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Angler

Cover of Angler

Angler

The Cheney Vice Presidency
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Unabridged CDs * 8 CDs, 10 hours
Pulitzer Prizeâ€"winning journalist Barton Gellman’s newsbreaking investigative journalism documents how Vice President Dick Cheney redefined the role of the American vice presidency, assuming unprecedented responsibilities and making it a post of historic power.
Unabridged CDs * 8 CDs, 10 hours
Pulitzer Prizeâ€"winning journalist Barton Gellman’s newsbreaking investigative journalism documents how Vice President Dick Cheney redefined the role of the American vice presidency, assuming unprecedented responsibilities and making it a post of historic power.
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  • From the cover Chapter One
    A Very Short List

    Frank Keating reached for the telephone on a desk the size of a Cadillac sedan. He was the picture of a governor in command, the first Republican to break the Oklahoma jinx on reelection. Working oil rigs outside his window—drilled right there on the capitol grounds, living relics of the old frontier exuberance—pumped cash into a booming state economy. Keating had big plans for the second term, not least the construction of a grand new dome atop the statehouse. And now here came Dick Cheney on the line. Truth was, Keating had been half expecting the call.

    The week before, a "Dear Frank" note had arrived from George W. Bush. Keating's Texas neighbor had locked up the Republican presidential nomination on Super Tuesday, besting John McCain in six of ten states. Now Bush wanted advice on a running mate, "one of the most important decisions I will make this year," he wrote on May 18, 2000. A form letter, Keating knew. The newspapers said Bush sent one to every big name in the GOP.

    And yet . . . Keating could not help but tally his prospects. He was fifty- six years old, telegenic and tough and going places. Bush admired the way Keating handled himself in 1995, when homegrown terrorists in a Ryder van blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building across town. The two men had a friendly football rivalry, liked to bet on Sooners- Longhorns games, and watched each other's back in national politics. Bush supported Keating to chair the Republican governors; Keating endorsed Bush for president early on. More than endorsed him—Keating vouched for Bush with right- to- lifers, who needed the reassurance, and he delivered his Oklahoma political machine.All that and the right kind of résumé—special agent in the FBI, U.S. attorney, senior posts in Washington at Treasury, Justice, and Housing. True, Keating did not offer a whole lot of balance to the ticket. He was an oil- state fiscal conservative, hawkish on the death penalty and union- busting " right- to- work" laws. Too much like Bush, most probably. Still, a person might wonder.

    Cheney dialed the call himself. A lot of people liked that in a man of his rank, the sense that he refused to take on airs. The habit had other aspects. Cheney was chairman of a Fortune 500 company and had been a war- winning secretary of defense. Phoning unannounced had a way of catching people off balance, depriving them of that "Hold, please" moment to collect their thoughts. Aides said Cheney liked a glimpse at an unstudied interlocutor on the other end of the line. When Keating picked up, Cheney said his piece without preamble.

    "The governor would like to have you be considered as running mate," he said.

    Cheney let the statement hang, in that disconcerting way of his, stopping before the other person quite expects. Keating found nothing to read in the man's flat, clipped tone. He waited a beat, then probed.

    "Dick, I don't really do anything for you-all," Keating said, thinking Cheney might add a word or two.

    Cheney chose to take that as a question of geography.

    "No, it doesn't matter," Cheney said. "Oklahoma and Texas, you may be joined by a border, but that is not a factor to us. Would you be willing to fill out all the paperwork?"

    Indirection was getting Keating nowhere. He decided to ask flat out. Was this just a friendly gesture, or was Bush serious? Before running for governor, Keating had been through FBI background checks and four Senate confirmation hearings. He knew, or thought he did, what it meant to hand cool- eyed strangers the keys to every lockbox in his life. He did not care to go through...
About the Author-
  • BARTON GELLMAN is a special projecrs reporter at The Washington Post, following tours that covered diplomacy, the Middle East, the Pentagon and the D.C. superior court. His Cheney series, with partner Jo Beeker, won a 2008 Pulitzer Prize, a George Polk Award, and the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting. His work has been honored by the Overseas Press Club, the Sociery of Professional Journalists, and the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

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