Richard Bruce Cheney (//; born January 30, 1941) is an American politician and businessman who served as the 46th vice president of the United States from 2001 to 2009. He has been cited as the most powerful vice president in American history. He is also one of the most unpopular politicians in the history of the US, holding an approval rating of just 13% at the time of leaving office.
Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, Cheney grew up there and later in Casper, Wyoming. He attended Yale and then the University of Wyoming, at the latter of which he earned a BA and an MA in Political Science. He began his political career as an intern for Congressman William A. Steiger, eventually working his way into the White House during the Nixon and Ford administrations. He served as White House chief of staff from 1975 to 1977. In 1978, Cheney was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented Wyoming's at-large congressional district from 1979 to 1989, briefly serving as House minority whip in 1989. Cheney was selected to be the secretary of defense during the presidency of George H. W. Bush, holding the position for the majority of Bush's term from 1989 to 1993. During his time in the Department of Defense, Cheney oversaw the 1991 Operation Desert Storm, among other actions. Out of office during the Clinton administration, Cheney was the Chairman and CEO of Halliburton Company from 1995 to 2000.
In July 2000, Cheney was chosen by presumptive Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush as his running mate in the 2000 presidential election. They defeated their Democratic opponents, incumbent Vice President Al Gore and Senator Joe Lieberman. In 2004 Cheney was reelected to his second term as vice president with Bush as president, defeating their Democratic opponents Senators John Kerry and John Edwards. During Cheney's tenure as vice president, he played a leading behind-the-scenes role in the George W. Bush administration's response to the September 11 attacks and coordination of the Global War on Terrorism. He was an early proponent of invading Iraq, alleging that the Saddam Hussein regime possessed a weapons of mass destruction program (no active WMDs were in Iraq) and the Hussein regime had an operational relationship with al-Qaeda (even though there was scant credible evidence of such a relationship at the time). He also pressured the intelligence community to provide intelligence consistent with the administration's rationales for invading Iraq. Cheney was often criticized for the Bush Administration's policies regarding the campaign against terrorism, and for his support of wiretapping by the National Security Agency (NSA) and of torture. He became at odds with President Bush's position against same-sex marriage in 2004.
In 2015, Cheney published another book, Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America, again co-authored with his daughter Liz. The book traces the history of U.S. foreign policy and military successes and failures from Franklin Roosevelt's administration through the Obama administration. The authors t
In 2015, Cheney published another book, Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America, again co-authored with his daughter Liz. The book traces the history of U.S. foreign policy and military successes and failures from Franklin Roosevelt's administration through the Obama administration. The authors tell the story of what they describe as the unique role the United States has played as a defender of freedom throughout the world since World War II. Drawing upon the notion of American exceptionalism, the co-authors criticize Barack Obama's and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's foreign policies, and offer what they see as the solutions needed to restore American greatness and power on the world stage in defense of freedom.
In May 2018, Cheney supported President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal.
He criticized the Iran Nuclear Deal.
He criticized the He criticized the Trump administration during a forum at the American Enterprise Institute alongside Vice President Mike Pence in March 2019. Questioning his successor on Trump's commitment to NATO and tendency to announce policy decisions on Twitter before consulting senior staff members, Cheney went on to opine, "It seems, at times, as though your administration’s approach has more in common with Obama’s foreign policy than traditional Republican foreign policy."
Cheney's early public opinion polls were more favorable than unfavorable, reaching his peak approval rating in the wake of the September 11 attacks at 68 percent. However, polling numbers for both him and the president gradually declined in their second terms, with Cheney reaching his lowest point shortly before leaving office at 13 percent. Cheney's Gallup poll figures are mostly consistent with those from other polls:
In April 2007, Cheney was awarded an honorary doctorate of public service by Brigham Young University, where he delivered the commencement address. His selection as commencement speaker was controversial. The college board of trustees issued a statement explaining that the invitation should be viewed "as one extended to someone holding the high office of vice president of the United States rather than to a partisan political figure". BYU permitted a protest to occur so long as it did not "make personal attacks against Cheney, attack (the) BYU administration, the church or the First Presidency".
Cheney has been compared to Darth Vader, a characterization or
As a result of Cheney having admitted that he "signed off" on the so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" program, some public officials, as well as several media outlets and advocacy groups, have called for his prosecution under various anti-torture and war crimes statutes.
In Jon Meacham's book Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, published in November 2015, the 41st president, although also laudatory of Cheney, is in part critical of the former vice president, whom Bush describes as "having his own empire" and "very hard-line."
The couple have two daughters, Elizabeth "Liz" and Mary Cheney, and seven grandchildren. Liz, congresswoman from Wyoming since 2017, is married to Philip J. Perry, a former General Counsel of the Department of Homeland Security. Mary, a former employee of the Colorado Rockies baseball team and the Coors Brewing Company, was a campaign aide to the Bush re-election campaign; she lives in Great Falls, Virginia, with her wife Heather Poe. Cheney has publicly supported gay marriage since leaving the vice presidency.
Cheney's long histories of cardiovascular disease and periodic need for urgent health care raised questions of whether he was medically fit to serve in public office. Having smoked approximately 3 packs of cigarettes per day for nearly 20 years, Cheney had his first of five heart attacks on 18 June 1978, at age 37. Subsequent attacks in 1984, 1988, on 22 November 2000 and on 22 February 2010 resulted in moderate contractile dysfunction of his