Cheney Hits GOP Fund-Raisers
By KAREN GULLO Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - As his new boss took center stage Thursday,
Cheney moved to the sidelines. But don't expect him to stay there for long.
Cheney will be playing offense and raising money for George W. Bush
two tackle battleground states crucial to a GOP victory in November, campaign
The former defense secretary, who accepted his party's nomination Wednesday,
spent Thursday attending a round of meet-and-greets with donors.
Though he's a full-fledged political candidate, Cheney also put his
chieftan hat back on, attending a Union Pacific Corp. board of directors
meeting aboard a vintage train car that the company has used to entertain
delegates at the convention.
Cheney is a director at the giant railway company. Aides said he'll
resign the post soon.
A day earlier, Cheney wowed the Republican faithful with a wry and aggressive
attack on President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore. In doing so, he
took on the traditional role of vice presidential attack dog - albeit one
who delivers stinging sound bites in a low-key manner.
It's a role he'll embrace as he and Bush head out Friday on a campaign
trying to convince voters in Ohio, Michigan and Illinois who sent Clinton to
Washington in 1996 that it's time to kick Democrats out of the White House.
The two will later split up.
``The secretary will draw contrasts between our campaign and the opponents,''
said Ari Fleischer, Bush's spokesman. ``We said all along we're going to run
a positive campaign. But there are times when we'll needle our opponent.''
Democrats said Cheney's biting speech - he accused Clinton and Gore
failing to help improve education for children, creating ``bitterness and ill
will'' in Washington and using scare tactics to turn voters against Bush -
shows that Republicans have no intention of keeping their campaign positive.
The Bush camp brushed off the criticism, but suggested that Cheney will
deliver his broadsides in a way that won't turn off voters tired of attack politics.
``He will do so in a very respectful tone versus a scornful or
disdainful way,'' said Fleischer.
Rather than send Cheney out to shore up the party's political base in
where it's already strong, the Bush campaign will deploy him to traditionally
Democratic states where support for Gore isn't as strong as it should be.
After a three-day trip through the Midwest, Bush and Cheney next week
split up. Bush will head off on a West Coast campaign swing with Sen. John
McCain of Arizona, Bush's former rival whose role is to attract independents
and swing voters - people who may not warm to Cheney's ultraconservative
voting record and anti-abortion, antigun control positions.
Cheney, meanwhile, will return to Dallas to wrap up business at oil-services
firm Halliburton Co., where he's chief executive officer, before going
back on the campaign trail later in the week.
His schedule was still being nailed down but aides said he'll shadow
through the Midwest, California and a few smaller swing states such as
New Mexico, North Carolina and Washington.
He will visit the same TV markets as Bush - in effect doubling the campaign's
presence in states that likely will determine the election, aides said.
``Unlike previous presidential campaigns where the vice presidential
mate has been sent to essentially the base states, we're going to be sending
Secretary Cheney to the battleground states,'' Karl Rove, Bush's chief
strategist, told the California GOP delegation.
Cheney is pulling together a staff, tapping Kathleen Shanahan as chief
staff. She is a senior vice president of government relations at PaineWebber
and a former Bush administration special assistant. He also selected
former Halliburton spokesman Dirk Vande Beek to head his press operation.
Other parts of Cheney's campaign operation are coming together, slowly.
A campaign plane to cart the candidate and a press contingent around
won't be ready until Aug. 20.
During the Aug. 14-17 Democratic National Convention, Cheney will take
advantage of some down time to do some flyfishing - his passion.