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As Dick Cheney’s memoir hits the bookstore shelves, one target of the former vice president is clear- Sen. John McCain from Arizona. Cheney’s disgust for the former Republican candidate for president is clear in the book.
McCain’s name is first mentioned in the book, “In My Time” when Cheney discusses how McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham from South Carolina tried in 2005 to rein some of the abuses by President Bush’s interrogation programs.
Cheney, who designed the programs, wrote in his book that McCain “lost his temper and stormed out of the meeting” he had set up with CIA Director Porter Goss to brief him on the intelligence gleaned from those interrogations.
“[H]is view of the program was certainly not unanimous among his fellow former POWs,” Cheney wrote. Another passage about McCain comes later in the book. Cheney talks about the 2008 presidential campaign run by McCain.
On September 24, 2008, Republican presidential nominee John McCain announced he was suspending his presidential campaign to come back to Washington to deal with the financial crisis. It was a move that frankly surprised many of us in the White House. After all, there really wasn’t much John could actually do, and it seemed pretty risky to announce the campaign suspension and head back to Washington without being clear about what you could actually deliver.
But we wanted McCain to win, so when he asked the president to convene the congressional leadership in the Cabinet Room of the White House to discuss the financial crisis, the president did it. He called Senator Obama, McCain’s opponent, and asked him to be there as well. What unfolded that day in the West Wing was likely unique in the annals of American presidential contests.
When the president turned to Senator McCain to speak, he passed. Since he had called for the meeting in the first place, that was a surprise. After a few other people expressed their opinions, most of them negative, the president came back to McCain. This time he spoke, but only for himself.
It was a marked contrast with Obama, whose words carried the authority of all the Democrats in the room. Senator McCain added nothing of substance. It was entirely unclear why he’d returned to Washington and why he’d wanted the congressional leadership called together. I left the Cabinet Room when the meeting was over thinking the Republican presidential ticket was in trouble.
Despite Cheney’s obvious attempt to point fingers and generate book sales, McCain is not taking the bait. In a statement to the National Review Online, McCain took the high road. “I respect and appreciate Vice President Cheney’s leadership and dedicated service to our country,” McCain said.
“From time to time, we have had differences, as is typical for anyone in public life. I wish the Vice President well and that he remains in good health.”
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