as a Vice Presidential candidate, Cheney purchased an insurance policy that would guarantee his deferred payments regardless of the company's performance, removing any conflict of interest. Cheney's net worth, estimated to be between $30 million and $100 million, is largely derived from his post at Halliburton. In the rebuilding of Iraq, because no other companies had such a breadth of capabilities, Halliburton was granted a $7 billion no-bid contract, the execution of which received much scrutiny by U.S. Government auditors along with the media and various political opponents who also scrutinized the awarding of the contract, claiming that it represented a conflict of interest for Mr. Cheney. In June 2004, the General Accounting Office reviewed the contracting procedures [15] and found Halliburton's no-bid contracts were legal and likely justified by the Pentagon's wartime needs.

Plans for the future

Since 2001, when asked if he is interested in the Republican presidential nomination, Cheney has said he wishes to retire to private life after his term as Vice President expires. In 2004, he reaffirmed this position strongly on Fox News Sunday, saying, "I will say just as hard as I possibly know how to say... 'If nominated, I will not run,' 'If elected, I will not serve,' or not only no, but 'Hell no,' I've got my plans laid out. I'm going to serve this president for the next four years, and then I'm out of here." Such a categorical rejection of a candidacy is often referred to as a "Sherman Statement" for Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman after his dismissal of presidential considerations in 1884.

However, several political pundits and Washington insiders have publicly expressed the opinion that Cheney will decide to run for President in 2008. On August 9, 2005, famed Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward stated that in his estimation it was "highly likely" that Cheney would seek the White House after Bush's second term expires. [16] He joins former House Speaker Newt Gingrich who expressed his confidence in a Cheney run during a January 2, 2005 interview on C-SPAN's Afterwords. Fred Barnes of Fox News, Lawrence Kudlow of CNBC, and Tod Lindberg of the Washington Times have also expressed a belief that Cheney will eventually decide to run for President in 2008. Sportsbooks.com, the world's largest online bookmaking site, reported that the odds against a "President Cheney" in 2008 dropped from 100:1 in May 2005 to 20:1 in August 2005.

Cheney, however, is publically sticking by his statements that he will not run in 2008. In an interview with Matthew Cooper, published in the October 24, 2005 issue of Time magazine, Lynne Cheney responded to Bob Woodward's assertions that her husband would seek the White House in 2008. "[Woodward's comments are] pretty interesting. Wrong, but interesting," she told Cooper.

Premature obituary publication

In 2003, Cheney's death was incorrectly announced by CNN when his pre-written obituary (along with those of several other famous figures) was inadvertently published on CNN's web site due to a lapse in password protection.

FBI Investigation

Main article: Cheneygate
 This article documents a current event.
Information may change rapidly as the event progresses.

On October 7, 2005. The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that they were examining computers in Cheney's office as they investigated a former Marine security officer, now an FBI intelligence analyst, accused of passing classified information to members of the opposition in the Phillipines. [17]

Plame affair and Rumors of Resignation

On October 18, 2005, The Washington Post reported that the Vice President's office was central to the investigation of the Plame affair. Cheney's former chief of staff, Lewis Libby, is one of the main figures under investigation. On October 28, Libby was indicted on five felony counts. [18]

External links

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Critical views

Speeches and interviews

Further reading

Works by

  • Professional Military Education: An Asset for Peace and Progress : A Report of the Crisis Study Group on Professional Military Education (Csis Report) 1997. ISBN 0892062975
  • Kings of the Hill: How Nine Powerful Men Changed the Course of American History 1996. ISBN 0756758645

Works about

  • Andrews, Elaine. Dick Cheney: A Life Of Public Service. Millbrook Press, 2001. ISBN 0761323066
  • Mann, James. Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet. Viking, 2004. ISBN 0670032999
  • Nichols, John. Dick: The Man Who is President. New Press, 2004. ISBN 1565848403

Preceded by:
Donald Rumsfeld
White House Chief of Staff
Succeeded by:
Hamilton Jordan
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Teno Roncalio
United States Representative for the At Large Congressional District of Wyoming
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Secretary of Defense
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