President George W. Bush considered dumping Vice President Dick Cheney from his 2004 reelection ticket to dispel the myths about Mr. Cheney’s power in the White House and “demonstrate that I was in charge,” the former president says in a new memoir.
The idea came from Mr. Cheney, who offered to drop out of the race one day during a private lunch between the two men in mid-2003. “I did consider the offer,” Mr. Bush writes, and spent several weeks exploring the possibility of replacing Mr. Cheney with Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the majority leader, before opting against the switch.
“While Dick helped with important parts of our base, he had become a lightning rod for criticism from the media and the left,” Mr. Bush writes. “He was seen as dark and heartless – the Darth Vader of the administration.” The president resented the caricature that Mr. Cheney really controlled the White House. “Accepting Dick’s offer would be one way to demonstrate that I was in charge,” he writes.