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Cheney: A VP With Unprecedented Power
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of NPR All Things Considered

NPR All Things Considered, January 15, 2009
Posted: January 24th, 2009

President Bush's vice president, Dick Cheney, is like no other in American history. Before Cheney, discussion about the vice presidency focused on how to make the office stronger, more effective. Not any more. "Vice President Cheney has been the most powerful vice president that we've ever had," said Joel Goldstein, author of The Modern American Vice Presidency. In the first term, Cheney reshaped national security law, expanded the prerogatives of the executive branch and orchestrated secret, warrantless domestic surveillance, circumventing a court set up by Congress specifically to oversee such surveillance. He ... played a major role in persuading President Bush to go to war against Iraq. On the domestic front, he screened potential Supreme Court nominees, presided over the budget, led the selection of personnel from Cabinet officers to key lower-level positions. Cheney assumed the role of chief operating officer for a president who disdained details. Bush was the decider, but Cheney, by limiting options and sometimes suppressing information, often framed the decision. Washington Post reporter Bart Gellman, author of Angler, an extraordinary book on the Cheney vice presidency, reports that Cheney was a ... skilled bureaucratic infighter [who] drove policy on the issues he cared about. Nothing better defines Cheney's influence than his domination of policy on the war on terror, setting up Guantanamo, getting waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques authorized, and circumventing established laws on domestic surveillance.

Note: Dick Cheney used secrecy as his principal means to control government policy -- secrecy not just from the public but even from much of the Bush/Cheney administration. For lots more on government secrecy from reliable sources, click here.

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