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Dick Cheney

Richard B. Cheney
Order: 46th Vice President
Term of Office: January 20, 2001–present
Predecessor: 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 President George W. Bush.


Early life and family

Cheney was born in Lincoln, Nebraska to Richard Herbert Cheney and Marjorie Dickey Cheney. His father worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a soil conservation agent and was a registred Democrat. He has a brother with the name of Bob and a sister named Susan. Cheney grew up in Casper, Wyoming, and met his high school sweetheart and future wife, Lynne Vincent, at age 14.

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] [2][3] 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. Mrs. Cheney has a B.A. with highest honors from Colorado College, an M.A. from The University of Colorado, and a Ph.D. from The University of Wisconsin specializing in British literature. She has authored or co-authored eight books and numerous articles. Appointed Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities by Ronald Reagan, she served from 1986 to 1993. She is now a public speaker, author, and co-host of Crossfire.

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.


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. [4][5]

In 1962, when he was 21, he pleaded guilty to two DWIs in Wyoming. [6] [7] 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.

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


In 1978, Cheney was elected to represent Wyoming in the U.S. House of Representatives. Cheney was reelected five times, serving until 1989. He was Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee from 1981 to 1987 when he was elected Chairman of the House Republican Conference. The following year, he was elected House Minority Whip.

Among the many votes he cast during his tenure in the House, he voted in 1979 with the majority against making Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday a national holiday, and again voted with the majority in 1983 when the measure passed.

He voted against the creation of the U.S. Department of Education, citing his concern over budget deficits and expansion of the federal government. He also believed it to be an encroachment to state´s rights.[8]

In 1986, after President Reagan vetoed a bill to impose economic sanctions against upon South Africa for its official policy of apartheid, Cheney was one of 83 Representatives who voted against overriding the veto. In later years, Cheney articulated his opposition to "unilateral sanctions," against many different countries, stating "they almost never work."[9] He also opposed unilateral sanctions against communist Cuba, and later in his career he would support multilateral sanctions against Iraq. However the comparison to Cuba is not exactly apt, as the European Community had voted to place limited sanctions upon South Africa in 1986.

In 1986, Cheney, along with 145 Republicans and 31 Democrats, voted against a nonbinding Congressional resolution calling on the South African government to release Nelson Mandela from prison, after the majority Democrats defeated proposed amendments to the language that would have required Mandela to renounce violence sponsored by the ANC and requiring the ANC to oust the Communist faction from leadership. The resolution was defeated.[10] Appearing on CNN during the Presidential campaign in 2000, Cheney addressed criticism for this, saying he opposed the resolution because the ANC "at the time was viewed as a terrorist organization and had a number of interests that were fundamentally inimical to the United States."[11]

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, was named the "Dick Cheney Federal Building" for him.


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 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.

In the 2000 presidential election, a question was raised by the Democrats as to Cheney's state of residency since he had been living in Texas. A lawsuit was brought in Jones v. Bush attempting to invalidate electoral votes from Texas, but was rejected by a Federal district court in Texas.

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 and powerful Vice President in recent years, moving the office out of its traditional figurehead role. He even got an office in the House of Representatives. Some like Reagan`s last Chief of Staff Ken Duberstein has called him "The Prime Minister" because of his powerful position inside the Bush Administration.

Cheney directed the National Energy Policy Development Group (N.E.P.D.G.)[12] 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," 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.

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 and knowledgeable businessman and politician who knows the functions and runnings of the federal government. Opponents 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.

Relationship to Halliburton as Vice President

Cheney resigned as CEO of Halliburton on July 25, 2000, and put all of his corporate shares into a blind trust , except 433,333 stock options worth about $8 million transferred to a charitable trust. As part of his deferred compensation agreements with Halliburton contractually arranged prior to Cheney becoming Vice President, Cheney's public financial disclosure sheets filed with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics showed he received $162,392 in 2002 and $205,298 in 2001. Upon his nomination as a Vice Presidential candidate, Cheney purchased an insurance policy that would guarantee his deferred payments regardless of the company's performance, removing any conflict of interest. Cheney's net worth, estimated to be between $30 million and $100 million, is largely derived from his post at Halliburton.

It must here be noted that Cheney is not the first businessman-politician turned Vice President. Levi P. Morton, Benjamin Harrison`s vice president, was a prominent New York banker, Garret A. Hobart, William McKinley`s first vice president was a corporate lawyer. Theodore Roosevelt`s vice president, Charles Fairbanks was a wealthy railroad lawyer. Charles G. Dawes who was vice president under Calvin Coolidge was a banker in the Midwest. George H. W. Bush, vice president under Ronald Reagan had interests in oil and banking. President William Howard Taft`s vice president, James Schoolcraft Sherman was owner of the "New Hartford Canning Company". President Gerald Ford`s vice president, Nelson Rockefeller, was a director of Creole Petroleum Company, a Rockefeller subsidiary in Venezuela, and the grandson of the first American billionaire, John D. Rockefeller.

Plans for the future

To interviewers who had asked him if he is interested in the Republican presidential nomination, he has said that he wishes to retire to private life after that his term as Vice President expires.

External links

Critical views

Speeches and interviews

Further reading

Works by

    • 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)

Works about

    • 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

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