As Vice President Dick Cheney makes the rounds on “the GOP’s rubber chicken circuit” these days to raise funds for conservative candidates, he always implores his audiences “to make sure that we elect John McCain the 44th President of the United States.” But worried about being labeled a third Bush term, the McCain campaign has made strides to distance the candidate from Cheney by blasting “Vice President Cheney’s energy bill.”
But before Cheney became a political albatross, McCain overflowed with kind things to say about him. In fact, in July 2004, McCain described Cheney as one of the best vice presidents ever:
At a July 15 appearance in Michigan, McCain dampened the speculation by calling Cheney “one of the most capable, experienced, intelligent and steady vice presidents this country has ever had.”
In interviews for Stephen Hayes’ 2007 biography of Cheney, McCain “strongly” asserted that Cheney “has been of enormous help to this president of the United States.” Politico’s Jonathan Martin reports today that in unpublished comments to Hayes, McCain also said that he would consider Cheney for a post in his administration:
Going further, McCain even told Hayes in comments heretofore unpublished that he’d consider Cheney for an administration post.
Asked whether he’d be interested in Cheney had the vice president not already have served under Bush for two terms, McCain said: “I don’t know if I would want him as vice president. He and I have the same strengths. But to serve in other capacities? Hell, yeah.”
Though the McCain campaign told Martin that “John McCain will always treat the vice president with respect,” they also refused to say whether they would have Cheney speak at the Republican National Convention. “No decisions have been made on the program yet,” said a McCain aide.