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

Rove: Cheney 'squirmed' when offered VP spot

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. TONY

    I think that's what made Cheney a great Vice-President; he didn't want the job and didn't have any higher ambitions. He was just there to serve the President and his country.

    I think Biden will be an excellent Veep for the same reasons.

    March 5, 2010 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  2. Brenda in Detroit

    Cheney squirmed? Please. This man is pure evil. For the good of this country, this horrible man needs to go into hiding and keep his mouth shut. For 8 yrs. this group of thieves lied to Americans and made us feel like WE were the terrorists. The amount of destruction this group hoisted on America and the World is unconscionable. May they all rot in hell. Kept us safe? Yeah, when they DIDN'T.

    March 5, 2010 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  3. George

    During the Bush watch we lost New Orleans and part of Manhattan, not bad.

    March 5, 2010 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  4. Carl

    How naive can anyone be to believe that Dick Cheney did not covet the VP spot on the ticket in 2000? Why does Cheney never leave the borders of the United States? Could it be that other countries are anxiously awaiting an opportunity to arrest him and put him on trial for war crimes at the Hague? This is an evil man who manipulated his puppet...the Idiot Bush...into a needless costly neo-con adventure in Iraq. Cheney should be made to daily visit places like Section 60 in Arlington National Cemetery where the brave soldiers, who died looking for non-existent WMDs, lie at rest. He should also be forced to spend hours with the wounded from that pre-emptive disaster...holding the hands of the brain-injured and amputees from that conflict. The Dems would be smart to make Cheney the face of the GOP when it comes to foreign policy. Americans may be too quick to forget...but, in this case, never to forgive!

    March 5, 2010 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  5. Carl

    The subtitle of Rove's book should be: "Turd Blossom cashes in!"

    March 5, 2010 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  6. Dave, CT

    Sounds like a lot of bitter people. Get a life. Stop complaining, stop blaming everything on Bush The Dems controlled congress for last few years of his presidency.
    Look at what Obama and Dem house and senate have done – increased the debt a hundred fold. Obama's been president for over a year and he's still takes no responsibility for the mess he's done.
    All these whiners and complainers on both sides need to shut their mouths and instead do something about it. If you can do better than you run for office.
    I think the American public has seen that neither of the two parties are actually doing anything for anyone other than themselves. Time to elect leaders who listen to the people, who actually lead and can get something done.

    March 5, 2010 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  7. demogal

    Please, please go away, Karl Rove! I rarely watch Fox Noise, but his presence makes me avoid it even more. Rove (like Cheney and the rest of the Bush criminal gang) will burn in hell for the harm that they have done to this nation.

    March 5, 2010 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  8. Grover, Honolulu

    Thought John Nance Garner said the Vice Presidency was not worth a "bucket of warm spit", but Cheney must have recognized his chance to change that description as he pondered acceptance.

    March 5, 2010 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  9. Denna

    America is STILL trying to heal from the damage Bush, Cheney and Rove did to this country. America would be better off right now if the Republicans would stop thinking about ruining President Obama and start thinking about undoing the damage they did to America. And that ridiculous Bunning character and his false fiscal responsibility should be driven out of the country altogether. Imagine not saying a word when an unfunded war was started, but balking at helping Americans. Oh, and by the way, take that blased Tea Party group with you when go. Bye!

    March 5, 2010 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  10. Right, not Wrong

    "What makes this lil troll think anyone cares what he has to say.I say put this guy in general population of a federal prison and his bfff bush and that scum bag cheney "

    Lot's of people care, including you. Otherwise, you wouldn't have commented. The intensity of anger and hatred of the left always surprises me. The Bush administration had a lot of bad policies – monetary, fiscal, war, foreign – but they didn't hate America. The guy in there now has to be, without a doubt, the worst President of all times. The astonishing thing is the speed at which he established himself.

    March 5, 2010 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  11. Dave, Santa Barbara

    Squirmed, or slithered?

    March 5, 2010 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  12. GOPer

    What a coward. He is a disgrace to his party and his country.

    March 5, 2010 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  13. Robert

    And we've all been squirming ever since...

    March 5, 2010 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  14. E. Elliott

    Mr. Lemburg, I would normally agree with your comment. But in this case the damage done to the country was so wide spread that we overcame centuries of racism to elect a man of partial black parentage. He is intelligent, hard working and has no stains against his family life. True, folks like Clinton in the moderate progressive camp are lacking too, but then he never ran as the family values guy. We can forgivea hike on the appli... trail, but not gross hypocracy. While I think Romney is a weasel, he is at least intelligent and a legit family man. Not keen on ther cult he is in, but it is less scary then Tod Palin's. Obama and he stand out from guys like Rudy, McCain and Newt, who would never miss a chance to trade the old modle for a wealthier or younger model.

    March 5, 2010 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  15. Buddy Gilmour

    Cheney squirmed because he knew as VP he'd have to fake allegiance to a man he had no respect for.

    March 5, 2010 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  16. Recently Employed by Federal Stimulus Spending

    This is Karl Rove...

    Do you expect ANY of us to believe Karl Rove?

    More spin...more lies...more revisionist history...

    March 5, 2010 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  17. PL

    1.Bet over half of you who ridicule about the book, said would never buy the book, have never bought any book that require intellectual exercises. If you read, you probably have paperback novels on your shelf. Learning about another view point other than what was fed to you is foreign to you. And then you speak like the authority on politics.
    Those who speak the harshest probably have not even read Obama's books.
    2. Are you true liberals or street hoodlums who like to mock others for the sake of mocking? My understanding of liberals is that they are supposed to be tolerant and respectful of all people, you know: the minority, the undocumented, the religious radicals (except they better not be conservatives) .....

    March 5, 2010 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
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