March 5th, 2010
04:49 PM ET
5 years ago

Rove: Cheney 'squirmed' when offered VP spot

Karl Rove's memoir offers a look inside the Bush campaign's VP selection process.
Karl Rove's memoir offers a look inside the Bush campaign's VP selection process.

Washington (CNN) - A new memoir by Karl Rove details the circumstances that led to the selection of former Vice President Dick Cheney as President George W. Bush's running mate.

The highly anticipated release of "Courage and Consequence," purchased by CNN Friday at a Washington area bookstore ahead of its release date next week, is a wide-ranging look at Bush's rise in politics as seen through the lens of his longtime strategist and aide. Rove also chronicles his life and political career.

The parts of the 516-page book that cover the selection of Cheney as Bush's running mate suggest that the longtime Republican insider was not comfortable when offered the position.

"Cheney arrived at Bush's Crawford ranch in early July with a stack of binders on other prospects," Rove writes. "After they had worked their way through the pile, Bush took Cheney out to the backyard. I'm sure Cheney wondered what was up: Crawford in July is hot. Bush surprised Cheney by asking him to think about becoming his running mate. Cheney said he'd consider it but wasn't certain it was a good idea for Bush or for him."

Rove goes on to deny that Cheney, who was tasked with helping Bush vet potential vice presidential candidates, somehow manipulated the selection process to his advantage.

"Some people have suggested that Cheney engineered his own selection. This is far-fetched. I saw the man squirm as Bush pressed him to accept," Rove writes. "Cheney had a clear understanding of what John Nance Garner, FDR's first vice president, had said about the office - that it was 'not worth a bucket of warm piss.' Cheney was too much of a patriot to act on that knowledge."

Before settling on Cheney, Rove writes that Bush considered nine other candidates: Govs. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania, Frank Keating of Oklahoma, and John Engler of Michigan; Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, and Bill Frist and Fred Thompson of Tennessee; former Sen. John Danforth of Missouri and former Gov. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.


Filed under: Dick Cheney • George W. Bush • Karl Rove • Popular Posts
soundoff (292 Responses)
  1. From the south

    I can't stand to hear their names. Make's me sick we had 8 yrs. of their lies.

    March 5, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  2. Manny DelaCruz

    It's funny to me how current Obama supporters who are calling for prison time for the Bush administration sound so much like Bush supporters who called for the same for the previous Clinton administration. Sometimes being President means making calls that leave you unpopular, and sometimes it even means that people are going to die because of your decisions. But we want our leaders to make the hard calls – that's what we hire them to do. Personally, I think history will be much kinder to Bush than to Clinton. There are many things Bush did that people don't have the proper historical context to judge his actions with. The Supreme Court is a good example of that. But do I think he deserves jail time? Because we reacted appropriately to a foreign attack? Any President, regardless of his political stripe, who turns on the American war machine in the appropriate and moral defense of America deserves our respect.

    March 5, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  3. zanny

    And another Bush sidekick attempts to re-write history. Karl Rove would do ANYTHING or say ANYTHING to get his candidate elected. He is the one most responsible for all underhanded things that went on during both Bush elections. It didn't matter if it was true or not(ask John McCain and John Kerry ). And he is still doing the same thing and spreading the same manure. If it is for the party, nothing is barred and no one is safe from his venom. with Karl Rove you can tell when he is lyingm his lips are moving

    March 5, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  4. John Weinbrecht

    Cheney's a War Criminal. If there was any justice... he'd be squirming in the witness chair!!!

    March 5, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  5. Nemo

    Ahhh..............The back and forth of civil discourse on this site is always so refreshing.

    One question for all you McCain voters out there? Why did you vote for a man who was, according to Mr. Rove, "is too unstable from his POW experience to be president?" How was he "too unstable" in 2000 YET suddenly "stable" in 2008? Was an "unstable" president better than Barack Obama in your minds?

    March 5, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  6. Judith

    Someone should remind Rove, just like Cheney and Bush, that there are no fire escapes in Hell. For if indeed, there is an afterlife, it will take a miracle to keep these three out of that very hot destination.

    March 5, 2010 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  7. mike e

    george w had a chance to be a great president..but because
    he was not a hands on guy....and less than interested in
    the details he let the neocons call the shots...they were
    wedded to only their perception of the best outcome for
    israel....had sadam remained in power it would have been
    a huge check on iran...their logic was wrong..and they were
    wrong and cheney carried their message

    March 5, 2010 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  8. Elwoodey

    To be read with 516 grains of salt.

    March 5, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  9. AndyBlue

    Karl Rove and Cheney would be in prison if the rule of law was followed here in America.

    Unfortunately more than 300 low level soldiers took the fall.

    These people are the disgrace of America. I love how their deranged supporters out themselves on these posts.

    March 5, 2010 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  10. Wayne Messer

    Typical of bush to made the wrong choices and yet cheney did as well cause he was stupid enough to except.

    It's odd that he actually got it right by saying it wouldn't be smart for either of them.

    I never knew he was a psychic. Yes I knew he was a psycho but a psychic never.

    Go figure!!!!!!

    March 5, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  11. Middle Westerner

    I am not a liberal or conservative, I am not bound by religion...

    ANY person that does not see how dispicable Karl Rove is....well..you are blind. He is a digusting excuse for a human being.
    His lies and manipulation are apparent to anyone with 1/2 a brain. and he has the most punchable face I have ever seen. I can honestly say that I have more disdain for him than I do for Darth Cheney, and that's saying alot.

    This book isn't even worthy of being toilet paper in my house.

    March 5, 2010 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  12. Gary

    Most of the lies and mean spirited stuff that was said about Bush and Cheney just wasn't true. People attributed too much power (and too much evilness) to Cheney.

    In the end, President Obama's plan in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen are identical to Bushes. In the end KSM and others will be tried in military tribunals, not NYC. Gitmo remains open for the forseeable future. Obama authorizes drone bombings, wire tappings and even lets our CIA be present as Pakistan tortures terrorist. President Obama's plans and programs are similar to Bushes because they are practical approaches to challenging issues.

    Bush, Cheney and Obama are all patriots who are trying to figure out how to keep us safe.

    March 5, 2010 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  13. James H Straszheim

    It must have surprised Bush when Cheney told Bush that if he accepted Bush's offer Bush would be his puppet and Cheney would tell Bush what to say and do.

    March 5, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  14. Hugh Jorgan

    Theresa in Bozeman – Four horsemen of the apocalypse? I'll be the first to admit that Bush, Cheney, Rove reign has come to an end... no apocalypse... life continues on. Let's face it... politicians all lie, cheat... doesn't matter the affliation. It's all a matter of perspective.

    Ain't life strange? doesn't matter, he will still get tagged with it esp if Heathcare passes.

    March 5, 2010 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  15. Whooaahh

    Hmmmm....all members of the "unbiased" and "truthful" 9-11 Commission

    "Before settling on Cheney, Rove writes that Bush considered nine other candidates: Govs. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania, Frank Keating of Oklahoma, and John Engler of Michigan; Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, and Bill Frist and Fred Thompson of Tennessee; former Sen. John Danforth of Missouri and former Gov. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee."

    March 5, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  16. vblick

    Ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, I'm laughin. What? Cheney didn't self appoint himself it just happened that a 5 time draft dodger was the best choice for VP? Amazing, truley amazing.

    Neocons always tryin to rewrite history

    March 5, 2010 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  17. Grant

    @ "I am the Great and Omnipotent Wizard of Rush and I Say . . ." Do you not think 9/11 would not have happened under a Democratic president? 9/11 was a complete surprise to most of the world. But I guess a different president could have predicted it?

    Yes Bush did get this country into a seemingly endless war. But at the same time, he could not sit back and not do anything in Afghanistan, so he protected the U.S. by sending in troops. Just out of curiosity what would you and your wisdom have decided to do?

    March 5, 2010 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  18. brian in denver

    Wait a minute. Let me make sure I've got this right. Karl Rove is suggesting that Dick Cheney may have manipulated the VP selection process??? Say it ain't so!

    March 5, 2010 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  19. There are none so blind as those that can not see

    Jon March 5th, 2010 4:21 pm ET

    I am looking forward to reading this exciting and insightful book to set the history straight from the sustained liberal lies about President Bush. Indeed, the history will view President Bush as one of the greatest presidents in American political history.

    --

    Don't you just love satire?

    March 5, 2010 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  20. jp

    Now, now...Pipe down a bit people! What has Obama really done differently than Bush so far. We are still in Iraq and Afghanistan and the troop withdrawal was already in place on Bush's watch. Maybe we shoud call Obama mini-Bush. He will not prosecute them as he and everyone else thought he would do, because he found out that they did NOT do anything illegal.

    You can say about Rove what you want, but he is an excellent strategist and knows his politics. He was spot-on with his predictions on by how much Obama was going to win.

    March 5, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  21. jean2009

    Is Rove going to cover all their profiteering with Halliburton, Enron, Black Water? Oh wait a minute ... didn't Black Water change the name to something that can't be pronounced Xe?

    Just another right-wing rant about how great they were! Phooey!

    March 5, 2010 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  22. David in San Diego

    It sure is hard to know who to believe less: Rove, Cheney, or Bush-Lite.

    March 5, 2010 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  23. Shelly

    Rove and Cheney are the WORST Americans ever.....the only CREDIT they have is for all the FEAR, HATE and LIES they have instigated and continue to do so.

    March 5, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  24. Paul

    That's great. I now have a book to place alongside Sarah's Palin's book...on the shelf in my bathroom.

    March 5, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  25. Stan Prentice

    Maybe Cheney DID squirm. Maybe he didn't engineer his own selection. That still doesn't change the fact that he was/is a very disturbed man, with a twisted view of America's place in the world.

    March 5, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
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