Team Cheney Defends Iraq Policy: It's a Family Affair

ByABC News
January 29, 2007, 6:40 PM

Jan. 30, 2007 — -- They're a close-knit family who sometimes sing "Home on the Range" at get-togethers. Though a long way from native Wyoming, the four members live relatively close to each other and occasionally get together for Sunday dinner.

Father and mother are former high school sweethearts; their two daughters are incredibly loyal to each other. And when they feel under siege, they go on the attack instead of circling the wagons. Crisis just brings them closer.

They're the Cheneys.

And today they're celebrating Dad's 66th birthday.

Vice President Dick Cheney's family stands out in Washington for its extraordinary unity, sense of purpose and commitment to conservative politics. In addition to the vice president, every member of the immediate family has been outspoken about their beliefs in a way that few political families are.And the Cheneys are a trusted ally in the Bush administration's efforts to garner support for the unpopular Iraq War.

In the last two weeks, Cheney and his two daughters have been aggressively promoting the troop buildup and the need to combat the "war on terror" in print and in speeches.

While it's expected for a vice president to advocate policy in interviews with news networks and magazines, it's almost unprecedented for his family to be so outspoken and partisan.

In an op-ed piece for The Washington Post on Jan. 23, Liz Cheney's arguments for the war were often more pointed than those expressed by her father or President Bush, accusing the Democratic leadership of helping the terrorists by pushing for a redeployment of troops.

"Few politicians want to be known as spokesmen for retreat," wrote Cheney. "Instead we hear such words as 'redeployment,' 'drawdown' or 'troop cap.' Let's be clear: If we restrict the ability of our troops to fight and win this war, we help the terrorists. The terrorists are counting on us to lose our will and retreat under pressure. We're in danger of proving them right."

Criticizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., Cheney saved her harshest words for presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y. "I suppose Hillary Clinton's announcement was a sign of progress. In 2007, a woman can run for president and show the same level of courage and conviction about this war many of her male colleagues have. Steel in the spine? Not so much."