A former U.S. senator influential in Republican politics is suggesting President Bush drop Dick Cheney from the GOP ticket this November.
Al D’Amato, a New York Republican, says Bush should consider replacing the vice president with Secretary of State Colin Powell or Arizona Sen. John McCain.
“Let me note that Vice President Cheney is a decent, honorable, and patriotic American, a man of great intellect, who has served the president and the nation with dedication,” D’Amato said in a statement, according to the Associated Press. “But we should make no mistake, we are a nation at war with a vicious terrorist foe, and in war hard decisions must be made.”
“As an observer of politics, I believe the president can guarantee his essential re-election by looking to several other notable individuals who would add a great dimension to his ticket as a running mate,” he added.
Now a consultant and lobbyist, D’Amato first raised the possibility of Bush changing the ticket during an interview with the NY 1 cable news channel in New York City.
“I think we can do better,” D’Amato said on NY 1, acknowledging his comments would “shock Republicans and probably get them angry.”
The president has continually maintained he wants Cheney to be his No. 2, and reaction from his campaign indicated no change.
“I think the fact our campaign is called ‘Bush-Cheney ’04′ says it all,” campaign spokesman Kevin Madden told AP. “Dick Cheney has one of the most substantive vice presidencies in our great nation’s history.”
As WorldNetDaily reported last month, there are whispers among high-level political advisers to Bush suggesting the possibility of replacing Cheney with former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as the vice presidential running mate prior to the Republican National Convention beginning Aug. 30.
Cheney, who has no aspirations to run for president in 2008 and has had well-publicized heart problems, has been involved in the discussions and is open to the idea if it strengthens the ticket and helps position a viable Republican candidate to succeed Bush, sources told WND.
“There is some thinking at the very highest political levels that this move could add some late sizzle to the campaign, steal any thunder generated by the Democrats in Boston and even potentially put the state of New York in play for the president,” said one source close to both Giuliani and the White House.
On Tuesday of this week, WorldNetDaily asked its readers “Should President Bush keep Dick Cheney, or name a new running mate?” in its daily poll.
With close to six thousand responses in the unscientific survey, more than 44 percent said Bush should keep Cheney, as he’s the best man for the job.
Eighteen percent said pick Giuliani, and another 12 percent said keep Cheney, as dumping him shows instability and weakness.
This week, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry announced Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., would be his running mate.
When asked yesterday how Edwards stacks up against Cheney, President Bush immediately responded, “Dick Cheney can be president. Next?”