Cheney repeatedly rejected proposals ‘to help the poor, sick.’

In his new book, President Bush’s controversial former speechwriter Michael Gerson sharply criticizes the office of Vice President Cheney and his misplaced priorities:

cheneywv.jpg For Michael Gerson, the pattern became discouragingly familiar. A proposal to help the poor or sick would be presented at a White House meeting, but Vice President Cheney’s office or the budget team or some other skeptical officials would shoot it down. Too expensive. Wrong priority. […]

Gerson is more critical of Cheney’s office, former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and two Texas Republicans who served as House majority leaders, Tom DeLay and Richard K. Armey.

Gerson writes that he urged Bush to fire Rumsfeld after the 2004 election, but that Cheney opposed the move. He recounts meetings in which Cheney’s office tried to kill proposals to increase training of death-row defense lawyers, transition assistance for prisoners and aid for Hurricane Katrina victims.