Wednesday, July 26, 2000

Tristate GOP says Cheney wise choice

By Howard Wilkinson and Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Many Republicans were slapping themselves on the forehead Tuesday and wondering why they didn't think of it when they heard former defense secretary Dick Cheney would be George W. Bush's running mate.

        “It makes perfect sense when you think about it,” Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett said. “But until a few days ago, it never occurred to me it would happen.”

        That is because for the past several months, Mr. Cheney has been heading the Republican presidential candidate's search for a running mate, collecting background data and conducting interviews on a long list of potential vice presidential candidates.

        But since Friday, Republicans in the Tristate say they started to see the wisdom in Mr. Bush's choice.

        “I don't think (Bush) could have done better,” said U.S. Rep. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who has known Mr. Cheney since they both worked in the administration of President Bush.

        “He did what he said he would do — he picked the person best qualified to be president,” said Mr. Portman, of Terrace Park.

        National polls have shown that one concern voters have about Mr. Bush is that he lacks experience with foreign policy and national security issues. Mr. Cheney was defense secretary in the Bush administration during the Persian Gulf War.

Filling in gaps
        George W. Bush has little experience dealing with Congress, but Mr. Cheney has plenty — from serving as White House chief of staff for President Ford and 12 years as a congressman from Wyoming.

        “He's the consummate Washington insider, and I mean that in a good way,” said Bob Elliston, the Turfway Park president who has been active in Northern Kentucky Republican politics.

        As a Wyoming congressman, Mr. Cheney compiled a very conservative voting record on issues like abortion, taxes and spending.

        The consensus among Republicans is that the choice of Mr. Cheney is more about governing than getting elected.

        “Clearly, Bush didn't do this to pick up a key state or give him the votes of a key group,” Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell said.

A solid choice
        Prior to Mr. Cheney's name surfacing as a contender, the conventional wisdom in the party was that Mr. Bush would pick a running mate whose presence on the ticket would help win a battleground state — someone like Gov. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania or Gov. George Pataki of New York.

        The Cheney selection, Mr. Blackwell said, is unlikely to excite the electorate, “but it gives him someone solid who most people believe is perfectly capable of being president.”

        Kenton County Commissioner Adam Koenig, a Villa Hills Republican, expressed some mild concern that Mr. Cheney would not provide much excitement for the GOP ticket.

        He said, “He's obviously as smart as you can get ... but I'm sure that (Mr. Bush) has polling data that shows he has a good chance of winning so he doesn't need somebody like (Gov.) Tom Ridge to carry Pennsylvania.”

        Ohio Gov. Bob Taft, the Bush campaign chairman in the state, praised the selection of Mr. Cheney.

        “I think it demonstrates that Mr. Bush is looking to govern effectively as much as winning the election,” he said. “(Mr. Cheney) will be a very seasoned partner with a lot of experience.”

        The governor brushed aside suggestions from some Democrats that Mr. Bush needs Mr. Cheney to cover up his weaknesses in defense issues and on foreign policy.

        “I think that Gov. Bush has demonstrated his executive ability in Texas where he has dealt very successfully with domestic issues,” Mr. Taft said.

        Spencer Hunt contributed.


Campbell teachers told to dress up
Driver, 16, won't be tried as adult
Americana to reopen next April
Alleged lover not off hook
Mother, daughter found dead
Tactics in trials criticized
Americans with Disabilities Act law 10 years old
Bad weather leaves trees sick, dying
It's not peace on Earth, but downtown will do
KIESEWETTER: Bette Midler fits right in on her new sitcom
Allen Temple Church sold
Businesses could pay for fixes
Cheney's P&G post uncertain
County, city appeal gun law
Drought relaxes
Educators, lawmakers still split on funding
EMT chief guilty of drunken driving
Group visits an old friend
House OKs Freedom Center funds
Incumbents shy away from issues survey
Kenton County lacks cash to build new jail
Ky. county votes to keep alcohol ban
Landfill could be out of use soon
Mine proposal still a concern
N.Ky. feeling growing pains
Police funeral planned for Holcomb
Probation granted in theft from township
Roebling project under way
Sewer rate increases opposed
- Tristate GOP says Cheney wise choice
Voters say no to booze in Grant Co.
Warsaw man charged with 23 sex felonies
Get to it
Pig Parade: Phantom of the Slopera
Tristate A.M. Report