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Dick Cheney Explains Why He's Unbound

Dick Cheney finally explained last night in a brief interview with the Sleuth how he has suddenly transformed himself from the most secretive man in government to the country's biggest motormouth.

We caught the once-silent, now-chatty former vice president as he was leaving the annual Gerald R. Ford White House reunion dinner at the Willard InterContinental hotel and asked him why - after eight years in power of being so notoriously "shy," as we demurred - he is now one of the most ubiquitous faces on cable television.

His wife, Lynn Cheney, who tried to pull him away, answered for him. "He's not shy, you've been misled," Mrs. Cheney said, tugging on hubby's arm.

Cheney momentarily resisted her pressure to leave and answered for himself: "I wasn't shy when I was secretary of defense."

He then explained that his role as vice president in the Bush administration kept him tongue-tied. "It was a job that required me to give advice. And I thought it better to do it in private than in public," Cheney said.

As his wife whisked him up the stairs to leave, we asked Cheney when the memoir he is actively shopping to various publishing houses might be released. (The New York Times hinted that Cheney is having a tough time getting any takers for the more than $2 million advance he is seeking.)

"I'm working on it," Cheney said over his shoulder before he and his wife and small Secret Service contingent left the hotel.

What was most striking about Cheney up close was how remarkably healthy and less stressed he looks compared to the image of the haggard and beleaguered outgoing vice president who sat bundled up in a wheelchair grimacing for President Obama's inauguration.

The former veep was one of several famous faces in the elderly crowd streaming out of the 27th Ford reunion dinner, which draws nearly the same assembly each year of Ford aides, congressional cronies and even reporters.

Besides Cheney, who was Ford's chief of staff, others who attended last night's dinner included: former secretary of state Henry Kissinger; Alan Greenspan, chairman of Ford's Council of Economic Advisers; Carla Hills, housing secretary; press secretary Ron Nessen; and Justice John Paul Stevens, Ford's only Supreme Court appointee.

Donald Rumsfeld, who usually attends the Ford dinner, was not there last night. Nor was Brent Scowcroft, Ford's national security adviser, who had a falling out with Cheney over the Iraq war.

The Gerald R. Ford Foundation presented Kissinger with a special gift on behalf of the ailing Betty Ford (who did not attend the dinner): a set of Jerry Ford's favorite Waterford crystal bookends.

Stevens, the most senior member of the Supreme Court who turned 89 in April, spoke for 23 minutes at the dinner (though he made no news), according to attendees, reminiscing about his confirmation hearing in 1975. He said his "ambition" as a new associate justice was to invite President Ford to ride in his Cessna 172 single engine plane. ("But I never had the nerve to ask him," Stevens said.)

White House press corps icon Helen Thomas, who has covered every president since John F. Kennedy, and Tom DeFrank, Washington bureau chief of the New York Daily News, were the only two active journalists invited to the dinner.

DeFrank wrote a book, published two years ago, about his off-the-record conversations with President Ford called "Write It When I'm Gone: Remarkable Off-the-Record Conversations with Gerald R. Ford."

DeFrank, whose once close relationship with Cheney has been severed by his tough coverage in recent years, got a double dose of Cheney yesterday. His take on the former vice president's widely covered National Press Club speech (in which Cheney said states should have the right to legalize gay marriage) was the top Google news story on the speech.

DeFrank's headline: "Former Vice President Dick Cheney 'a strong believer' in waterboarding."

By Mary Ann Akers  |  June 2, 2009; 6:25 AM ET
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Next: Sotomayor's Solo and Healthy Night Out


What would Cheney need the $2,000,000 for. Didn't he amass over $50,000,000 as head of Halliburton?

When is enough enough??

Posted by: gregczar | June 2, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Cheney is one of the worst examples of an agent of the kleptomanic corporatocracy, and its near-total subversion of our Republic. On his watch, the worst of previous federal policies were continued, and surpassed by new, even more corrupt and evil policies. Torture. Indefinite detention. Aggressive warfare. Hostile occupation. Mercenaries. Assassination.

The oil companies prospered from the chaos surrounding the invasion of Iraq. So did the likes of Haliburton and Blackwater. The rest of us paid, and so did ordinary Iraqi people, many in blood. We don't need no stinkin' representative democracy! All Hail Bechtel!

Darth Cheney be frog-marched off to the Hague to stand trial for war crimes... including the ones for which they scape-goated a few Army enlistedmen, and acted like it was all an aberration from a "few bad apples" among the lower ranks. Failing that, Cheney should go back to his undisclosed location, and hide from justice in perpetual dread, like any other disgraced war criminal would do.

Posted by: Observer44 | June 2, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Just give Cheney a cell & be done with it. He's not worth a single spit & has absolutely no credibility left in him.

Posted by: Atheistno1 | June 2, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I am not interested in commenting on anything the former vice-president has to say now, or, in the future. He doesn't deserve our attention or respect in any way, shape, or form.

Good riddance, I say!

Posted by: arlineo1 | June 2, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

not 'unbound'. try 'unhinged'

Posted by: tedri50 | June 2, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

It is the press who is being used by Mr. Cheney. If they would only stop covering his speeches and inviting him to shows, we would be blessed with his silence. As it is, few will take note of his comments, but we can surely do without them.

Posted by: JoanR1 | June 2, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

The best things Cheney and the rest of his gang can do is to bow on their knees and seek God's forgiveness. They tortured children of God, some of whom were innocent of any criminal acts against the U.S. or any other country or peoples.

After seeking God's forgiveness, they should then apologize to the nation, demonstrate appropriate remorse for thus criminal conduct, and to the best of their abilities and that of the corporate interests they represented, compensate the victims of their illegal torture, as well as the victims' families.

There is no way that any lawyer, professor of law, elected-official or military leader can re-write or re-interpret the express language of this country's treaty with other nations respecting torture to justify or make legal the acts of persons at Gitmo, on on orders from apparently our "Commander-in-Chief" and his second in command. Despite the attempt on the part of some in the last Administration to make it seems that the language of the treaty is so complicated as to require hours of some attorney(s) to explain, the language is written in clear, unambigous terms. Why? Because it was written and ratified by our political and military leaders at the time in order to protect our brave men and women in uniform. They didn't want there to be any room for mis-understanding. And, there has never been any. That is, until the thugs came along and convinced themselves that Americans are dumbs and that they (Cheney, Bush, et al) are above the law.

If you really want to get down to it, we could probably save the lives of thousands of our brave young women and men in uniform if we were begin immediately the PUBLIC trials of those who allegedly ordered the torture of the detainees. For Obama to attempt to prevent it, for whatever the reason, is tantamount to an implicit, if not out right, explicit, campaign pledge to bring change to our nation and to our government. TRANSPARENCY IS WHAT WE NEED AND IT IS WHAT THE REST OF THE WORLD WANTS FROM US, THEN THEY WANT TO SEE IF WE'RE A NATION OF LAWS. OR, ARE WE A NATION OF THE RICH AND POWERFUL?

Posted by: turnerwred1234 | June 2, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Intriguing observation.

dePaul Consiglio

Posted by: depaulconsiglio | June 2, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Cheney '94: Invading Baghdad Would Create Quagmire C-SPAN

Posted by: opp88 | June 2, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: opp88 | June 2, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

'Mission Accomplished' didn't mean 'Mission Accomplished'

Posted by: opp88 | June 2, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

oh the vitriol!

You beman people who make money, work hard, and care as evil "corporatocracy"...can I get a low fat soy frappuccino 1/2 decaf, 1/4 Kona, 1/4 brazilian, peruvian, columbian mix...and hurry, I need to get 20 fraudulant ACORN voter registrations!

Remember Bill Clinton?

Please refer tot he following he was not worth this much before he was in office!

Posted by: getagrip5 | June 3, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

He's probably pissed at our "upcoming" sanctions on Israel:

Posted by: MatthewAvitabile | June 3, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Watch Cheney's videoWatch Funny Video

Posted by: roverfind | June 3, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

cheney, shy or silent? since when? his demands and orders have caused unimaginable damage to the reputation of the UNITED STATES world wide. they have led to the death and destruction of countless people.......if you believe otherwise, you are gullable. you probably still believe that "w" actually ran the country for 8 years......

Posted by: dhousand1 | June 3, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

One day Cheney will be judged by God for his actions. All his money will not help him. His bully tactics will not help him. He will be judged on the truth.


Posted by: 1FLVoter | June 3, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

I like Cheney, even if I don't always agree with him.

He's bright, logical and straight-talking. A welcome relief from most people in Washington.

Posted by: bh150243 | June 4, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

hey wash post, ask mr. cheney these q's next time. his flip-flop answers are classic:

- did iraq purchase yellow cake uranium or not?
- were there wmds in iraq?
- do we torture or not?
- is waterboarding torture?
- have we been greeted as liberators in the middle east?
- how much has your halliburton stock appreciated since 2000?

dick..the master of poli-tricks!

Posted by: airforce11 | June 4, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I am surprised at the number of God-fearing people who are criticizing Cheney who is one of those nasty right-wing conservatives who bring up God's name all the time...or at least that's the accusation against them. I guess you others use God's name when convenient, which is the Democrats way. Remember how Bill Clinton, after Monica, had a spiritual counselor (Jesse Jackson, no less, who impregnated a woman, not his wife) and Bill always carried a Bible with him to show his repentence. I doubt that God likes that kind of action or in your using his name when convenient! Some of you who wrote the scathing articles about Cheney and used God's name in vane should get down on your knees and ask forgiveness.

Posted by: murzek1 | June 5, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

When will you libs quit whining about Chaney? When we are hit again (and we will be)by BHO's Muslim buddies and God forbid, 10,000 innocent Americans are killed, you might miss the protection afforded to this country by the "evil" Bush/Chaney group.

Posted by: sburkhalter | June 5, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Why does Cheney have even a small Secret Service contingent? Gore has not had one since he left office. Once a vice-president is out of office there is no reason to have Secret Service protection.

Posted by: lander1 | June 5, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Of all the time that the Eveready Bunny should take a hike it should be on Cheney's pacemaker.
Now that we have a real leader after 8 years of abysmal incompetence, it really shows the contrast.

Posted by: sd-mouth | June 5, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

"Why does Cheney have even a small Secret Service contingent? Gore has not had one since he left office. Once a vice-president is out of office there is no reason to have Secret Service protection."
My guess:
Cheney has evil and violent enemies, while no one cares one way or the other about Gore.
(Although, I think Gore did have protection for a while after he left office.)

Posted by: maryvalco | June 6, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

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