Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 at 7:00am

Former VEEP News: Where Are They Now?

Posted by vicepresidents

What’s life like for someone who spent their “public life” just outside the spotlight… and who has now slipped even further into the shadows? See what our nation’s former vice presidents are up to!

Dick Cheney

dick cheney

(Photo by AP)

Friday, February 3rd, Cheney attened TD Ameritrade’s annual conference to talk foreign policy. He admitted that he is a “distant cousin of Barack Obama,” as his grandmother and Barack Obama’s mother share a common ancestor. “It’s something I’ve admitted to, but he hasn’t,” the former VEEP added. He also talked about the debt, which is “out of control” and his view that the current administration is “taking cuts out of defense, but not out of entitlements.”

With regard to the State of the Union address, Cheney said: “I listened to the State of the Union speech and felt he was playing ‘small ball.’ He wants to limp along to the next election. There was no mention of entitlements. We’re putting our country’s credit rating at risk, our senior citizens at risk, our children’s future at risk and the ability to fund essential government services like defense.”

He did like the way the Obama administration used drones to kill suspected terrorist, but he worries about the nuclear proliferation problem in North Korea, Pakistan, India and Iran. Cheney stated that he does not support the troop withdrawal and expressed concern over who will be in control once we leave. He admits that he was pleased about the death of Osama Bin Laden, although he felt the President should have thanked Bush for recruiting Seal Team 6 and putting in place the interrogation policies that led to intelligence regarding the terrorist leader’s whereabouts. Even though Cheney admits Iraq was a “failure of intelligence,” he adds: “If you want to stop terrorists, you must operate on the dark side. You just can’t deal with Boy Scouts. You have to deal with unsavory people.”

Al Gore

(Photo by AP)

Al Gore is working on building his online news network, CurrentTV, into a liberal-progressive powerhouse. However, he’s finding it can be challenge to work within a reasonable budget and court big stars to host his programs. For example, less than 24 hours after Keith Olbermann was fired from MSNBC, Al Gore was on the phone offering him a job as “chief news officer,” which came with a $10 million salary and a stake in the company. Yet, tempers flared when technical difficulties arose, including one segment where all the lights went out and Olbermann soldiered on with his presentation amid candlelight. According to Rebecca Dana at The Daily Beast, Olbermann “balked at the cheap sets and lo-fi production values… ignored emails from the network’s West Coast executives… wanted more authority over personnel decisions… and was also upset about his car service.” Gore fretted over what his executives could say to Olbermann to keep him on board. At the moment, everyone is sitting tight. In the meantime, Gore has secured a deal with former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm.

Dan Quayle

ben and dan quayle

(Photo by Ed Wexler for US News & World Report)

Dan Quayle seems largely focused on local politics and the political career of his son, Ben Quayle, who was elected to the US House of Representatives from Arizona’s 3rd district. Now they’re speaking as a duo in support of Kirk Adams in the 5th Congressional District’s Republican primary. “Look, he is the future, along with my son Ben,” Dan Quayle told 200 supporters. “He has an understanding and a strong conservative view of how government ought to work. He’s already exhibited that in his work at the state Legislature. He’s a small businessman. He’s committed to his family. He’s committed to his community. And it is with a great deal of enthusiasm for me to be here along with my son, and to present to you a person that we’re going send to Washington, D.C., if we do our homework and get the volunteers and get the votes out in August.” He has also attended several campaign events for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, who he has openly endorsed.

George H.W. Bush

george hw bush

(Photo by AP)

George H.W. Bush has been keeping a low profile for the last few months, attending an occasional football game and hosting presidential hopefuls at his home in Houston. Romney stayed for about 30 minutes, describing the visit as “fun” and the Bushes as “the most entertaining and delightful people” he knows. While Bush Senior hadn’t openly endorsed any candidate, a few weeks after Romney’s visit, Bush told the Houston Chronicle, “I think Romney is the best choice for us.” He added that Romney was “a fine person” and that he thinks Romney is “mature and reasonable – not a bomb-thrower.” Romney said that the support of the former VP (and former president) is not just important politically, but personally as well.

George H.W. Bush also had some condemning remarks to make about former House Speaker Newt Gingrich as he recalled a time when he was really counting on Newt – but he was nowhere to be found. “He was there, right outside the Oval Office. I met with all the Republican leaders, all the Democratic leaders. The plan was, we were all going to walk out into the Rose Garden and announce this deal. Newt was right there. Got ready to go out in the Rose Garden, and I said, ‘Where’s Gingrich?’ Went up to Capitol Hill. He was here a minute ago. Went up there and started lobbying against the thing. He told me one time later on, he said, ‘This is the most difficult thing I ever had to do.’ I said, ‘I didn’t like it much myself, Newt.’”

Walter Mondale

walter mondale

(Photo by AP)

Outside of a recent Minnesota Public Radio interview, we haven’t heard much from “Fritz” Mondale recently. Back in October, his family mourned the loss of daughter Eleanor, who died of brain cancer at just 51. She had been battling the disease since 2005. “She was a wonderful daughter,” Mr. Mondale said, “a great spirit, a lot of courage. She fought this stuff almost six years now, and never a whimper.”  (Photo by AP)

VEEP Mondale has always been known for his frank (and often delightful) manner of speaking. In his Minnesota Public Radio interview, he was asked for his thoughts on the various presidents he’s seen over the years.

He recalls:

John F. Kennedy: “the inspiration for my generation.”

Johnson: “a mixed figure who helped the country move forward on issues of racial equality, but also led the nation further into the Vietnam War – a move that ruined his presidency.”

Nixon: “a gifted man, brilliant… kind of looks like a moderate today.”

Carter: “brilliant and devoted to his country, with a desire to solve problems.”

Reagan: “I was not impressed by the depth of some of his thinking. He imagined a lot of things to have happened that no one else remembered.” (Of course, Reagan also beat him in the 1984 presidential election!)

George W. Bush: “cocky and didn’t think things through… listened to the wrong people in his administration and party.”


© 2012 The VEEP: Thoughts & Analysis on the Vice Presidents