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Bush Chooses Former Secretary of Defense as Running MateAired July 25, 2000 - 3:38 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Jeff Greenfield in New York.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: You know, it's always dangerous to toot your own horn, because I have been wrong so many times. But last night on "LARRY KING," I mentioned that I thought the way the Democrats would go after Dick Cheney was not just on personal grounds, but just to say: Look at the voting record on choice and on guns and on a raft of other issues. I think what you heard from Senator Boxer, in perfectly distilled form, is the message of the next several days about Dick Cheney: nice guy, don't have a problem with him personally, but way, way out of the mainstream.
SHAW: That is what I was thinking too. That is why I asked that last question.
GREENFIELD: Absolutely. And it was exactly the right question, because what you got -- I mean, there are very few authentically spontaneous outbursts on the part of any political figures. And I think that there is going to be a kind of a coherent, consistent message from every Democratic that's booked on the air over the next several hours and days about Dick Cheney; that, you know, they will, more in sorrow than in anger, say: Gee, it's really too bad that Governor Bush couldn't pick a more mainstream, moderate guy.
Now, in fact, politically speaking, it is true that George Bush has picked somebody from within the Republican base. I mean, there is no break between Dick Cheney and what is now a thoroughly conservative party on any issue you can name. But, what the Democrats are going to do is to say: Not only is he a conservative, but he is way out there on the fringe of the right. And that is what George Bush's signal really is. And never mind the stature stuff. He doesn't represent you.
It is a microcosm of the argument that the Democrats are going to make in general: that George Bush may be a nice guy, and he may have a little more sizzle than Al Gore, but if you vote on the issues, you can't vote for him, because they are out of the mainstream. That's -- you just heard the argument in perfect, crystallized form.
SHAW: Will these be exaggerations to the extreme?
GREENFIELD: Oh, perish the thought, Bernie. You think any political figure on either side of the aisle would ever dare dabble with exaggerations? That's like talking about the media speculating. Sure. And that's part of what politics is, you know. You get charges and countercharges.
And, you know, I think anyone who expects objective reality from any political figure is living in the woods (ph). They're not supposed to do that, they're supposed to make the case. And the case the Democrats are going to make is this a ticket so conservative, as to not reflect mainstream values.
And the Republicans are going to say, it's a ticket that speaks civility, bipartisanship and stature. And you know, November 7th we'll figure out who had the better of the argument.
SHAW: Well, Governor Bush certainly likes Dick Cheney's stature.
To talk about on-the-job experience, let's check in with Jamie McIntyre, at the Pentagon, for a look at Dick Cheney.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dick Cheney came to the Pentagon in 1989, in March. You may recall that originally, President Bush wanted Texas Governor -- Texas Senator John Tower, but when his nomination failed in the Senate, he turned to Wyoming Congressman Richard Cheney.
His first job at the Pentagon was to cut the Pentagon's budget. Well, a member of Congress, he voted for much of the Reagan era military build-up, including funds for Star Wars, and aid to the Nicaraguan Contras.
But once he got the top job at the Pentagon, he was forced to take an ax to a lot of these programs. He slashed billions of dollars from the Pentagon budget, over the four years, as the U.S. downsized as response to the end of the cold war.
But of course, he's probably best remembered for his role as the defense secretary during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, when he found himself in a position -- a person with no military experience, having to advise President Bush on the best way to evict Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait.
And, in fact, according to the memoirs written by General Colin Powell, it was Cheney who rejected the first draft of the battle plan that was presented by Desert Storm Commander General Norm Schwarzkopf, and told Schwarzkopf to come up with a bigger land invasion to make sure that the United States would be able to push those Iraqi troops out.
So, Cheney was well-respected by the military while he was -- during his tenure as defense secretary. He did try to kill a lot of programs including the V-22, which was a pet project of the Marines. That was brought back, the tilt-rotor aircraft brought back by the Clinton administration.
And he was also a pretty decisive defense secretary in showing the military that he was in charge. Just a few days after he took office, he reprimanded an Air Force chief and he fired another chief in the run up to the Gulf War, when he thought that he had given away too much to the press -- Bernie. SHAW: Jamie McIntyre, at the Pentagon, with a look back on Dick Cheney's career in that five-sided building.
When we come back, Chris Black will join us with some talk about vice president's Al Gore selection process.
Also, we'll hear the latest from a Gallup poll and we'll check in again in Atlanta with Lou Waters for another update on that very sad crash of the Air France Concorde.
Back in a moment.
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