Dick Cheney on Principles & Values

Vice President of the United States under George W. Bush


Disappointed we don't have better leadership in GOP

Asked why he came to the Capitol, Cheney said, "It's an important historical event. You can't overestimate how important it is." He added, "I'm deeply disappointed we don't have better leadership in the Republican Party to restore the Constitution."

When asked for his reaction to Republican leadership's handling of this day, Cheney -- not one to mince words -- said, "Well, it's not a leadership that resembles any of the folks that I knew when I was here for 10 years -- dramatically."

Source: ABC News on anniversary of Jan. 6 Riot , Jan 6, 2022

Scooter Libby should have been pardoned, not just commuted

In 2005, Scooter Libby was indicted on one count of obstructing justice, two counts of perjury, and two of making false statements. In 2007, he was convicted on four counts, none of which were based on leaking Valerie Plame's name or CIA employment to th press. I believed Scooter was innocent and should never have been indicted, much less convicted.

Pres. Bush commuted Scooter's sentence so he would not have to go to prison. While that was appreciated, I flet strongly that Scooter deserved a pardon.

Source: In My Time, by V.P. Dick Cheney, p.408-410 , Aug 30, 2011

2004: Offered that Bush run for re-election with another VP

In mid-2003, Dick made a startling comment: "You should feel free to run for reelection with someone else. No hard feelings." I asked about his health. He said his heart was fine. He just thought I should have the option to refashion the ticket. His offer impressed me. It was so atypical in power-hungry Washington. It confirmed the reasons I'd picked Dick in the first place.

I did consider his offer, about the possibility of asking Bill Frist. While Dick helped with important parts of our base he had become a lightning rod for criticism. One myth was that Dick was actually running the White House . Everyone inside the building knew that was not true. But the impression was out there. Accepting Dick's offer would be one way to demonstrate that I was in charge.

The more I thought about it, the more strongly I felt Dick should stay. I hadn't picked him to be a political asset; I had chosen him to help me do the job. That was exactly what he had done. Most important, I trusted Dick.

Source: Decision Points, by Pres. George W. Bush, p. 86-87 , Nov 9, 2010

Selected as Bush VP for having experience & no ambitions

Bush had seen Cheney's command presence, including how people paid careful attention to what he said in policy discussions. He respected his record as secretary of defense and as Ford's chief of staff. He knew of Cheney's wide contacts on Capitol Hill and, more important, of his knowledge about how Congress operates. Bush warmed to the idea of a vice president without ambitions of his own, since he'd seen how that leads (often inadvertently) to staff conflict and internecine warfare inside the White House.

Bush knew I had real doubts about Cheney, so he summoned me to the Governor's Mansion to discuss my opposition. "We don't need to worry about Wyoming in the general election," I said. Cheney's health would be an issue. I also said that Cheney had a strongly conservative voting record in Congress in the 1970s and '80s. Finally, picking Cheney would add to the perception that the GOP ticket was dominated by Big Oil, hurting us in the Midwest and the Northeast.

Source: Courage and Consequence, by Karl Rove, p.168-171 , Mar 9, 2010

If we can win in MA, we can win back Congress in 2010

I think the developments that we've seen over the last several months are enormously encouraging. I think when we can achieve the kind of results that we've achieved in places like Virginia and New Jersey and Massachusetts--the sky's the limit here. I think 2010 is going to be a phenomenal year for the conservative cause. And I think Barack Obama is a one-term president.
Source: Speech to 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 19, 2010

OpEd: Possibly knew about PlameGate, but encouraged lie

[I told the press that neither Karl Rove nor Lewis Libby had disclosed any classified information]. There was only one problem. What I'd said was not true.

I didn't learn what I'd said was untrue until the media began to figure it out almost two years later. Neither, I believe, did Pres. Bush. He too had been deceived, and therefore became unwittingly involved in deceiving me. But the top White House officials who knew the truth--including Rove, Libby, and possibly Vice President Cheney--allowed me, even encouraged me, to repeat a lie.

The deception was not isolated to one event or even to the Bush White House. It permeates our national political discourse. Under the cloak of anonymity, the vice president and trusted aide Scooter Libby soon began an effort to discredit Wilson with selected journalists. Unknown to anyone else in the secretive White House, the president declassified key portions of information from October 2002 NIE for the vice president and Libby to use in this effort.

Source: What Happened, by Scott McClellan, p. 1-4 & 8 , May 28, 2008

OpEd: Did not ask Senate for support, but ordered it

[At a meeting of GOP moderates] we sat there and listened as Cheney made divisive pronouncements of policy that would come as a complete surprise to many of the Americans who had voted to elect the Bush-Cheney ticket.

The contentious and destructive agenda that Cheney dropped on us was troubling enough, but what really unnerved me was his attitude. He welcomed conflict.

Cheney tore our best campaign promises to shreds and the moderates acquiesced instead of pelting him with outrage. It was clear to me then that there would be no key bloc of moderate votes helping to shape legislation and reunite America over the next 4 years. In any event, Cheney was not asking for support--he was ordering us to provide it. The president-elect had his agenda; we were just along for the ride.

My heart sank as my colleagues peeled away, one by one. It was the most demoralizing moment of my 7-year tenure in the Senate.

Source: Against the Tide, by Sen. Lincoln Chafee, p. 8-10 , Apr 1, 2008

OpEd: Welcomed partisan conflict, despite campaign promises

Cheney's contentious and destructive agenda was troubling, but [worse] was his attitude: He welcomed conflict. We Republicans had promised America exactly the opposite.

That devastating first day after Bush and prevailed in the Supreme Court, if we were to believe Cheney, Bush would not only reignite the partisanship of the Clinton-Gingrich era but would make it even more toxic. Cheney tore our best campaign promises to shreds and the moderates acquiesced instead of pelting him with outrage.

Source: Against the Tide, by Sen. Lincoln Chafee, p. 8-9 , Apr 1, 2008

OpEd: Largest expansion of executive power since TR

Teddy Roosevelt wouldn't have been able to pursue a robust foreign policy without concentrating power in the executive branch to a degree not seen since Abraham Lincoln, and matched thereafter only by Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, an George W. Bush. Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to govern extensively through executive ordered. Perhaps only Dick Cheney--"as capable and sensible a public servant as I've known," McCain has said--has done more to expand the legal boundaries of the executive office than Teddy Roosevelt. Which wins nothing but praise from John McCain: "He invented the modern presidency by liberally interpreting the constitutional authority of the office to redress the imbalance of power between the executive and legislative branches."
Source: The Myth of a Maverick, by Matt Welch, p.149-150 , Oct 9, 2007

OpEd: Used fear of terrorism successfully as a campaign tool

Bush had tapped into a new group of lower- and middle-class voters concerned about security. After 9/11, he believed, many more people were primarily worried about terrorism, afraid of the next attack.

In the campaign, the Bush reelection team had dramatically framed the issues to make the voters' fear of terrorism as palpable as possible. The starkest, most direct suggestion that reelecting Bush would save America but electing Kerry would lead to the country's utter demise had come from

Source: State of Denial, by Bob Woodward, p.353-4 , Oct 1, 2006

Decided against running for president in 1996

In the aftermath of the Republican takeover of Congress, it seemed 1996 could be a very big Republican year. [Many pundits'] first choice for the Republican nomination was Dick Cheney. Cheney had spent the last two years traveling the Republican circuit helping the party and candidates in 47 states. Cheney was debating whether to run but holding his cards very close.

For Cheney, there were two pieces to the decision. First was the political part. Would he generate the support? On this side, he felt he had a shot. The second was the personal side. Was he prepared to sacrifice everything during the next two years for that one goal and objective? Cheney wasn't sure.

There was another factor. A relative was gay. Cheney worried that this would become part of the endless scrutiny.

"Is it worth it?" Cheney asked. He decided it wasn't. On Jan. 3, 1995, Cheney announced that he would not run.

Source: The Choice, by Bob Woodward, p. 58-60 , Nov 1, 2005

FactCheck: Cheney wrong that he had not met Edwards before

CHENEY: You’ve got one of the worst attendance records in the United States Senate. Now, in my capacity as vice president, I am the president of Senate, the presiding officer. I’m up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they’re in session. The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight.

FACT CHECK: There were at least two instances in which Cheney had met Edwards previously. Edwards escorted Elizabeth Dole when she was sworn in as North Carolina’s other senator on January 8, 2003, and Cheney administered the oath. Cheney also was present with Edwards at a National Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 1, 2001, when a transcript shows Cheney acknowledged Edwards among those at the gathering:

CHENEY: (Feb. 1, 2001): Thank you very much. Congressman Watts, Senator Edwards, friends from across America and distinguished visitors to our country from all over the world, Lynne and I are honored to be with you all this morning.

Source: Edwards-Cheney debate analysis by FactCheck 2004 , Oct 6, 2004

The charges against Halliburton are false

EDWARDS: I mentioned Halliburton in connection with the $87 billion. This is relevant, because he was pushing for lifting sanctions when he was CEO of Halliburton. Here’s why we didn’t think Halliburton should have a no-bid contract. While he was CEO of Halliburton, they paid millions of dollars in fines for providing false information on their company, just like Enron & Ken Lay. They did business with Libya and Iran, two sworn enemies of the US. They’re now under investigation for having bribed foreign officials during that period of time. Not only that, they’ve gotten a $7.5 billion no-bid contract in Iraq, and instead of part of their money being withheld, which is the way it’s normally done, because they’re under investigation, they’ve continued to get their money.

CHENEY: The reason they keep mentioning Halliburton is because they’re trying to throw up a smokescreen. They know the charges are false. If you go to factcheck.com, you can get the specific details with respect to Halliburton.

Source: [Xref Edwards] Edwards-Cheney debate: 2004 Vice Presidential , Oct 5, 2004

Kerry sees two Americas; America sees two Kerrys

On Iraq, Kerry has disagreed with many of his fellow Democrats. But Kerry’s liveliest disagreement is with himself. His back-and-forth reflects a habit of indecision, and sends a message of confusion. He has, in the last several years, been for the No Child Left Behind Act and against it. He has spoken in favor of NAFTA and against it. He is for the Patriot Act and against it. Kerry says he sees two Americas. It makes the whole thing mutual - America sees two John Kerrys.
Source: 2004 Republican Convention Keynote speech , Sep 1, 2004

John Dean: Cheney more secretive than Nixon

[Bush & Cheney’s secrecy] has given us a presidency that operates on hidden agendas. To protect their secrets, Bush and Cheney dissemble as a matter of policy. In fact, the Bush-Cheney presidency is strikingly Nixonian, only with regard to secrecy far worse (and no one will ever successfully accuse me of being a Nixon apologist). Dick Cheney, who runs his own secret governmental operations, openly declares that he wants to turn the clock back to the pre-Watergate years -a time of an unaccountable and extra constitutional imperial presidency. To say that their secret presidency is undemocratic is an understatement.

I was initially astonished watching the Bush-Cheney presidency, not certain they realized the very familiar path (at least to me) that they were taking. Richard Nixon, who resigned his presidency thirty years ago, had many admirable strengths and qualities. His secrecy, which shielded his abuses of presidential power, was not among them.

Source: Worse Than Watergate, by John W. Dean, first chapter , May 2, 2004

John Dean: Cheney’s agenda: cut programs to expand military

What clearly distinguishes this presidency is its vice president, a secretive man by nature whose unmatched power is largely veiled but whose secret governmental operations have changed the world-and not for the better. Dick Cheney, effectively a co-president incognito, works behind closed doors and does not answer to Congress or the public. Time and again, their principal public policies-both foreign and domestic-are laden with hidden agendas.

The Bush-Cheney hidden agenda relates to their national security policies, given their critical importance. Equally worthy of attention is their hidden agenda to end federal entitlement programs by running up budget-busting deficits while hiking military spending, which is bleeding the federal treasury and will ultimately result in there simply being no money available to pay for social programs after this administration is gone. These, of course, are programs-such as Social Security and Medicare-that they dare not eliminate.

Source: Worse Than Watergate, by John W. Dean, first chapter , May 2, 2004

Gave up any independent political existence from Bush

Bush ordered Cheney to draw up an energy plan. In intense sessions, Cheney would sit at the head of the table, frowning and nodding as he listened, seldom speaking even a single word. His words were all reserved for Bush’s ears.

There has never been a vice president like Dick Cheney, and there probably never will be again. He abjured any independent political existence from the president. He had no political operation at all. He shared his sole speechwriter with the president. He built no power base within the party, and he shunned personal publicity. His strength depended entirely on Bush’s trust in him-and he earned that trust by subordinating himself entirely to Bush.

Cheney was certainly a powerful figure with the administration. But those who identified him as a shadowy shogun who secretly controlled Bush, the weak mikado, could not have been more wrong. Even on energy, Bush made the ultimate decisions-and Cheney’s views, authoritative as they were, were often overridden.

Source: The Right Man, by David Frum, p. 61-62 , Jun 1, 2003

OpEd: Selection as VP was unexciting but responsible choice

The big excitement, beautifully orchestrated, was over Bush's veep pick. There were 30 American flags as a backdrop; and by now a new slogan "Renewing America's Purpose" to replace "A Reformer with Results." And everyone in the room was handed a small American flag and a pom-pom to wave. The almost-universal reaction to Cheney from the Establishment press was: "unexciting but responsible choice." Cheney matches Bush--sounds moderate, governs right.
Source: Shrub, by Molly Ivins, p. 191 , Oct 1, 2000

Media distracts public with focus on trivia

The need to produce for a growing number of news sites may be partially responsible for changing the way journalists cover campaigns. “So you end up with absolutely trivial issues dominating an entire (news) cycle or maybe two cycles -- an entire 24 or 48 hours -- that really have nothing to do with the election or the fate of America or how the campaign ought to be decided. The way that works serves to distract everybody and to take the focus off the basic issues that we ought to be concerned about.”
Source: AP story in NY Times on 2000 election , Sep 13, 2000

Personal charity is private and not a policy matter

Dick Cheney defended his charitable contributions as “appropriate” and insisted he should be given credit for speaking fees he directed to charity and for corporate gifts that matched his own donations. Neither is a charitable contribution under the federal tax laws. “I think giving is a choice that individuals have to make in terms of what they want to do with their resources. It’s not a policy question. It’s a private matter. It’s a matter of private choice.”
Source: Adam Clymer, NY Times on 2000 election , Sep 6, 2000

Cheney’s retirement package could be a conflict of interest

The energy services company that Dick Cheney served has agreed to let the Republican vice-presidential candidate, retire with a package worth an estimated $20 million. Mr. Cheney’s retirement package solidifies and expands his personal stake in the oil industry in general, and Halliburton in particular, while he is on the campaign trail confronting energy policy issues that will affect Halliburton’s performance.
Source: Diana B. Henriques, NY Times on 2000 election , Aug 12, 2000

Praises Bush for decency, integrity, and honor

Cheney spoke to a convention with soaring hopes for the November election as the delegates prepared to nominate George W. Bush for president, formally ratifying a decision that was made months ago by a party that sees the Texas governor as its best hope of regaining the White House. Calling Bush a “man without pretense and without cynicism, a man of principle, a man of honor,” Cheney said that “on the first hour of the first day, he will restore decency and integrity to the Oval Office.
Source: Edward Walsh, Washington Post on 2000 election , Aug 3, 2000

Opportunity to serve led to acceptance of nomination

In his prepared speech, Cheney told the delegates why he overcame his initial reluctance to accept the vice presidential nomination. “I have been in the company of leaders. I know what it takes. And I see in our nominee qualities of mind and spirit our nation needs and our history demands. Big changes are coming to Washington. To serve this man, in this cause, is a chance I would not miss.”
Source: Edward Walsh, Washington Post on 2000 election , Aug 3, 2000

Bush will restore decency & integrity to Oval Office

George W. Bush is a man without pretense and without cynicism. A man of principle, a man of honor. On the first hour of the first day he will restore decency and integrity to the Oval Office. He will show us that national leaders can be true to their word and that they can get things done by reaching across the partisan aisle, and working with political opponents in good faith and common purpose. I know he’ll do these things, because for the last five years I’ve watched him do them in Texas.
Source: Speech accepting nomination for Vice Presidency , Aug 2, 2000

Would vote differently today on ERA, Head Start, not Mandela

Cheney also said he would no longer vote against funding the Head Start preschool program or tuberculosis vaccinations for children. He also said he no longer opposes funding the Department of Education. On the Equal Rights Amendment, Cheney said he’d support it if the Pentagon was not required to draft women. One former stance Cheney said he would not change was his 1986 vote against a nonbinding House resolution on Nelson Mandela.
Source: Michael Finnegan, LA Times , Jul 31, 2000

One of the most conservative voting records in Congress

As a top Republican in the US House, Dick Cheney outdid the NRA in his opposition to gun control. He was an impassioned backer of aid to the Nicaraguan contras but declined to join a call for South Africa to free Nelson Mandela. And he made no exceptions in his opposition to federal funding for abortions, even in cases of rape or incest.

Cheney, in short, compiled one of the most conservative voting records of any member of Congress in the 1980s. Yet the civility of his personal style and his earlier service as chief of staff to President Ford lent him moderate credentials that softened his image over the years.

While in the House from 1979 to 1989, Cheney sided with one of the most conservative Washington watchdogs, the American Conservative Union, 91% of the time. That is 10 to 20 points higher than the average Republican during the period. Moreover, Cheney’s voting record became more conservative the longer he served in Congress, reflecting his rise in the House leadership.

Source: Michael Kranish, Boston Globe on 2000 Pres. race, p. A13 , Jul 26, 2000

Voting record in Congress consistently conservative

In ten years in the house, Cheney compiled a voting record that was anything but moderate. Elected to the house the same year as a fiery young Republican from Georgia named Newt Gingrich, Cheney repeatedly received higher votes from the American Conservative Union. Cheney was against the Panama Canal treaties and creation of the Education Department. He opposed abortion and the Equal Rights Amendment, and favored a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. He voted for virtually all military weapons systems and to cut education spending. He opposed sanctions against the apartheid government of South Africa and in 1986 voted against a resolution calling for the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners.
Source: Edward Walsh, Amy Goldstein in Washington Post , Jul 26, 2000

Persuaded by Bush’s “unique vision” to be his V.P.

Cheney most likely had to be convinced to take the job by Bush, saying that one of Cheney’s preconditions to heading Bush’s V.P. search was that he not be among those considered. Even Cheney admitted he did not expect to be standing on a podium as Bush’s vice presidential selection. Cheney said, “I heard Gov. Bush talk about his unique vision for our party and for our nation. I saw sincerity as I watched him make decisions, always firm, always fair. In the end, I learned how persuasive he can be.”
Source: Ian Christopher McCaleb, CNN.com , Jul 25, 2000

Lynne Cheney fights political correctness

Lynne Cheney is an outspoken conservative -- whether addressing the Republican National Convention, as an author or co-host of CNN’s Sunday Crossfire for three years. But Cheney made her biggest mark when she was chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1986 to 1993. She was appointed by both Presidents Reagan and Bush. Cheney felt liberals had taken political correctness too far. With her keen interest in history, Cheney argued for changes in standards. She supported teaching a more Western centrist view, believing it allowed Americans to have a more common culture. “Fifth and sixth graders will learn about the devastation of Hiroshima on children of their age, without ever recommending books that would tell them about why it might have well been a rational decision to use atomic weapons to end the war,” she said during one appropriations committee hearing.
Source: Pat Neal, CNN.com , Jul 25, 2000

Accepts nomination help change tone in Washington

Three months ago, when Governor Bush asked me to head up his search team I honestly did not expect that I would be standing here today.

Governor, I’m honored and proud to join your team and I enthusiastically accept the challenge for this reason: I believe you have the vision and the courage to be a great president.

Governor Bush is seeking not only to win an election, but also to lead our nation. He’s confronting the tough issues: strengthening Social Security and Medicare, reforming our public schools, cutting taxes and rebuilding America’s military.

I look forward to working with you, governor, to change the tone in Washington, to restore a spirit of civility and respect and cooperation. It’s time for America’s leaders to stop pointing the finger of blame and to begin sharing the credit for success. Big changes are coming to Washington, and I want to be a part of them.

Source: Statement on Vice Presidential selection , Jul 25, 2000

Senior member of Conservative Opportunity Society

Some trace the idea for the Conservative Opportunity Society to a meeting Gingrich had in 1982 with former President Nixon about the need for a more idea-oriented party. Nixon said, "You can't change the House yourself. You have to go back and form a group."

The idea had been germinating well before Nixon offered his advice. Gingrich had spent four years seeing his fellow Republicans in the House react instead of act. Newt reached out first to Rep. Vin Weber of Minnesota. Together they recruited Robert Walker of PA, Judd Gregg of NH, Dan Coats of IN, Connie Mack of FL, Joe Barton of TX, and Dan Lundgren and Duncan Hunter of CA. The group met weekly and planned.

"Trent Lott was the godfather," Gingrich recalls. "He hosted a weekly luncheon. Dic Cheney came. I was the senior planner. I didn't have any thoughts about being in the leadership. I thought it would be 5 or 6 years before that would happen and, when it did, Cheney or Lott would be the Republican leader and I'd be the senior planner."

Source: Newt!, by Dick Williams, p. 98-100 , Jun 1, 1995

Exert leadership toward post-nuclear world

The demise of the Soviet Union gives us an unprecedented opportunity to move toward a safer world in which freedom, not tyranny, is the dominant system. But to do it is essential that we actively influence the shape and the direction of events to come. We must exert leadership when it’s in our interest, where it’s appropriate for the U.S. to lead. There is no one else who can do it.
Source: Speech at Lawrence Technical University , Sep 14, 1992

Prosperity & security go hand in hand

Some critics are calling for cuts in our armed forces that would surely gut our military capability, all in the name of meeting domestic needs. They say that we cannot afford a strong leadership role, that we have to choose between national security and economic security. That’s a dangerous call based on a false premise. Prosperity and security go hand in hand. A nation that is not secure will not prosper, and America cannot be weak abroad and strong at home.
Source: Speech at Lawrence Technical University , Sep 14, 1992

Constructive personal style belies hard-line voting

Cheney’s voting record places him among the most unyielding members of the Republican right, but many of his colleagues would be surprised to hear that. They know him as a man eager to hear both sides of an issue, constrructive in his suggestions, and patient in looking for solutions. That personal style has given him a broad following even though he votes as a hard-liner. In 1986, Cheney did not oppose the “conservative coalition” on a single one of the 50 votes in which the bloc coalesced.
Source: Poltics in America, Alan Ehrenhalt, ed., 1987, p. 1682 , Jan 1, 1987

Pragmatic conservation insider image in Congress

Cheney has managed to build an image as a pragmatic conservative, one who votes Wyoming’s anti-government sentiments but negotiates with the other side on a friendly basis.

Cheney’s two years as Ford’s White House chief of staff made him something more than an ordinary freshman in 1979, and he took advantage of his reputation to play an insider’s role among House Republicans throughout his first term.

Source: Poltics in America, Alan Ehrenhalt, ed., 1982, p. 1326 , Jan 1, 1981

  • Click here for 6 older quotations from Dick Cheney on Principles & Values.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Principles & Values.
  • Click here for VoteMatch responses by Dick Cheney.
  • Click here for AmericansElect.org quiz by Dick Cheney.
Other past presidents on Principles & Values: Dick Cheney on other issues:
Former Presidents:
Barack Obama(D,2009-2017)
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton(D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan(R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter(D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford(R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon(R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson(D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower(R,1953-1961)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

Past Vice Presidents:
V.P.Joseph Biden
V.P.Dick Cheney
V.P.Al Gore
V.P.Dan Quayle
Sen.Bob Dole

Political Parties:
Republican Party
Democratic Party
Libertarian Party
Green Party
Reform Party
Natural Law Party
Tea Party
Constitution Party
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform

Page last updated: Feb 22, 2022