Dick Cheney: The Thin Man
I almost didn’t recognize him.
Watching Dick Cheney, one of the most recognizable political figures of the decade, on television speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, I did a double-take.
He is about 30 pounds lighter, after being in the hospital for five weeks this summer for a procedure to improve his heart function, according to someone close to him.
The former vice president and president appear to have moved beyond the end-of-term friction over Bush’s decision not to pardon Cheney’s chief of staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby.
Cheney in a television interview last year, and Bush in his newly released book, both said they hadn’t seen eye-to-eye on the former president’s decision to commute Libby’s sentence but not pardon him. Bush also wrote in his memoir “Decision Points” that he once had considered replacing Cheney as vice president.
But in a rare public appearance together since they left office, both seemed to have left past disagreements in the past.
Cheney praised Bush for being a president who did not “put on airs,” and said that “history is beginning to come around.”
Bush said while “trying to peddle my book” he gets asked about Cheney and offers the following reply: “Dick Cheney was the right pick in the year 2000 and as I stand here there is no doubt in my mind he was the right pick then, he was a great vice president of the United States, and I’m proud to call him friend.”
Cheney is still the one willing to take jabs at President Barack Obama, while Bush has decided to steer clear of criticizing his successor.
“This may be the only shovel-ready project in America,” Cheney said about the Bush library, in a comment that was clearly a dig at Obama’s initial insistence that the stimulus package would go to “shovel-ready” projects.
Back at home, Cheney, we are told, is spending most of his time hanging out with his grandkids and working on his own book. Are there more surprises to come about the Bush-Cheney years?
Photo credit: Reuters/Mike Stone (Cheney and Bush at goundbreaking ceremony for presidential library in Dallas)