Published March 19, 2006
WASHINGTON – Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday dismissed suggestions that the Bush White House, hampered by a weak response to Hurricane Katrina and stumbles on policy questions, needs a shakeup.
"I don't think we can pay any attention to that kind of thing," Cheney said on CBS "Face the Nation." "The president has got a job to do. ... He ignores the background noise that's out there in the polls that are taken on a daily basis."
Bush's job approval in March was at 37 percent, which tied for his lowest rating in the AP-Ipsos poll. Senior Republicans and others have said the Bush team may need an infusion of fresh blood and ideas.
Cheney, in a rare Sunday morning television interview, told CBS that he heard similar grumbling 30 years ago when he was chief of staff for President Ford.
"Administrations go through peaks and valleys," he said. "When you're down in the polls you're going to take shots that you don't deserve, and when you're up in the polls you're probably going to get praise you don't deserve."
Asked if he and Bush had a "good cop, bad cop" partnership in which Cheney took the heat for controversial policies, the vice president said: "It may look that way. It's not conscious."
Added Cheney, who has said he will not seek the presidency: "My job is to do what I can to support him and to support the administration. My advice to him is untainted by any concern I might have on how the folks in Iowa look at me in connection with the 2008 Iowa caucuses."
Cheney chuckled when asked if he himself had ever considered resigning amid low poll numbers and suggestions by commentators that he was a liability for the administration.
"It's been a highlight of my career to be a part of this administration," he said. "I've now been elected to a second term, and I'll serve out my term."
To political strategists who say that he should step aside with a year or so remaining in his term to give someone a jump on gaining the Republican nomination for president, Cheney said such a move wouldn't make sense to him. "Nobody has suggested it to me," he said.
Cheney and the White House were criticized for not immediately notifying the national press corps after he accidentally shot a companion while hunting in Texas last month. On Sunday, the vice president said he still thought the situation had been handled appropriately.
Calling the circumstances unusual, the vice president quipped, "It's probably the first time the Secret Service ever had to worry about a protectee shooting somebody else instead of being shot at."