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MAIN Arrow to People in the News People in the News Arrow to Dick Cheney Dick Cheney

Dick CheneyRichard Bruce "Dick" Cheney grew up in Casper, Wyoming, and attended the Natrona County High School where he was first introduced to his future wife, Lynne Vincent. As teenagers, both excelled in the classroom and on the field - she as a homecoming queen and baton twirling champion - and he a football star and senior class president.

Following graduation in 1964, Cheney majored in political science at the University of Wyoming, and he went on to earn his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin.

His career in politics began under the Nixon administration in 1969, where he first worked closely with then Illinois congressman, Donald Rumsfeld, first as his special assistant and later as his chief of staff.

Under President Gerald Ford, Cheney became Assistant to the President and White House Chief of Staff, later serving as campaign manager for Ford's unsuccessful 1976 presidential campaign.

In 1978, Cheney was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Wyoming and settled in for five terms until 1989. During his tenure, Cheney served as Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, Chairman of the House Republican Conference, and House Minority Whip.

Cheney's reputation as a staunch conservative only grew as he voted against making Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday a national holiday, campaigned against the Clean Water Act and opposed the Head Start program, and fought against imposition of sanctions on South Africa for its official policy of apartheid.

On the Way to the White House

Beginning in 1989, Cheney ended his tenure in the House to serve as the Secretary of Defense under President George H. W. Bush, an office in which he directed Operation Desert Storm in the Middle East, afterwhich he returned to private business following Bush Sr.'s defeat to Bill Clinton in the 1992 election.

In 1993, Cheney joined the right-wing think tank, American Enterprise Institute. Two years later, he was appointed Chairman and CEO of Halliburton Company, an international energy services company (later held responsible for the Gulf oil spill) with subsidiaries that act as private military contractors for the U.S. government.

While not actively engaged in national politics, Cheney joined with Donald Rumsfeld, Lewis Libby and other Republican conservatives in the creation of a non-profit educational organization called the Project for the New American Century in 1997 whose stated goal was to "promote American global leadership".

Vice Presidency

In early 2000, while still serving as CEO at Halliburton, Cheney was asked to head up George W. Bush's vice-presidential search committee. In a surprise move, Cheney himself was asked by Bush to run with him as Vice President. After accepting the offer, Cheney resigned as Halliburton CEO and put all of his corporate shares and stock options into a charitable trust.

Mary Cheney & Heather Poe

Daughter Mary Cheney with long-
time campanion, Heather Poe.

 

Critics, however, point out that Halliburton was subsequently granted over $10 billion in no-bid rebuilding contracts following the war in Iraq, a fact that continues to raise eyebrows and conflict of interest concerns.

Leading up to the war, Cheney was already seen as one of the most powerful Vice Presidents in American history.

Following the events of September 11, 2001 Cheney did not appear in public for weeks and reportedly communicated with the White House from a secret location. Since then, it has been Cheney who reportedly pushed behind the scenes for the invasion of Iraq, while in public vehemently still continues to support the contention that weapons of mass destruction will eventually be found there.

To add to White House woes, Cheney's chief of staf, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was found guilty of a cover-up in connection with the Valerie Plame investigation revealing Plame's identity as a covert CIA agent to the press. Libby's sentence was later commuted by President Bush.

In the news in 2008 for his indictment by a south Texas jury, the former Vice President of the United States has come under scrutiny for alleged abuses of prisoners at federal detention centers. Named in the indictment along with Cheney is former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

One of Bush's most powerful spokesmen for U.S. justification for the war in Iraq, Cheney was thought to be a major influence on American foreign policy and a virtual "power behind the throne" in the Bush administration.

Besides being closely connected to the 2003 Valerie Plame scandal, the Vice President had also been the subject of calls for impeachment for his suspected role in in manipulating intelligence prior to the Iraq War, and his ongoing link to Halliburton war-profiteering. Pressing the case for Cheney's ouster, presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) officially filed articles of impeachment In an 18-page draft in April 2007.

In June, Cheney made headlines with his refusal to cooperate with a government agency overseeing the handling of classified information, claiming that the Vice President's office was not an "entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information." The statement came as the Washington Post (free subscription required) ran a much-heralded series of articles, Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency describing a "shadow government" showing the Vice President's widespread influence on Washington decision making.

In September 2008, Judge Orders Cheney To Preserve Records Of His Time In Office read the headline as more news broke in the controversy over Cheney's position on executive vs. legislative government branches.

Personal life

Dick and wife Lynne Cheney have two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary, and four grandchildren. Daughter Elizabeth, born in 1966, is married with four children. Mary Cheney, born in 1968, has become one of her father's top campaign aides, although her sexual orientation as a lesbian is often a source of contention.

Within the Republican party, many conservatives are adamantly opposed to "immoral" relationships and, in particular, legal marriages between gays. Fueling the controversy, Mary announced in late December that she was having a baby with long-time partner Heather Poe.

In May 2007, Mary Cheney gave birth to a boy, Samuel David.

 

 

Related Biographies:

Dick Cheney - Wikipedia

The White House - Biography of Vice President Richard B. Cheney

Cheney, Richard Bruce - Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

 

Famous Quotes:

• Direct threats require decisive action.

• Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.

• We will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. (Referring to the Iraq invasion.)

• Go f**k yourself. (Said on the Senate floor, to Senator Patrick Leahy, for remarks he made criticizing Iraq war contracts won without competitive bidding by Halliburton.)

• I think … we will, in fact, succeed in getting democracy established in Iraq, and I think when we do, that will be the end of the insurgency.

• Well, it’s a no-brainer for me. (Referring to the use of waterboarding as a means of torture.)

 

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