ad info Allpoliticsallpolitics.comwith TIME




Analysis indicates many Gore votes thrown out in Florida

Clinton's chief of staff calls White House over vandalism reports

Gephardt talks bipartisanship, outlines differences



India tends to quake survivors

Two Oklahoma State players among 10 killed in plane crash

Sharon calls peace talks a campaign ploy by Barak

Police arrest 100 Davos protesters


4:30pm ET, 4/16









Texas cattle quarantined after violation of mad-cow feed ban

CNN Websites
Networks image

Press Bill Press is co-host of CNN's Crossfire. He is providing exclusive analysis to CNN during the election season.

Bill Press: Dick Cheney is the perfect choice -- for Democrats

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- What a difference one appointment can make.

After months of complaining by down-in-the-mouth Democrats - frustrated by Gore’s lackluster campaign and Bush’s seemingly well-oiled machine, the tide and tenor have suddenly improved dramatically.

“Hey, we’re really excited with this Cheney appointment,” a labor leader called to tell me. “For us, this is money in the bank!” And, indeed, for Democrats, it is. Aside from Strom Thurmond of South Carolina or North Carolina's Jesse Helms, Dick Cheney is the best choice George Bush could have made.

Strategically, it’s hard to fathom what prompted Bush to pick Cheney. He already had Texas and Wyoming. No help needed from Cheney. He already had the conservative base locked up. No need to pick someone even more conservative than he is. He already had a wealth of energetic and colorful choices: from Arizona's John McCain to Chuck Hagel of Nebraska to Ohio Rep. John Kasich. No need to go for the dullest of all.

I have yet to hear any Bushie explain what Cheney brings to the ticket, other than the experience and gravitas that Bush himself so clearly lacks. Or is Bush so cocky about winning that he doesn’t think he needs any help?

But if Cheney brings nothing to the Republican ticket, he is a gold mine to the Democratic ticket: giving Gore and Democrats a great opportunity and a delicious target.

For Gore, it’s the opportunity, by contrast, to pick a more dynamic running mate. That won’t be hard. Today’s John Kerry of Massachusetts, Florida's Bob Graham, Evan Bayh of Indiana, House Secretary Andrew Cuomo and Dick Durbin of Illinois are all younger and more exciting than yesterday’s Dick Cheney.

For Democrats, it’s the opportunity to paint both Bush and Cheney as too far right and too far out of the mainstream for most Americans. Indeed, Cheney’s not just a conservative, he’s an extreme, right-wing conservative.

In his 12 years in Congress, Cheney voted against the ERA; against funding for Head Start; against refunding for the Clean Water Act; against creation of the Department of Education; against funding for Superfund; against the Older Americans Act, providing food and support for poor senior citizens; against a resolution asking the South African government to release Nelson Mandela from prison. Cheney makes Newt Gingrich look like a liberal.

And this is the man Bush has selected as his “partner in a vision to renew America’s purpose”? Whatever happened to the compassion in compassionate conservative?

What’s funny now is hearing the howls of protest from the Bush camp over reaction to Cheney’s appointment. First, they accuse reporters of “distorting” Cheney’s record, which is utter nonsense. His votes are all recorded in the Congressional Record. And the Congressional Record does not lie.

Second, they argue it’s not fair holding someone responsible for his actions 15 or 20 years ago. That’s strange. Hasn’t the Bush campaign attacked Al Gore for his misguided votes in Congress, 20 years ago, against federal funding for abortion? And isn’t Ken Starr’s office still conducting a Republican-led investigation into a failed real estate deal in Arkansas -- remember Whitewater -- that happened exactly 15 years ago?

If truth be told, the real reason the Bush campaign doesn’t want anybody raising questions about what happened 20 years ago is because they don’t want George W. Bush to have to answer still-lingering questions about possible cocaine use in his “wild years.”

It is curious, isn’t it? Twenty-five years ago, Dick Cheney was President Ford’s Chief of Staff. What was G. W. doing 25 years ago, and why won’t he tell us?

Bottom line. Dick Cheney’s the best vice-presidential nominee since Dan Quayle. His selection is the first flat tire for the Bush campaign. It’s not exactly like handing Al Gore the keys to the White House, but it does give Gore an excellent opening to pull ahead.

We’ll know soon if the vice-president takes advantage of it.


See how quickly the primary and caucus season will take off with this calendar.

Watch selected policy speeches and campaign commercials from the major presidential candidates.


If you have a Flash-capable browser, take a look at the history of key events during the primary season.

Quick takes on the White House hopefuls.

If you need to know who's up in 1999 or 2000 and what seats are open launch this quick guide.

Who are your elected officials? What is the past presidential vote and number of electoral votes in your state? Find out with these state political and election facts.

Check out the latest numbers or dig back into the poll archives.

Who is running, who isn't running and who has already dropped out? Check out our tally sheet.

How much money have the candidates raised? Here are their quarterly reports to the Federal Election Commission.

Receive news about a candidate by e-mail.

Your e-mail address: Mind-it Button



Thursday, July 27, 2000


Back to the top  © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.