WASHINGTON – Vice President Dick Cheney rejected Pope John Paul II's request that President Bush spare Timothy McVeigh's life, saying Sunday that the Oklahoma City bomber should be put to death.
``I think if there was ever a man who deserves to be executed it's probably Timothy McVeigh,'' Cheney said on ``Fox News Sunday.''
McVeigh, 33, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection May 16 in Terre Haute, Ind., for the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The blast killed 168 people, including 19 children.
Bush received a letter last week from John Paul in which the pope made his clemency request. Legal scholars said it appeared the president had no way to intervene in the execution even if he were inclined to. Bush supports capital punishment.
A White House spokeswoman said Friday that Bush had no intention of trying to grant clemency.
``The president has great respect for the pope and this is a tragic situation. The president also has deep compassion and sympathy for the 168 victims of the Oklahoma City bombing and their families,'' spokeswoman Claire Buchan said.
Cheney went further on Sunday: ``I think that'd be a mistake,'' when asked about the administration's view on the pope's request.
``Here's a man who blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City, killed over 160 innocent people, including 19 children, has admitted as much that he did in fact do it and has set aside the appeals process,'' Cheney said.
McVeigh allowed a Feb. 16 deadline to pass without filing a request for clemency.