Cheney ‘Spills the Beans’ About Bush Administration

By Sadie Bass

Aug 13, 2009 1:07pm

ABC's Stu Schutzman reports from New York: Dick Cheney appears to be at it again.  In the run-up to his new book, author Cheney purportedly “spill’s the beans” about the inside stories surrounding the controversies which swirled around the Bush administration for most of its 8 years in power.  According to Bart Gellman’s account in today’s Washington Post, some of those close to Cheney say he believes Bush “was moving away from him” and “went soft” during his second term. Late last year (as noted here) in an apparent rift, then Vice President Cheney vocally criticized the President for failing to pardon his long time colleague and friend, Scooter Libby.  Libby, Cheney’s Chief Of Staff, was the only White House official convicted in the Valerie Plame affair.  Cheney said Bush “abandoned an innocent man.”  Strong language from someone who seem tied at the hip to George W. Bush.   In today’s Post, Gellman describes a series of recent conversations Cheney has had with former colleagues among others. “In the second term, he felt Bush was moving away from him,” said one, “…shackled by the public reaction and criticism he took……the implication was that Bush had gone soft on him.”  “It was clear,” said the participant, “that Cheney’s doctrine was cast-iron strength at all times — never apologize, never explain — and Bush moved toward the conciliatory.” It seems fair to say that President Bush, not unlike any President, was acutely aware of his legacy. Bush spoke often and at times sounded a bit defensive about the way history would judge him.  As some see it, Bush “crossed the Rubicon” when Donald Rumsfeld resigned the day after the midterm elections in 2006.  As the war in Iraq got bloodier whit no end in sight, this was something critics and even some friends thought he should have done much earlier.  Cheney immediately pushed back against the boss calling Rumsfeld the “finest Secretary of Defense” in history.  But the dyke was breached.  The President went on to undo many of the Cheney inspired policies of the post 911 era: he ended torture of detainees by water boarding; ended the CIA secret prison program; ended unsanctioned domestic surveillance and called for the closing of the prison at Guantanamo Bay. According to those who spoke to the Post, Cheney has not softened on those policies one iota.  “He hadn’t stepped back a bit from the positions he took in office…” said one.  “He’s not going to soften anything or accommodate shifts in conscience.”  The former President is right to believe that history will render his ultimate job approval rating. But until then, I for one, can’t wait to read Dick Cheney’s book. 

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