ROME – Dick Cheney, considered one of the most powerful vice presidents in U.S. history, said Sarah Palin, a newcomer to the national political stage, was a good candidate and can be an effective vice president.
Republican John McCain’s surprise choice of the virtually unknown Alaska governor as his running mate in the contest for the White House has raised questions about whether she has the experience for an office that is next in line to be president.
“I think she’s a good candidate and I don’t see any reason why she can’t be an effective vice president,” Cheney told reporters travelling with him on a trip to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine and Italy.
Cheney, 67, a former congressman and energy executive, is considered to have wielded greater power as vice president than previous holders of that office. He was deeply involved in decision making on the Iraq war and has been one of the harshest critics of Russia in the Republican administration of President George W. Bush.
Palin, 44, a self-described “hockey mom,” is a first-term governor of Alaska and prior to that was mayor of Wasilla, a small town in that state.
In a fiery speech at the Republican convention last week, Palin touted her small-town roots and attacked her critics as out-of-touch elitists who do not understand everyday life in America.
McCain and Palin, the first female Republican vice presidential nominee, are running against Democrats Barack Obama, the first black presidential nominee, and Joe Biden, a Senate veteran, in the race for the White House that will be decided in the Nov. 4 election.
“We’ve had all kinds of vice presidents over the years and everybody brings a different set of experiences to the office and also a different kind of understanding with whoever the president is,” Cheney said.
“Each administration’s different and there’s no reason why Sarah Palin can’t be a successful vice president in a McCain administration,” he said.
“I thought her appearance at the convention was superb. I watched that with great interest. I loved some of her lines – what was the difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull? It’s lipstick,” Cheney said with a laugh.