John King, USA

The latest political news and information on the most important stories affecting you.
March 25th, 2010
05:09 PM ET

Rove initially didn't want Cheney

Washington (CNN) - If Karl Rove would have had his way – Dick Cheney would not have become vice president.

Rove explained Thursday in a CNN interview how he laid out the arguments to then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush against choosing Cheney as a running mate.

"He was set on Cheney for vice president, and I thought it was a bad idea," Rove told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.

The interview will air Thursday at 7 p.m. ET on John King, USA.

The man often called "Bush's brain" said in the interview that will air on John King, USA, Bush called him to a meeting in the governor's mansion to allow Rove to make his case.

Rove said he then laid out his objections against Cheney.

"We didn't need to worry about, you know, the Wyoming's three electoral votes, and Cheney's voting record, and Cheney's health, and the fact he'd been Bush 41's Secretary of Defense – and we were trying to develop a separate image for 43," Rove said in the interview. "[Cheney] was a Texas oilman, like Bush was a Texas oilman, you know, you could caricature them both that way."

He added, "After about 30 or 35 minutes, [Bush] said, 'you got anything else?' I said, 'no that's about it.' And [Bush] turned to the guy next to him and said, 'Dick [Cheney], you got any questions for Karl?'"

Rove said Bush called the next day and agreed that choosing Cheney might not benefit the campaign politically. But Rove added Bush said to him, "'I'm not concerned about the politics of it. I've got to answer the question of who would be a good partner for me. And if something terrible were to happen to me, who would be a good president to step in – in my place.'"

Rove told King, "It really was [Bush's] first presidential decision, long before getting elected."

soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Name

    wow and john McCain decided if something terrible were to happen to me, who would be a good president to step in – in my place.'" ? that is why your are still a senator! and now you are an angry tea party wanna be old Senator I hope you get defeated in the Primary

    March 25, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  2. DH

    Surprise! Bush had better logic than McCain.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  3. David Manry

    Thank God for 43's first 'presidential' decision. Mr. Cheney is a truly great American and our country has been safer and stronger as a result.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  4. Anthony

    Can't wait to see the comments on this.

    March 25, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  5. Jeffrey E. Salzberg

    "It really was [Bush's] first presidential decision, long before getting elected."

    Yes, almost 5 years before Bush was elected.

    March 25, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  6. Charles

    If this was Bush's first presidential decision, it was the first of many bad presidential decisions he made.

    March 25, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  7. Liz

    Who even cares what these idiots have to say anymore. No ethics nor morals, liars and in it for themselves. They all shoulld have been prosecuted for destroying the country and starting a bogus war that has caused the death of thousands. Add Rumsfeld to this group and lock them up in Guantanamo and throw away the key.

    March 25, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  8. YJ

    First presidential decision...And indeed what a decision it was!!!!!!

    March 25, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  9. bob martin

    tells you something about bush, darth vadars brother

    March 25, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  10. pakoz

    karl roves greatest atribute is hs a born liar.he framed a governor and had him put in prison he was not only bushes brain he was cheneys butt wipe and confidant in my opinion he should be given a close look by the justice department so if you elieve his latest line of crap i suppose you can wait a month or two and he will have another one.

    March 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  11. Nick San Diego

    Aw come on. Chaney and his group handpicked Bush to run, because they knew they could control him. So Rove was either out of the loop or just plain lying.

    March 25, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  12. pkb

    What boastful disgusting rhetoric by Rove. This man did not even go to college and yet purports to be elite among the highest educated there is. John King is such a Republican worshipper. That's how he got this job.

    March 25, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  13. fenarkleman

    Bush wasted no time in making decisions that hurt america. What a buffoon.

    March 25, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  14. Mike S.

    Whatever you make think of Rove; nobody ever said he was stupid. I wish the same could be said of Bush.

    March 25, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  15. bzed

    "Rove said Bush called the next day and agreed that choosing Cheney might not benefit the campaign politically. But Rove added Bush said to him, "'I'm not concerned about the politics of it. We've got this election rigged so it doesn't really matter who's on the ticket with me. We need someone to engineer a false flag attack and Dick is the man."

    March 25, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  16. scott

    In a fair and equitable world Rove and Cheey would be hanging from twin trees. No two people have ever done more harm to our country!

    March 25, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  17. jdog

    and one of teh WORST decisions EVER made!!! Along with the decision of Roves' the Bushs' and the Cheneys' parents to EVER have children....

    March 25, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
  18. Michael Martinez

    If only he had chosen someone with some common sense.

    March 25, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
  19. applesauce.@aol.com

    mittens

    March 25, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
  20. Paulie Vegas

    At long last...something Karl Rove and I both agree on!

    March 25, 2010 at 7:08 pm |
  21. Tony

    His first presidential decision was prescient.

    March 25, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
  22. Stevieboy

    Another brilliant idea by "W"!!! ha ha!! That explains it!

    March 25, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  23. larry

    Bush couldnt make the rite choice if he only had one item to chose from.

    March 25, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  24. Ballard Pritchett

    Finally, something I agree with Karl Rove about.
    I grew up in Texas, and I could never conceive of two Texas oilmen running the country. Then, all too soon, not are they running the US, they are running Iraq and Afghanistan, and they are running the Europeans away from us as fast as possible.
    I also agree with 43 on one thing. Let's let history decide if the Mission was Accomplished.

    March 25, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  25. SNAPPA

    Well Bush had his mind made up about a lot of things before he got elected obviously. The reason Cheney made it was becasue of "daddy" Cheney worked with Bush Sr. for years and it would have either been cheney or rumsfeld.

    March 25, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  26. JSH

    And a bad decision at that.

    March 25, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  27. SAM

    And a very bad first decision it was!

    March 25, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  28. Stephen Whiteside

    Surprising if Rove is telling the truth and there is no reason to believe he is since he lied about far more serious national security issues, it proves that Bush just continuing the other thing he knew cronyism. Cheney was a legacy.

    March 25, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  29. henry

    well, at least W thought about who could succeed him in a crisis vs Mcaine and palin.

    March 25, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  30. lindaglenn

    you see Rove even knew Dick Cheney was bad news!!

    March 25, 2010 at 7:32 pm |
  31. TamarS

    Well who in their right mind WOULD want Cheney? It was funny to read that W thought Cheney would be a good president since he actually WAS presdient and W just a puppet.

    March 25, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
  32. JLawrence

    There are those who can't stand Mr. Rove's politics. But after reading his book you'll find that he appears to call 'em as they were and are. Just as shown on this interview. I haven't seen too many folks refute what he says. Others of course, will just sit back, throw the same old brickbats and bromides and learn nothing. Such, by the way, is the state of our nation at this time. It's a shame and "it ain't purty!"

    March 25, 2010 at 7:35 pm |
  33. Steve, Clifton, VA

    So he does have analytic skills

    March 25, 2010 at 7:44 pm |
  34. Steve

    Bush's first really, really bad presidential decision was taking Cheney on as his running mate. Well, maybe his second, the first was getting Rove. Two of the worst in the bucket of apples.

    March 25, 2010 at 7:44 pm |
  35. guest 1001+2

    Who cares? Let him spout off in his book, and let the US get on with trying to repair the damage that these folks inflicted in 8 years. From letting bin laden get away, to invading iraq (good targets there), letting iran & n.korea run amuk, ignoring the financial implications and the eventual melt-down of wall street, stripping US citizens rights, not doing a d#*n thing about health care, and the list goes on and on. To what, feed the egos and paranoia of the neo-cons (i hate that term)?

    March 25, 2010 at 7:48 pm |
  36. PKD

    >> "It really was [Bush's] first presidential decision, long before getting elected."
    *************

    And it was Bush's LAST presidential decision too, long before getting elected.
    After that, Cheney made all the presidential decisions. :)

    March 25, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
  37. JSRagman

    Once again we hear another example of poor decision making on the part of the stupidest President in U.S. history. What a surprise!

    March 25, 2010 at 8:10 pm |
  38. Mike G

    And like all his other "presidential decisions"... he got this one wrong also!

    March 25, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  39. Jackieboy

    I think there is no doubt that Cheney made most of the presidential decisions for eight years. He was the most ,powerful and unbridled vice president in our history. He was dead set on invading Iraq and many other foolish escapades. Bush just happened to be in the Oval Office , signed the orders, and said " uh huh ".

    March 25, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  40. Sara McMan

    Cheney was his first decision? He got off to a terrible start, and it only went downhill from there.

    March 25, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  41. Eric

    "A good partner for me..." Interesting comment.from our first (albeit closeted) gay president.

    March 25, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  42. mango

    ancient history, who cares?

    March 25, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  43. jack jean

    the blind shall lead the blind and the sheep go moo.

    March 25, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
  44. mk

    Right turblossom, we believe you. One thing I must tell you turd....we know what happened when we tragically let Bush take office years ago, he ruined our Country. You and all the others who want to re-write history are only fooling yourselves, not us. Go away, and take Dick and W with you. I am sure there is a special place in hell for you all, or jail.

    March 25, 2010 at 8:38 pm |
  45. pianist

    Who even cares what Karl Rove thinks, says, or does. The guy is a TOTAL loser!

    March 25, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
  46. RobD

    and it was an aweful decision.

    March 25, 2010 at 8:49 pm |
  47. Ethel

    Of all Dubya's many mistakes, picking Cheney was the most tragic.

    March 25, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
  48. 6079smithw

    Read "Angler" by Pulitzer winner Barton Gellman. Vile cubed.

    March 25, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
  49. David

    Ummm. I could have offered my dog as a good replacement for Bush. He makes a mess, but I can easily scoop it up.

    March 25, 2010 at 8:57 pm |
  50. Hotdog

    Who cares?

    March 25, 2010 at 8:57 pm |
  51. Derrick

    Bad choice from the beginning.... Bush chooses a man with a serious heart/health condition to take his place should something happen to him.

    Two months after the 2000 election, Cheney is rushed to the hospital for a mild heart attack.

    The proof is in the pudding. Bad decisions were being made even before Bush was elected president and announced his running mate.

    Was anyone in the country even paying attention at that time?!

    March 25, 2010 at 9:09 pm |
  52. ryan

    wow, rove is actually smarter than I gave him credit for, those are all valid points from an electoral strategy. Just shows you how really unintelligent W is. And I think that had lots to do with him winning two terms. A stupid population can better relate to him, i.e. "a guy I could have a beer with" as opposed to a guy who could really try and lead the country in a good direction. Like GG Allin said you don't get what you want you get what you deserve...

    March 25, 2010 at 9:28 pm |
  53. P.G

    ....."but then when I realized the guy was just as cowardly, duplicitous, and amoral as I was, then I began to want him." -Karl Rove

    March 25, 2010 at 9:34 pm |
  54. Peter

    Only proves that Bush was incompetent from the get go. I wonder if Cheney has something on him?

    March 25, 2010 at 9:41 pm |
  55. JOHN PEREZ

    COULD YOU TELL FROM HIS FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DECISION THAT BUSH WAS ALREADY "LOST" AND WAY OFF COURSE?

    THAT THIS MAN BECAME THE 43RD PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES BRINGS A WHOLE NEW MEANING TO, "IT'S NOT WHAT YOU KNOW, BUT WHO YOU KNOW."

    AND NOW THE POLITICAL PARTY THAT GAVE US "W" AND THE EIGHT YEARS THAT LEAD TO THE RUINS WE FIND OURSELVES IN TODAY HAS THE AUDACITY TO CAST STONES AT THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION. THAT'S RICH!

    March 25, 2010 at 9:57 pm |