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Encyclopedia > Richard Cheney
Dick Cheney
Dick Cheney
Order: 46th Vice President
Term of Office: January 20, 2001–present
Followed: 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 serving as the 46th Vice President of the United States under George W. Bush.


Early life and family

Cheney was born in Lincoln, Nebraska to Richard H. and Marjorie Cheney (Born Dickey). He grew up in Casper, Wyoming and first met his high school sweetheart and future wife, Lynne Vincent, at the age 14. His father Richard Herbert Cheney worked for the Department of Agriculture as a soil conservation agent.

Cheney excelled both academically and 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] (http://www.billingsgazette.com/index.php?tl=1&display=rednews/2004/07/19/build/wyoming/20-cheney-reunion.inc) [2] (http://wyoshpo.state.wy.us/nacohs.htm)[3] (http://ncsdweb.ncsd.k12.wy.us/schools/nchs/) Beginning the summer after high school graduation in 1959 and during the next six years, Cheney worked on power lines and was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union.

In 1964, he married his high-school sweetheart Lynne Vincent. Lynne was elected Mustang Queen, the equivalent of most popular girl, and was a state-champion baton twirler. Under president George H. W. Bush, she was Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, from 19861993. She now also calls for abolition of the agency and discontinuance of the National Endowment for the Arts, claiming that both agencies foster cultural corruption. She is now an author and college teacher. [4] (http://www.upenn.edu/pnc/ptkoch.html)

Cheney has two adult daughters, Elizabeth and Mary, and four grandchildren. Elizabeth was born in 1966 and is married with four children. She graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1996 and has worked as an international law attorney, consultant, and now 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. Mary's sexual orientation as a lesbian has become a source of increasing public attention for Dick Cheney in light of the recent same-sex marriage debate.

In 1995, Cheney had a non-speaking bit part in the Bruce Willis film Die Hard: With a Vengeance, playing a New York City official.


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. [5] (http://www.yaledailynews.com/article.asp?AID=12444)[6] (http://www.facts.com/worldalmanac/election2000/wa-election-003.htm)

In 1962, when he was 21, he pleaded guilty to two DWIs in Wyoming. [7] (http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/cheneydwi1.html) [8] (http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/cheneydwi2.html) He was reputedly dissatisfied with his work at the time, and in an 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, but he left and entered politics before completing his doctorate. Cheney was selected for a one-year fellowship in the office of Representative William Steiger, a Republican congressman from Wisconsin.

Vietnam War

Vice President Dick Cheney did not serve in the Vietnam war. In his Senate confirmation hearing, Cheney said he "would have obviously been happy to serve had I been called." Bush staff members said Cheney received three deferments, two for school and one for being a new father.

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 White House Chief of Staff. He was campaign manager for Ford's 1976 presidential campaign, while James Baker served as campaign chairman.

As part of the Ford administration, Cheney helped formulate the White House response to the death via LSD of CIA scientist Frank Olson. Olson, a participant in the controversial MKULTRA project, was determined to be a security risk after developing moral qualms about his work on mind control experiments and deciding to leave his government work and become a dentist. Unwittingly given LSD and apparently thrown to his death out a hotel window in 1953, the circomstances of Olson's death remained a mystery to his family until they were unearthed by the congressional Church Committee investigation into the CIA's domestic activities. In response to their threat to sue the United States government, White House staffers Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld reportedly warned PresidentGerald Ford that a lawsuit concerning Frank Olson could result in the public disclosure of additional and related measures taken in the interest of national security that could extend popular disatisfaction with the intelligence community and federal government. An out of court settlement was offered, allong with personal meetings between the Olson family and the White House. The White House maintained, however, that Olson's death was a suicide, a detail that remained unchallenged until an exhumation of Olson's body suggested the scientist had been murdered. The exhumation was inspired by the Olson family's discovery of a CIA manual on interrogation that recomended drugging a subject before throwing them out a window. The full story was reported on (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/09/12/MNG468MM8N1.DTL) by the Baltimore Sun in late 2004.


The Dick Cheney Federal Building in Casper, Wyoming

In 1978 he was elected to represent Wyoming in the House of Representatives. Cheney was re-elected five times, serving until 1989. He was Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee from 1981 to 1987. He was elected Chairman of the House Republican Conference in 1987 and elected House Minority Whip in 1988. During his tenure in the House of Representatives, he voted against making the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. a national holiday. He was also against the creation of the US Department of Education, supporting his party´s position that the creation of a federal education department would centralize education-policy in Washington, there by undermining the ability of individual states to define their own education policies. 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, is named in his honor for his service in Congress. In addition to opposing the imposition of sanctions upon South Africa for its official policy of apartheid, Cheney also voted against a Congressional resolution calling on the South African government to release Nelson Mandela from prison. At the time, he described Mandela and the ANC as terrorists, though he now describes Mandela as a "great man". During the campaign for the 2000 presidential election, Cheney appeared on ABC's "This Week" television program and spoke of Mandela: "He deserves an enormous amount of credit for the transformation of South Africa, but I don't have any problems at all with the vote I cast 20 years ago."


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."

Cheney joined the American Enterprise Institute after leaving office in 1993. In 1995 he became Chairman and CEO of Halliburton Company, a worldwide energy services corporation with a long history of service to the government. Some Halliburton subsidiaries serve as private military contractors. He also sat on the board of Procter & Gamble, Union Pacific, and EDS.

In 1997, he, along with Donald Rumsfeld and others, founded the non-profit educational organization called the Project for the New American Century whose goal is to "promote American global leadership".

Vice Presidency

In the spring of 2000, while still 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. Cheney resigned as CEO on July 25, and put all of his corporate shares and stock options into a charitable trust. Cheney's net worth, estimated to be between $30 million and $100 million, is largely derived from his post at Halliburton. However, in July 2004 Cheney still received severance payments from Halliburton. This raised questions in America about a possible conflict of interest, since Halliburton was granted over $10 billion in no-bid contracts for the rebuilding effort following the war in Iraq.

President George Bush's 2003 State of the Union address. Cheney is visible in the background.

There was some controversy over the fact that Cheney had been living in Texas when he was selected as Bush's running mate. The Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution states that electors shall vote for president and vice president "one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves." Bush was obviously a Texas resident, being that state's governor. In November 2000, Cheney's vehicles were alleged to be registered in Texas, he allegedly paid taxes on them in Dallas County, he allegedly had filed federal income tax returns listing himself as a Texas resident, and he had lived in a Highland Park, Texas home for the last five years. On July 21st Cheney had changed his voting registration to Teton County, Wyoming, where he had long maintained a residence. Critics charged that this action was insufficient to switch Cheney's residency to Wyoming. A lawsuit was brought in Jones v. Bush attempting to invalidate electoral votes from Texas, but was rejected by a Texas district court.

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 Vice President in recent years, moving the office out of its traditional figurehead role. Many in fact claim that Cheney has more control in the Bush White House than Bush himself.

Cheney directed the National Energy Policy Development Group (N.E.P.D.G.)[9] (http://www.whitehouse.gov/energy/) commonly known as the Energy task force. This group included Enron executives who worked as team members despite the ongoing Enron scandal. In July 2003, the Supreme Court ordered the Department of Commerce to make the N.E.P.D.G.'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 N.E.P.D.G.'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," (http://www.whitehouse.gov/energy/Chapter8.pdf) claiming that this chapter urges military actions to remove strategic, political, and economic obstacles to increased U.S. consumption of oil. Others point out 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.

Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife Lynne with their fourth grandchild, Philip Richard Perry (born in Washington, D.C., July 2, 2004). His parents are Liz Cheney and Phil Perry, the daughter and son-in-law of the Cheneys.

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.

Supporters of Vice President Cheney point to his reputation as a very shrewd, knowledgeable, and hawkish businessman and politician. Opponents such as Joe Guzzardi accuse him of supporting decisions that indirectly subsidize the oil industry and major government contractors, and hold that Cheney strongly influenced the decision to use military force in Iraq. Cheney's alleged dishonesty over the justifications for the Iraq conflict has caused further controversy.

U.S. Office of Government Ethics public financial disclosure sheets stated that Cheney received $162,392 in deferred compensation in 2002 from Halliburton and $205,298 in 2001, which raised some eyebrows when Halliburton received over $2 billion in no-bid, no-ceiling contracts in Iraq. This contract was an extension of an earlier, competitively bid contract. Kellogg, Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, has a contract to control oil fires in Iraq if the well heads are set on fire. This apparent conflict of interest, however, was mitigated by Cheney's purchase of an insurance policy to guarantee the payment of the deferred salary regardless of how Halliburton performed. The policy was taken when he became a nominee for Vice President.

Cheney sold his Halliburton shares when he left the company to join Bush's ticket, but retained 433,333 stock options worth about $8 million. Cheney arranged for profits from the sale of these options to be donated to charity, placed the options in a charitable trust, and relinquished control over them.

On June 22, 2004, while participating in the U.S. Senate class photo, Cheney and Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy from Vermont had a personal exchange that garnered headlines in the U.S. After Leahy had greeted Cheney in a lighthearted way, the vice president criticized Leahy for Democrats' attacks on himself regarding ethics matters, such as alleged improprieties in Iraq military contracts awarded to Halliburton. Leahy responded by objecting to Republican accusations that Democrats were anti-Catholic because they opposed a Bush judicial nominee who was Roman Catholic. Cheney then told Leahy to "...go fuck yourself," which was later characterized by Kevin Kellums, a Cheney spokesman, as "a frank exchange of views." In response, Leahy said that he thought Cheney "...was having a bad day. I was kind of shocked to hear that kind of language on the floor." Others have pointed to this incident and the events that led up to it as evidence of a culture of extreme partisanship that has developed in Washington. Senate rules prohibit profanity while the Senate is in session, but Cheney did not violate the rules because the Senate was not in session at the time. Later on Neil Cavuto's show on Fox News Cheney said of the incident, "I expressed myself rather forcefully, felt better after I had done it. I think that a lot of my colleagues felt that what I had said badly needed to be said—that it was long overdue." [10] (http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20040626-075122-9083r.htm)

In an interview in Fox News, Sunday, February 6th 2005, he insisted that he was not a candidate for the Republican Presidential Nomination in 2008.

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Wikisource has original works written by or about:
Dick Cheney
  • Official homepage at whitehouse.gov (http://www.whitehouse.gov/vicepresident/)
  • US Department of State (http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pubs/presbush/cheney.htm)
  • Cheney Biography from the Bush '04 Campaign Website (http://www.georgewbush.com/Bios/DickCheney.aspx)
  • Cheney family genealogy (http://www.hierarchypedia.com/~hierarch/wiki/index.php/Cheney_family)
  • Dick Cheney's political donations (http://www.newsmeat.com/washington_political_donations/Dick_Cheney.php)
  • Halliburton's Mission (http://www.halliburton.com/news/archive/2003/article_101703.jsp)
  • Biographical article incorporating Cheney family interviews (http://newyorker.com/archive/content/?040906fr_archive06)
  • Dick Cheney Media Profile (http://www.ecoresearch.net/election2004/candidate?s=cheney) - Attention and Attitude of International Media
  • Looksmart - Dick Cheney (http://search.looksmart.com/p/browse/us1/us317836/us317911/us53828/us71848/us285850/us525984/us947790/) directory category
  • Yahoo! - Richard Cheney (http://dir.yahoo.com/Government/U_S__Government/Executive_Branch/George_W__Bush_Administration/Cheney__Richard___Vice_President/) directory category
  • The Radical: What Dick Cheney Really Believes (http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?pt=xGmMghBV8jodL8t7x2Vig2%3D%3D)
  • The fall of a "statesman" (http://www.salon.com/opinion/blumenthal/2004/07/01/cheney/index.html)
  • The United States of Texas (http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2004/06/24/halliburton/index.html) — Two new books document the hold that Bush, Cheney and their corporate allies have on America
  • Creepier than Nixon (http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2004/03/31/dean/index.html) — The man who brought down Richard Nixon claims that Bush and "co-president" Cheney are an even greater threat to the country
  • The Cheney Connection (http://www.laweekly.com/ink/04/30/news-ireland.php) — Tracing the Halliburton money trail to Nigeria
  • Playing Contractopoly with Halliburton (http://www.alternet.org/story/18957/) — Allegations about Cheney's involvement in granting contracts in Iraq to his former employer, Halliburton
  • The Curse of Dick Cheney (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story?id=6450422&pageid=rs.Home&pageregion=single7&rnd=1094003520950&has-player=true) — A cynical look at Dick Cheney's political career
  • the fifth estate: The Unauthorized Biography of Dick Cheney (http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/dickcheney/) - CBC News documentary
  • Joe Guzzardi: My Doubts About Cheney (http://www.vdare.com/guzzardi/agnew.htm)
  • [11] (http://dir.salon.com/news/col/cona/2000/08/01/south_africa/index.html) — Cheney's questionable Congressional record
  • Works
    • Professional Military Education: An Asset for Peace and Progress : A Report of the Csis 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)
  • References
    • 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
  • Speeches and interviews
    • Cheney at the Washington Institute's Soref Symposium outlining his analysis of Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War, April 29, 1991 (http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/pubs/soref/cheney.htm)
    • Article containing quotes from a speech on Iraq that Cheney gave in 1992 (http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/192908_cheney29.html)
    • Cheney speech given to the Federalist Society in 2001 (http://www.fed-soc.org/Publications/Transcripts/cheney.htm)
    • Cheney speech given to the Veterans of Foreign Wars 103rd convention in 2003 (http://www.nationalreview.com/document/document082702.asp)
    • Cheney speech to The Heritage Foundation in 2003 (video) (http://www.townhall.com/audio/CONTENT/Allison/Lehrman-092403a.ram)(requires RealPlayer (http://www.realnetworks.com/info/freeplayer/))
    • Jerry Bowyer interviews Cheney, March 1, 2004 (http://www.jerrybowyer.com/audio.php?id=961)
    • Interview of the Vice President by Dave Elswick, KARN, May 3, 2004 (audio and text) (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/05/20040503-11.html)
    • Neil Cavuto interviews Cheney on Fox News, June 25, 2004 (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,123794,00.html)
    • Scott Hennen interviews Cheney, July 22, 2004 (audio): part 1 (http://www.talkradionews.com/mediafiles/1730.mp3), part 2 (http://www.talkradionews.com/mediafiles/1731.mp3), part 3 (http://www.talkradionews.com/mediafiles/1732.mp3)
    • Cheney's Republican National Convention speech, September 1, 2004 (audio and text) (http://www.gopconvention.com/rewind/wed.shtml)
    • Glenn Beck interviews Cheney, September 24, 2004 (audio) (http://mfile.akamai.com/6713/wma/glennbeck.download.akamai.com/6713/preview/04/09/cheney-interview.asx)
    • Vice Presidential Debate, October 5th, 2004 (Transcript text (http://www.debates.org/pages/trans2004b.html),Audio (http://cspanquery.streamsage.com/query/playback.smil?XslFile=realplayer.xsl&contentType=text/smil&FILEID=139&WD=true&search=&numDisplay=10&startValue=1&sortBy=file_date&sortOrder=desc&program=&source=&div_display=none&startDate=2004-01-01&endDate=&s) and Video (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/mmedia/politics/100504-16v.ram))

Preceded by:
Donald Rumsfeld
White House Chief of Staff
Succeeded by:
Hamilton Jordan
Preceded by:
Frank C. Carlucci
Secretary of Defense
Succeeded by:
Les Aspin
Preceded by:
Jack Kemp
Republican Party
Vice Presidential candidate

2000 (won), 2004 (won)
Succeeded by:
Current incumbent
Preceded by:
Al Gore
Vice President of the United States
Succeeded by:
Current incumbent

  Results from FactBites:
Dick Cheney - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (7806 words)
Cheney served as Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, from 1986 to 1996.
Cheney was of military age and a supporter of the Vietnam War but he did not serve in the war, applying for and receiving five draft deferments.
Cheney's former chief of staff, Lewis Libby, is one of the main figures under investigation.
  More results at FactBites »



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