Dispatches > The Buzz

Flashtraffic: Friends at the top

How close are Vice President Dick Cheney and Mr. Rumsfeld?

Issue: "Memorial Day 2003," May 24, 2003

How close are Vice President Dick Cheney and Mr. Rumsfeld? Mr. Cheney gave an award to his mentor "Rummy" at a Hudson Institute luncheon in Washington last week, and described how the two started working together. The V.P. first applied to work for then-Congressman Rumsfeld in 1969. "The interview lasted about 15 minutes and I found myself back out in the hallway, and it was clear that we hadn't hit it off," Mr. Cheney told the crowd to laughter. "He thought I was some kind of airhead academic, and I thought he was rather an arrogant young member of Congress. Probably we were both right." Cheney instead got a job with then-Rep. Bill Steiger, the late Wisconsin Republican.

A few months later, President Nixon nominated Mr. Rumsfeld to be director of the Office of Economic Opportunity. Mr. Cheney sent him an unsolicited 12-page memo on how to reorganize the office once confirmed. A few weeks later, Mr. Cheney received a call to come to Rumsfeld's office. "His secretary came in and said, 'Is there somebody here named Mr. Cheney?' I held up my hand, and she said, 'Come with me.' She took me back into his office .... [Rumsfeld] was in there all by himself, second day on the job. And he said, 'You, you're Congressional Relations. Now get out of here.'... And that's how I was hired, literally."

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Joel C. Rosenberg
Joel C. Rosenberg

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