August 13, 2009

Bush and Cheney: A Strained Relationship?

Posted: 01:45 PM ET

Bush-CheneyBy Barton Gellman /

In his first few months after leaving office, former vice president Richard B. Cheney threw himself into public combat against the "far left" agenda of the new commander in chief. More private reflections, as his memoir takes shape in slashing longhand on legal pads, have opened a second front against Cheney's White House partner of eight years, George W. Bush.

Cheney's disappointment with the former president surfaced recently in one of the informal conversations he is holding to discuss the book with authors, diplomats, policy experts and past colleagues. By habit, he listens more than he talks, but Cheney broke form when asked about his regrets.

"In the second term, he felt Bush was moving away from him," said a participant in the recent gathering, describing Cheney's reply. "He said Bush was shackled by the public reaction and the criticism he took. Bush was more malleable to that. The implication was that Bush had gone soft on him, or rather Bush had hardened against Cheney's advice. He'd showed an independence that Cheney didn't see coming. It was clear that Cheney's doctrine was cast-iron strength at all times - never apologize, never explain - and Bush moved toward the conciliatory."

The two men maintain respectful ties, speaking on the telephone now and then, though aides to both said they were never quite friends. But there is a sting in Cheney's critique, because he views concessions to public sentiment as moral weakness. After years of praising Bush as a man of resolve, Cheney now intimates that the former president turned out to be more like an ordinary politician in the end.

Cheney's post-White House career is as singular as his vice presidency, a position he transformed into the hub of power. Drained of direct authority and cast aside by much of the public, he is no less urgently focused, friends and family members said, on shaping events.


Filed under: Politics is King • President Bush

Share this on:
Lois   August 13th, 2009 1:54 pm ET

You guys need to do spell check....especially a headliner....relationship is not spelled correctly.

Mary Marquez   August 13th, 2009 4:38 pm ET

This article reminds me of just how happy I am that George W. Bush is no longer president.

A.M. Deist - Fort Walton Beach FL   August 13th, 2009 7:00 pm ET

Why the media is still putting Dick Cheney on the news is rediculous. He is history, and his thoughts are irrelevant. Fortunately, there are lots of people that have written books in the past few years, and many more will be writing them in the future to document the legacy and war crimes that this Vice President perpetrated.

Ron San Bruno, Ca   August 13th, 2009 7:21 pm ET

One of the reason's bush back off from dick was dick was impotant

Henry   August 13th, 2009 7:52 pm ET

Dick Cheney is a relic and needs to fade into the background.

joey   August 13th, 2009 9:53 pm ET

why is someone paying him millions ? he will be telling all lies ! Lynne Cheney can drink 4 or 5 tequilas plus Valium ? this is what the book it on internet ..crazy ...

chaney   August 13th, 2009 9:55 pm ET

Dick Cheney and GWB,s relationship is so not relevant to me. I am glad they are gone., and am really not interested in anything they do. I will not be buying their books. I am too busy going to checking on all these outrageous lies concerning Healthcare .

Susan   August 13th, 2009 10:18 pm ET

Oh, big surprise here...both are old news so pass them on please..

janette tx   August 14th, 2009 12:47 am ET

Please let that snarled faced old fart fade away and take
his sour daughter with him.

tony   August 14th, 2009 12:21 pm ET

Dick Cheney is revealing himself to be an out-of-touch and pathetic has-been. His behaviour reminds me of that of a ex-bully, who can't believe that he has no power anymore. I picture him metaphorically stamping his feet and whining "Why is no one listening to me anymore?"
(P.S. and, in my opinion, no one should, including CNN)

tony   August 14th, 2009 12:22 pm ET

by the way, you misspelled "relationship" in the headline

Comments have been closed for this article

Keep up to date with Larry

Follow him on Twitter

Become a fan on Facebook

Contact us
Go Behind The Scenes


LARRY KING LIVE'S Emmy-winning Senior Executive Producer Wendy Walker knows what it takes to make a great story.

With anecdotes, provocative emails, scandals, show transcripts and insights into Walker's long working relationship with Larry King, her new book PRODUCER issues readers an invitation to listen in on the most intriguing conversations on the planet.

Order from:
BarnesĀ & Noble

King of Hearts

Larry King's King of Hearts

Saving a heart a day is the goal! Learn more about the Foundation and it's efforts to help the uninsured

Visit the Larry King Cardiac Foundation.

subscribe RSS Icon
Powered by VIP