Former Vice President Dick Cheney's memoir is set to be released this week, but juicy excerpts have already leaked, and from the looks of them, he may sell books, but his former colleagues in the Bush administration might take him off their Christmas card list.
Cheney's memoir, "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir," is the vice president's version of events in the Bush administration. According to the New York Times, he reveals personal conversations with Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, George Tenet, and even George W. Bush.
There are details from Sept. 11, 2001, his thoughts on John McCain's 2008 campaign, and Cheney writes about his heart problems and his backup plan in case his health problems overwhelmed him. He also writes, for the first time, about the weeks he was unconscious after heart surgery in 2010.
"There are going to be heads exploding all over Washington" after people read the book, Cheney told NBC News. Here's a look at some of the juiciest parts that have been leaked early.
|George W. Bush|
In Cheney's interview with NBC News he reveals details of a conversation with President George W. Bush on the eve of the Iraq War. In Bush's own memoir, Decision Points, he writes that he turned to his "team gathered in the oval office and said, 'let's go.'" Cheney tells a different tale writing, "The president kicked everyone else out of the oval office, looked at me and said, 'Dick, what do you think we ought to do?'"
Cheney was then asked if he thought the revelations would embarrass the former president. Cheney replied, "I didn't set out to embarrass the president or not embarrass the president."
Another Republican to feel Cheney's wrath in the memoir: John McCain. According to Politico, Cheney writes that he was confused as to why the GOP nominee suspended his 2008 campaign during the financial crisis and met with congressional leaders.
"Senator McCain added nothing of substance," Cheney writes of the meeting. "It was entirely unclear why he'd returned to Washington and why he'd wanted the congressional leadership called together. I left the Cabinet Room when the meeting was over thinking the Republican presidential ticket was in trouble."
McCain responded to the criticism in a statement to National Review Online, "I respect and appreciate Vice President Cheney's leadership and dedicated service to our country. From time to time, we have had differences, as is typical for anyone in public life. I wish the vice president well and that he remains in good health."
|John Kerry and John Edwards|
Cheney doesn't share much about the 2004 re-election campaign, according to Politico, but recalls both members of the Democratic ticket bringing up his daughter Mary Cheney's sexuality.
About John Edwards mention of Mary at their only debate, Cheney writes he was "furious" with Edwards' response. "What gave him the right to make pronouncements about my family? But you never want to let the other guy get under your skin, so I kept my anger in check," Cheney writes.
After John Kerry brought up Mary at a debate with George W. Bush a week later Cheney writes that "it was obvious that there was a concerted effort by the Kerry-Edwards campaign to remind viewers that my daughter Mary was gay, to bring her into the debate and into the campaign."
Cheney says it didn't work and it actually helped the campaign.
"We all started referring to it as the 'Mary Cheney bounce,'" he writes.
According to the New York Times, Cheney goes after former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for her "naivete" in her efforts to negotiate a nuclear weapons agreement with North Korea. The book also details Cheney's view that "he saw no need to apologize" for the controversial words included in Bush's 2003 State of the Union about Iraq's supposed search for uranium in Niger that helped justify the war in Iraq. Cheney's writes that Rice eventually agreed with him, and she "tearfully admitted I had been right."
On Thursday Rice's publisher announced that her memoir about her time in the Bush administration would be released in November. The announcement describes her book as "surprisingly candid in her narrative of administration colleagues, as well as the hundreds of foreign leaders with whom she dealt," so there is no doubt her memoir will tell her side of the story and could be quite different than her former colleague's.
Cheney doesn't sugarcoat how he feels about former Secretary of State Colin Powell, writing that he believes Powell tried to undermine Bush by expressing his worry about the Iraq War in private conversations.
"It was as though he thought the proper way to express his views was by criticizing administration policy to people outside the government," Cheney writes, according to the New York Times.
Cheney adds that he encouraged that Powell be removed from the administration after the 2004 election, writing Powell's resignation "was for the best."
Powell hit back Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation" calling the criticism "cheap shots."
"My head isn't exploding. I haven't noticed any other heads exploding in Washington," Powell said, referring to Cheney's own comments on the book. "From what I've read in the newspapers and seen on television it's essentially a rehash of events of seven or eight years ago."
Cheney writes that the former and second-longest serving director of the CIA, George Tenet, resigned in 2004 just "when the going got tough." The former vice president calls Tenet's resignation "unfair to the president," according to the New York Times.
Tenet's own book, "At the Center of the Storm," was released in 2007, and it harshly criticized Cheney and other members of the Bush administration, writing they pushed the country to war in Iraq.
The memoir begins with Cheney's memories from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The New York Times writes that the vice president "commanded the government's response from a bunker beneath the White House" because the president was away from Washington.
"My past government experience," he writes, "had prepared me to manage the crisis during those first few hours on 9/11, but I knew that if I went out and spoke to the press, it would undermine the president, and that would be bad for him and for the country. We were at war. Our commander in chief needed to be seen as in charge, strong, and resolute -- as George W. Bush was."
One of the most shocking revelations of the leaked excerpts is that Cheney says he urged Bush to bomb a suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in June 2007, but his colleagues weren't going for it.
"I again made the case for U.S. military action against the reactor," Cheney writes, according to the New York Times, "But I was a lone voice. After I finished, the president asked, 'Does anyone here agree with the vice president?' Not a single hand went up around the room."
|Cheney's Heart Condition and Backup Plan|
Cheney reveals for the first time that because of his history of heart disease, he worried that while in office a heart attack or stroke could leave him unable to fulfill his duties. He wrote a letter of resignation that he kept in a locked safe to use if he became incapacitated.
Cheney told NBC's Jamie Gangel he did it because "there is no mechanism for getting rid of a vice president who can't function."
Cheney also writes that after heart surgery in 2010, he was unconscious for weeks. During that time, the New York Times writes, Cheney had a "prolonged, vivid dream that he was living in an Italian villa, pacing the stone paths to get coffee and newspapers."