ABC News’ Karen Travers reports According to the New York Times, former President George W. Bush writes in his upcoming memoir that Vice President Cheney offered to drop off the 2004 re-election ticket.
The Times obtained a copy of Bush’s memoir, which is not out in stores until next Tuesday Nov. 9. Bush writes that he considered the offer, which Cheney made during a private lunch in mid-2003, and thought of picking Sen. Bill Frist, then the majority leader, as his running mate but opted against the switch. According to the Times, Bush writes that while Cheney helped with the Republican base, “he had become a lightning rod for criticism from the media and the left.” “He was seen as dark and heartless – the Darth Vader of the administration,” Bush writes. “Accepting Dick’s offer would be one way to demonstrate that I was in charge.” From the NYT — But in the end, Mr. Bush writes, “the more I thought about it, the more strongly I felt Dick should stay. I hadn’t picked him to be a political asset; I had chosen him to help me do the job. That was exactly what he had done.” Mr. Bush wrote that he trusted Mr. Cheney, valued his steadiness and considered him a good friend. So, “at one of our lunches a few weeks later, I asked Dick to stay and he agreed.” Bush has spent the nearly two years since he left Washington largely out of the spotlight. He has made several speeches here and abroad and was seen this week at the World Series in Texas. But he has refrained from commenting on his successor, President Obama, unlike Cheney who has been very critical of the Obama Administration. Bush sat down for interviews with NBC News and Oprah Winfrey, which will air next week when his book is released. The New York Times writes that “for the most part,” Bush offers a “strong defense” of his two terms, reiterating his defense of the decision to invade Iraq. But the former president “offers a more expansive self-critique than he did while in office, expressing regrets for his slow response to Hurricane Katrina, his acquiescence to reducing troops in Iraq after the initial invasion and his decision to nominate his friend and lawyer, Harriet Miers, to the Supreme Court.”