tv Dick Cheney Marble Bust Unveiling Ceremony CSPAN December 25, 2015 7:01pm-8:01pm EST
vice president dick cheney, who we think you for his service to you, and country. remembering the many years he labored in the political arena, we are grateful for your gifts of people who are passionate about keeping this nation strong. continue to bless and keep vice president cheney and his loved ones as we receive inspiration from his contributions, remind us that with your power, we are strong enough to overcome the difficulties that trouble our nation and world.
lord, strengthen our commitment to you and country by turning our thoughts toward hope, our hearts toward justice, and our hands toward works of peace. we pray in your sovereign name, amen. >> please be seated. ladies and gentlemen, the chairman of the senate committee on rules and administration, roy blunt. hon. blunt: it is great to be part of this presentation, inviting vice president cheney
to the capital as part of the collection of the senate started in 1885. 130 years ago, the senate decided it would be appropriate to recognize the vice president, principally to recognize the vice president in his job as president of the senate and certainly to get to recognize a person who spent a lot of time in both the house and senate as vice president and before the 46th vice president of the united states, dick cheney. the story of the five presidents and their impact on the country is an important part of our history and as we celebrate this event today, we get a chance to welcome both current and former members of the house and senate, some of whom you'll hear from. former members of the cabinet, justice scalia, and president bush before we are done, we are joined by vice president biden. we are particularly pleased to
be here with his family, such an important part of his life, and his great partner, mrs. cheney. lynne cheney is a partner in this project like she has been a partner in so many other things. the vice president has done -- she has a deep appreciation for the history of the country. she has written great children's history and adult history. she and the vice president wrote a wonderful book on speakers of the house when he was serving in the house and we were lucky to have her come and visit with senators about her groundbreaking book on james madison. when dick cheney was a member of the house, he told me that he and others founded the dennis thatcher society because mrs. cheney was the chairman of the national endowment for humanities and in the tradition of dennis thatcher, they thought
they would band together to see what it was i to have a spouse of the more powerful job than they had but they have been great partners and so, when mrs. cheney said that she thought the william behrens had truly captured the character of the vice president when she and the vice president got to see the bust for the first time, that was probably the most important indication that everything was going to work out all right. we are also pleased to have william behrens and his wife and members of their family here with us today. this will be the second bust that he has done that will be part of the vice presidential collection. he is now working on the third, vice president gore's bust that he is doing as we are talking today -- he is planning that. so, vice president cheney, welcome back to the capital. will rogers said the man with the easiest job in the country
was the vice president because all he had to do was get up every day and say, how is the president doing? [laughter] recent presidents and vice presidents have changed this job a lot. every vice president starting with john adams has done a lot to make their own impact on the country and uniquely had the opportunity to make an impact on the congress. dick cheney brought the vice presidency the preparation of a lifetime of service. he has a no-nonsense approach and a willingness to solve problems. he was his first job in washington, to be a fellowship at the capital. six years later he is the chief
of staff for the president of the united states. one of the quicker moves from and turned to chief that ever happened. his 10 years in the house, he was chairman of the republican conference, the republican whip. i was the majority whip and never lost a job -- never lost a vote as when i was majority whip. i also was the minority whip and i lost some votes there. dick cheney is the only minority whip never lost a vote. george h.w. bush asked him to be secretary of defense before he could ever whip about it. [laughter] he holds lots of distinction in the history of the country. it is an honor to be part of this presentation today and it will be a great honor to see him recognized and remembered in the capital with this bust. [applause]
>> ladies and gentlemen, the majority leader of the senate, the honorable mitch mcconnell. hon. mcconnell: richard cheney. he has had one of the most interesting careers in one of the most fascinating lives of anybody you would ever want to meet. as roy indicated, chief of staff, secretary of defense, member of congress from wyoming, house minority whip, vice president to president george w. bush, and master fisherman. many have spent their lives in pursuit of just one of these offices and many have failed in the pursuit.
that this son succeeded says quite a lot about him. when dick cheney sets his mind to something, he is absolutely determined to achieve it. it is a trait he is well known for. here is another one. dick cheney loves his family. i want to say how much i enjoyed the biography of james madison. one thing we agree on is we think he is our favorite he president who went to princeton. he loves his daughters, obviously, too. the truth is for all the vice president's well-deserved reputation as a man of action. we know -- we know lynn is the
force in the family. scholar, public servant, a strong woman who is never afraid to share her opinion on an issue. dick cheney might be tough but lynn is tougher. i think the vice president is fine with that. here is what is interesting to me. dick cheney wasn't just the vice president of the united states, he was president of the senate. that is why we dedicate a bust to him in every vice president. many view that role as ceremonial. not the one we are honoring today. when he was vice president, he was up at our policy lunch. he was an active member of the senate. he sat there like a sponge and soaked up all the information and we could rarely get him to say anything. it wasn't that we didn't think
he had strong opinions but he knew he was there for president bush to figure out what we are up to. one instance i remember quite well relates to the vice president's on the opportunity to vote, to break a tie. here is the setting. we had a rather modest deficit reduction package which we could do through what we call, reconciliation. we could do it with 51 votes. i was the whip. i counted and i recounted and i recounted -- remember, we had 55 republicans at the time. i could only get to 50. dick was in pakistan. i had to call him 8.5 times on
the way. god knows how long to fly back. i said we need you to come back. i sweated as he flew all the way back hoping that we would have a tie. and we did and it broke the tie. that was my most memorable moment as the vote counter in the senate. eventually he made his way back as i said, through all of those time zones and mercifully, i was right in my count. we have had with us a president and a vice president who have taken different paths in their post-presidency. and post-vice presidency. one continues to engage passionately in the debates of today. he writes, he speaks, he lets his opinion be known in no uncertain terms.
the other views his role in a different way. he has an important work but has stayed in the background purity has done humanitarian work. he does something else, too. he paints. who can say which role is the correct one? when you leave both of these important offices, it is a matter of personal opinion. i know we are all looking forward to seeing more of president bush's masterpieces. thank you for gathering today here thank you, president bush, vice president cheney, for all of the remarkable service to what our country over many, many years. thank you so much. [applause]
>> ladies and gentlemen, the speaker at the house, the honorable paul ryan. hon. ryan: thank you very much. i want to welcome all of you to the capitol visitor's center. the way i see it, nobody could accuse dick cheney of living an inconsequential life. he was working in the white house on 9/11. he oversaw operation desert storm. he worked at the side of gerald ford as that man restore the presidency. he dedicated his life to public service. this is a man who witnessed the very first drawing of the laffer curve. given my position, i am especially interested in his career as a congressman.
he was elected in 1978. he served in the house for 10 years. he literally wrote the book on this place with his wife. he vigorously supported ronald reagan in those times. over that time, he rose in the ranks. the list of people he knew and people he befriended is like a who's who of the conservative movement. he succeeded jack kemp. newt gingrich seceded him as the house republican whip. he moved among giants in american politics. he is one himself. he left the house to become our defense secretary. he went on to serve as the president of the upper chamber which we and has prefer to call, that other chamber. then he was never heard from
again. i think one thing people forget about vice president cheney is that he is a funny guy. i study the debates because i had my on presidential debate and if you remember, the 2000 vice presidential debate, he is up against joe lieberman peerage joe lieberman is talking over the boom times under president clinton and he says, i am pleased to see dick that you are better off than you were eight years ago. i can tell you that the government had absolutely nothing to do with it. joe lieberman continues, i can see my wife and i think she is thinking, gee, i wish we could go into the private sector without missing a beat -- dick cheney says, i'm going to try to help you do that, joe. this runs in the family. years later, when the vice president had his critics, he asked his wife, does it bug you
when people refer to me as darth vader? and she said, no, it humanizes you. [laughter] [applause] and that is what i am always going to remember about the cheney family. that calm determination, the fierce love of country. through all of the years, through war and peace, he did all he could to keep this country safe. and we all over him a tremendous debt of gratitude. thank you, vice president cheney. [applause]
>> ladies and gentlemen, the 43rd president of the united states, george w. bush. [applause] george w. bush: thank you for the warm welcome. lynn and family, i am delighted to be here. i must confess, i am somewhat reluctant to come back to washington. the last time i showed appear, i was hanged in the white house. this time, i return only to find my vice president getting busted in the capital. i really appreciate you being here, thank you for coming. i want to thank paul ryan for his leadership. he is trying out for the abraham lincoln look-alike contest.
mitch, when dick cheney was the leader, mitch was the minority leader appeared as majority leader, mitch is in charge now. as a matter of fact, he assured me that dick cheney's bust would be prominently displayed in an undisclosed location. thank you roy blunt and for organizing this event. william behrens is the sculptor . i can't wait to see what it looks like peter meissner had a time somebody did with me and i looked like alfred a newman. over the years, i have a chance to meet a number of his predecessors. i have known one my whole life. lastly, i told mom and dad i was coming here for the bust
unveiling. dad perked up and said, send my best regards to old ironass. [laughter] [applause] dick, that is indeed a badge of honor or the 43rd vice president, and the 41st president asked me to give you his heartfelt congratulations. he and mom join us in thanking you for your selfless service. dick is a man of the west and i find it interesting he was the son of a soil conservation service employee, that he laid powerlines for a living before he got his degree from the university of wyoming after he got kicked out of yale. he first came to this town in
the late 1960's as a phd student working on his dissertation. which probably explains the special affection he has always attracted from the world of academia. as others have mentioned, his experience mattered. when i asked him to the head of the vice presidential search committee, as he likes to tell people, if you ever get asked to chair such a committee, do it. the truth is, i knew that dick cheney had the character and judgment that i needed as a running mate. he had the experience to step in as commander-in-chief if i were to get hit by a bus or choke on a pretzel. and fortunately, he agreed to serve. for eight years, i benefited from his wise counsel.
he was a principal and trusted advisor on the most difficult questions. he is an effective advocate on capitol hill. he did an exceptional job discharging his two days as the president of the senate. every time he cast a vote, we won. [laughter] [applause] although he did not spend much time speaking on the floor, he managed to convey a lot in a few words. just ask senator leahy. people ask, do i miss washington? the answer is, not really weird -- not really. i loved our time here but i'm happy to be home. i miss some things i miss
saluting those who wear the uniform and i miss my friends. and dick cheney is one of those friends. i always look forward to our weekly lunches. i could always count on him to take on any tough assignment and i could always trust that the advice he offered was given with our country's best interest at heart. he became acting president for two hours and five minutes in july, 2007. while i was undergoing an undisclosed medical exam. he wrote the only document ever signed by an acting president, a letter to his grandchildren. in classic dick cheney fashion, he offered them could vice, to always strive to do what is right. for eight years, dick cheney stood by my side and always did what was right for our nation. i cannot of asked for a better vice president.
who left hisman country and really loves his family. callednd i are proud to take and his family friends and i am glad his likeness will be an everlasting presence in these halls of democracy. thank you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the vice president of the united states, joe biden. biden: ladies and gentlemen, thank you. as i look around this room and up in the platform i want to say thank you for letting me crash or family reunion. [applause] [laughter] i said to dig as i walked by i am afraid i have blown his cover.
i actually like dick cheney. [laughter] i'm on the other family. i'm nothing but inordinate respect for you, and i mean that sincerely. we started about the same time. you a little bit earlier, and the late 1960's. i got elected in 1972, president nixon was president. when gerald ford took on that awesome responsibility at a difficult time he turned to somebody to be a strong, guiding hand. he picked the right guy. mr. speaker, you said that no one would challenge the statement you then went on to make. i would say that anyone who is thinking about challenging dick cheney should think twice before they set about doing it.
when we changed houses, there was a change going on. he showed me the bottom of the white house with manacles on the wall and there were skeletons, and dick in the cartoon looked at me and said you may want to renovate a little bit. [laughter] there was no such thing in the white house. the only thing we ever received [laughter] from the cheney's was their good wishes. and the way tried to help us out. i say to your daughters, and all your family, the thing that my family has cared deeply. i hope we communicated that about his health and i'm glad to see him in such a great health. i want to thank your whole family for the kindness you have shown when i lost my son.
and the generosity you showed contributing to a memorial. it means a lot. it's a part of washington people don't see enough of. we have seldom had direct conflict, but we have gone at each other's ideas. i can say, without fear of contradiction, there was never one single time a harsh word. not one single time in our entire relationship. not only to one another, but about one another. that is what i think is most desperately missing today in washington, d.c. you questioned their judgment, but not the motive.
i learned that lesson a long time ago from who was then the leader of the senate mike mansfield. i came in and our friend orrin hatch, there was a guy from south carolina who got elected -- jesse helms. i kept in touch with his wife. i will remember walking on the floor when i would show up. i did not particularly want to be in the senate at that time. i wound up once a week at the office of the majority leader. he would give me, every tuesday, assignments. i had just turned 30. i thought that is what happened. leaders give assignments for real. i realized after the fact he was just taking my pulse.
what i had been through, i said i would only stay six months. a lot of people wish i had kept that commitment. one day i walked in and the men later became my friend jesse helms -- i had to go to my meeting with the leader. i guess i looked upset. what's the matter, i went on to really go after jesse. why would he not help, i went on and on. i never forget what he said to me. he said joe, what would you say if i told you that in 1969 sitting in the living room in raleigh before christmas there was an advertisement in the observer.
a young man said all he wanted for christmas with someone to love him and adopt him. what would you say if i told you they went down and adopted that young man, which they did. i said i would feel like a fool. said joe, it is always appropriate to question of the man's judgment, but not their motive because you don't know the motive. when you question motive it is virtually impossible to reach consensus. dick and i could argue like hell about everything from domestic to foreign policy, but if we went at each other in personal ways there would be no possibility to reach a resolution. quite frankly, mr. president, that is why i enjoyed working with you. i came more than any other democrat, i spend time with you.
we disagree, but it really never was disagreeable. i might add that if my dad were here he would look at you and say kid, you got the good blood. your father -- why the bushes chose the cheney's. i had a phone call saying we would like to meet with you. he said he wanted to come to my hotel. i thought that was inappropriate, it is the president of the united states i should visit him. but your dad insisted, he came in on a wheelchair. his agenda was welcoming me to houston. he thought it was appropriate. so dick, your career, as i look back on it because it was the
same timeframe, i don't think that there are many vice presidents -- or presidents -- who have been in the eye of the storm on so many critical events. from the transition of a presidency in the wake of an impeachment, to several wars, to the genesis that threatens the social fabric of the world. the thing about you that i have admired most is that you are absolutely steady. absolutely steady and thoughtful. we disagree a lot. but i really mean it.
it is amazing. there is one other thing that i would like to mention. at i was riding up i was thinking you know, the truth of the matter is that they should unveil a family bust. because with your incredibly talented daughters, he did not do this on his own. he really didn't. that sounds like hyperbole. but it isn't. the truth is, you have the same intellect and backbone that he has, so do your daughters. i want to thank them personally for the phone calls. this is a family affair. this doesn't just happen.
one man cannot take on as many critical roles at critical moments without the overwhelming support of their family. it is not easy. so, from now on i will propose that it be a family bust. because i know, speaking for myself, i've no doubt -- i cannot speak for dick and never presume to -- but this recognition today goes to you as much as it does to him. i mean that sincerely. you know, i consider it a privilege to know you. to have known you, watched you work, i just wished i could've changed your mind on a half a dozen things. [laughter] all kidding aside, you have been a great asset to this country.
the way you will personally conducted yourself as a model for anyone in high public office in this country. thank you all very much. [applause] >> mr. cheney and the cheney grandchildren are here to unveil this. vice president and is something almost nobody gets to do. if you would join your family, we will see what this looks like.
i'm especially proud to note one friend in particular, mr. president thank you very much for being here for all the years we shared together. we are happy that all of you could join us on this particular occasion. being cast in marble is something that every vice president looks forward to. not only a high honor, it is our one shot at being remembered. [laughter] you see, joe, there is much to look forward to. [laughter] in the case of vice president biden, he will be remembered for 44 years of faithful service in the senate, and the white house, and we appreciate you being with us this morning. [applause] i also want to note the presence of my good friend, and one of the great justices of the
supreme court, also a hunting buddy, and next year, scalia will mark his 30th year of the supreme court. [applause] i'm pleased as well to have the highest ranking member of congress here, my friend paul ryan. he has lately become a reminder to me that we don't always get exactly what we want in the world politics. somehow, i once aspired to be speaker of the house and wound up as vice president. you ran for president and wound up as speaker. you got the job for the actual power and authority and i got a very nice marble bust. [laughter] anyway, i can tell you, mr.
speaker, the position you are now in suits you very well. i'm glad you are here and i think the country is much better off that we have now been able to persuade you to take on this assignment. i want to thank our senate to persuade you to take on this majority leader mitch mcconnell, any chairman of the rnc for their presence. i've known mitch many years, we did a great deal of work together. it was always a pleasure to deal with the issues. i want to thank many of the cheney staff and alumni in the room were colleagues on the hill, or the pentagon, and the white house. men like scooter libby, mary matalin, don edmonds, people i was pleased to share many years with. i especially want to mention and thank the members who served on my secret service detail. some of them are here, like
jimmy scott who pulled me out of the office on 9/11 and brought me to a secure location. they took great care of us during those years. they looked out for me and my family and will always have our gratitude and our respect. close observers of protocol will note this morning that the cheney bust arrived a little ahead of turn to as the honors at not yet been done to the 45th vice president, my predecessor al gore. apparently, there have been some delays on his likeness. and it may be that i am somehow easier to carve into stone. [laughter] the senate rules committee was kind enough to schedule this event anyway and i appreciate their kindness. the rules committee staff, i thank it's all the architect of the capital and everyone on the senate curator's office for arranging my place in our diverse pantheon of the vice presidents.
a special thanks to barbara who retired recently as the curator of the capital. as the sculptor's work, i guess i'm not the most objective judge, i would not be the first politician to went into the sculpting process thinking that no peace from the quarry could ever do justice to that face. but you can decide for yourself, personally i think it is excellent. i think he is on a superb job as a true master. thank you very much. [applause] as a young man unlike john adams theater was about. i would've been amazed. any such an area would've seemed like a real stretch for the man in my early 20's. the short version a few breaks came my way.
one job always led to another. it is taken me to far more places than i ever expected. it took me to this capital for the first time in 1968 with the hopes of working for donald rumsfeld. during that first interview he made it clear to me that i was not what he was looking for and threw me out. months later he saw the error of his ways. he recruited me to be his assistant during that first term of the nixon administration when gerald ford became president. he accepted me and made me white house chief of staff. donald rumsfeld and gerald ford fundamentally changed my life. decades later, i returned to the
capital as a member of the house of representatives. i want to thank the wyoming delegation for being here today. i had the fortune of when i arrived to begin a lifelong friendship with bob michaels was with us today. bob, from illinois, was the republican leader. he taught me everything i needed to know to speak to the people of wyoming. i'm glad you're here. i fully intend to spend my career in the congress, but bloodless be grateful to president george h.w. bush for asking me to join his administration as secretary of defense. it was a special privilege to serve the men and women of the 90's dates military and to work with the president through operation desert storm. the collapse of the soviet union, and the end of the cold war. if you had to design an individual to serve as
commander-in-chief during those times, it would've been a lot like a george h.w. bush and i was proud and honored to serve. i don't recall exactly when i was first introduced to his eldest son, but i must admit a half decent impression. when the time came, governor bush needed a running mate and got the notion that i could help him find one. that search committee was a diligent enterprise and before long we found our man. [laughter] in political history, the names of the running mates are always bound up together, all the more thing and up winning. the bush cheney ticket managed to win twice and not without a little suspense. all through those 2900 days we served together, handling serious matters in serious ways. i worked for someone who i respected and liked without reservation. he is a man of great strength, and great gentleness. he had integrity, a sense of humor, and in other lack of pretense.
all of these are what we share and will remember. i have been granted a few distinctions along the way in politics, and there is not a prize more than two have my name there in the story of those years aside the name of our president, george w. bush. [applause] you will understand, i think, if today i think of another richard cheney, my dad. anyone who knew him can tell you that the name was plenty good by the time he was given to me. i know my sister, sue, and brother bob would take the same. only more in the season of life i remember and appreciate both my dad and my mom, marjorie. what a good, kind, upright people they were and how enormously lucky i am to be their son. how could i conclude an occasion like this without mentioning my
historian wife? she is not a woman easily impressed, but i thought surely this final honor would do it. a bust of me in marble here in the capital building. however, i'm reminded at this moment that if the cheney family had not moved to casper, wyoming in the early 50's we never would have met. and she would married someone else. today, we would be dedicating his marble bust. [applause] that is not to say that i'm glad that fate worked as a did placing me in proximity to her, keeping a close by those 50 years and more. it has been a gracious walk through the years and such a joy
for our daughters liz, and mary, and their families. now with the seven grandchildren i've lived in no and cherish. i want to thank this morning my medical team, some of whom are here today. they saved my life on a number of occasions and made all of this possible. over the years, they not only kept me alive but made it possible for me to lead a full and active life. i am very thankful for what they have done for me over the years. it is a tremendous honor to think this will reside here in the u.s. capitol. every now and then, even in the distant future, someone will surely wonder by the old cheney bust.
maybe even stop for a moment or two, trying to recollect something of the man here. whatever else that name might evoke, i want them to know this much at least -- here was a believer in america, so fortunate in his life experiences, so blessed and his friends, and so grateful to have served as vice president of the united state of america. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please stand as dr. barry black gives the benediction. >> let us pray. the eternal god who rules the raging of the seas. thank you for the gift of vice
president richard cheney, and for his many contributions to this great nation. continue to bless and keep us. sustain us as we seek to take a stand on the side of love, peace, and justice. lord, use us to cause, justice to roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. continue to keep us without stumbling, or slipping. present us before the presence of your glory one day with exceeding great joy. you are the only wise god, and to your name we ascribe glory, majesty, and might.
presents congress year in review. a look back at all the newsmaking issues, debates and hearings that took center stage on capitol hill this year. us thursday, december 31 at 8 p.m. eastern as we revisit mitch mcconnell taking his position as senate majority up, c-span leader, pope francis' historic address to congress, the resignation of speaker john boehner and the election of paul ryan. the debate over the nuclear deal with iran and reaction from congress on mass shootings, gun control, terrorism and the rise of isis. congress year in review on c-span thursday, december 31 at 8 p.m. eastern . weekend, book tv brings you two days of nonfiction books and authors. saturday evening, a panel discussion on william buckley junior's run new york city
mayorfor. aboutwinston groom talks his latest book. >> one of the first questions i'm usually asked when i do a tv or radio show is why did i choose these three men from the second world war. , ianswer is they embodied super characteristics andourage, character patriotism. >> sunday night, an author looks back at a turning point in 1932. the rise of hitler and fdr. at 11:15 p.m., an author discusses her book. >> there is a reason why i chose it as the subject as my book. it is because the organization
sums up the story about how we got here. >> this holiday weekend, watchable tv on c-span2 -- watch book tv on c-span2. >> tonight, former president bill clinton excess the dole leadership prize. then, interviews with colin the press secretary from this year's washington ideas for him. and then i look at the white house christmas decorations and the annual christmas tree lighting ceremony. the bob dole institute of politics awarded this year's dole leadership prize the former president bill clinton. in his speech, president clinton talked about bipartisanship, equality and international affairs. this is one hour. >>