A Running Mate, Spring, 2000

Image‘On May 10 I had dinner with the governor in Austin to go over the information we had gathered on the first set of prospective candidates. I brought two copies of the binder that contained background information on each. I handed one copy to the governor and kept the other for myself, so I could walk him through it. We had not written down the most sensitive material, so I briefed the governor on it orally. Before we began this first session, I told Governor Bush that what we were about to discuss was highly sensitive, and we had to ensure complete confidentiality. Of course, he agreed, and at the end of each of our meetings to discuss the candidates, he would hand his copy of the briefing book back to me.

Two people not on our list were Colin Powell and John McCain. Both had made it clear that they weren’t interested. One candidate who spent a short time on the real list was Don Rumsfeld. Not long after I took on the assignment of managing the selection process, I placed a call to Don and said, “I’m pulling together a list of potential VP candidates, and I’d like to put your name on it. You don’t have to say yes, but if you don’t say anything, I’m going to put your name on the list.” There was silence on the other end of the phone line, so I added Don’s name and left him in a position where he could truthfully say he had not asked to be on the list.’

In My Time, Dick Cheney, with Liz Cheney, Threshold Editions, 2011.

Photo by Cherie A. Thurlby