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Dick Cheney: How I became vice president

Vice President Dick Cheney shed a little more light today on how he came to be vice president for George W. Bush.

It happened in the spring of 2000, to be exact, when the newly-victorious Bush campaign contacted Cheney, obviously desperate to ensure capture of Wyoming's three crucial electoral votes. (Come to pass, in fact, those 3 E.V.s did turn out to be crucial. Without them, Florida would not have mattered.)

Vice President Dick Cheney adopting a pose, looking over his glasses, like a little known but really nice guy blogger we know

"The way it actually worked was," Cheney recalls, "they talked to me about whether or not I was interested in the (vice president's) job originally, and I said, 'No, definitely not interested.'

"And then they came back and said, 'Would you help us find somebody?' and I said, "Sure, I'd be happy to do that.' We got through doing the search.

"It took a couple of months, and at the end of the day, the president, after we reviewed all the candidates, looked at me and said, 'You know, you're the solution to my problem.' I took that as a threat and redoubled my efforts... (But) it's been well worth the efforts.''

"He persuaded me that what he wanted and what he needed in a Vice President, that I fit the bill. So I was willing to give up private life, which I was enjoying at that point, and join in.

"I don't regret it for a minute. It's been a tremendous experience. He's been absolutely true to his word in terms of letting me get actively involved in the whole range of activities. And it's been well worth the effort."

The rest of the revealing radio interview, including a partial transcript and details on Cheney's kindergarten expulsion, is available here. But wait!

As aficionados of politics, here's a V.P. trivia question for you. Do you know what other vice presidential candidate search Cheney led? Hint: It was a Republican campaign. For the answer, click on the Read more line below.

--Andrew Malcolm

Photo Credit: AP


In 1976, Dick Cheney led the vice presidential search for President Gerald Ford's attempt to be elected against Gov. Jimmy Carter. The vice presidential candidate picked (but not elected) was Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas, who as the GOP nominee had his own vice presidential search committee in 1996 and came up with Jack Kemp. They lost too.

Political button for the Gerald Ford-Bob Dole GOP ticket of 1976. They lost
Political button from the unsuccessful 1996 Bob Dole-Jack Kemp Republican campaign
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Cheney got the job because Satan owed him a favor for all that Cheney has done for him

As big as Florida was, if Al Gore could have won the state he was born in, Tennessee, he would have won the election.

But that was easier said than done as his environmental stance probably didn't sit too well in Tennessee.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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