Vice President Dick Cheney likely will step down next year due to health reasons and be replaced by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, according to a report by geopolitical expert Jack Wheeler.

On his website, To the Point, Wheeler reports there’s a “red-breasted rumor bird” flying around Capitol Hill that has whispered the same thing to most congressional committee chairmen.

“We all know that Dick Cheney has been the best vice president of modern times, perhaps in American history,” one such chairman told Wheeler. “And we know that he absolutely will not run for president in 2008. Further, he has an unfortunate history of heart trouble. So let’s just say none of us will be surprised if, sometime next year, he will step down from the vice presidency due to his health.”

Continued the source: “Should this happen, President Bush would need to appoint his replacement, just as Richard Nixon chose Gerald Ford to replace Spiro Agnew. It is quite clear to us whom the president would choose should he need to: Condoleezza Rice.”

Wheeler goes on to analyze what such a scenario would mean for the 2008 presidential election.

Writes Wheeler: “Being a sitting vice president places Condi in an impregnable position for the GOP nomination in 2008 and sucks every breath of wind from Hillary’s sails. Historically, it’s hard for a party to keep the White House after they’ve had it for eight years. This is George Bush and Dick Cheney’s way to buck history – and make it.”

Serving as Bush’s national security adviser during his first term, Rice took over the State Department last month.

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