by Joseph P. Tartaro
Texas Gov. George W. Bush may have solidified support from gunowners and conservatives when he asked Dick Cheney to be his vice presidential Republican running mate in a pre-dawn telephone call on July 25.
The former secretary of defense during the Gulf War accepted, forging what some Republicans called a presidential partnership that bridges two generations of Bush family politics. But the Cheney selection set off immediate attacks by some Democrats and ridicule by liberal late night talk show hosts and their comedy writers.
Many in the media also focused immediately on what they see as key issues by highlighting Cheneys conservative voting record during his 12 years in Congress. More serious observers, however, commented that Cheney was a very solid choicea man who spoke softly and built bridges across the political aisles.
Bushs search for a running mate ended where it began, with Cheneythe man who headed the Texans selection team. Bush and Cheney with their wives formalized the announcement for the public and the press at a University of Texas rally the afternoon of July 25. The next day, the two couples traveled to Cheneys home state of Wyoming.
Word leaked on July 21 that Cheney was the leading candidate, giving the media pundits a weekend to comment on the choice before it was confirmed. Both men must still be confirmed by the delegates to the Republican Convention in Philadelphia.
Cheney, 59, brings to the GOP ticket a wealth of foreign policy experience and political staturetraits that many claim Bush, 54, a two-term Texas governor, lacks himself.
Fashioning an impressive resume in two decades of public service, Cheney served as President Fords chief of staffthe youngest man then to ever hold that post. Then he served six terms in Congress from Wyoming including serving as House Republican whip, 1988-89, and four years as the Pentagon chief, where he successfully executed the Persian Gulf War. Most recently he has been chairman and CEO of Dallas-based Halliburton Corp., one of the worlds leading engineering and construction companies in the oil industry.
Associated Press claimed that Cheney opposed gun control measures while in Congress and opposed bans on the importation of so-called plastic guns and armor piercing bullets. Actually, Cheney was one of only 21 House members to vote against the final KTW ban bill back in the 1980s.
Neal Knox recalls Cheney as a very solid supporter of the civil rights of law-abiding Americans to own and possess firearms.
Knox said that during one informal discussion with Cheney in Washington years ago, the then congressman impressed him by the depth of his understanding of the issues surrounding guns and ammunition.
He wasnt just reciting the usual pro-gun responses, Knox told Gun Week. He seemed to be very well read on the issue and to have studied the history and arguments on both sides.
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