Cheney: I'm Not Quitting

Dick Cheney, U.S. Vice President, appears at a fundraiser, Kansas City, Missouri, 12-12-03
Vice President Dick Cheney says rumors aside, he's not dropping out of the race.

President Bush has been "very clear he doesn't want to break up the team," Cheney said in a C-SPAN interview that will be broadcast Sunday.

There has been persistent speculation that Cheney would step down for political or health reasons.

"He's made his decision," Cheney said of the president. "I've made mine. I suppose right now, because we're in the run up to the convention, people don't have much to talk about so you get speculation on that. It's normal. When we get to the convention, I think that'll put an end to it."

While Cheney is strongly supported by the GOP's conservative base, some Republicans have quietly suggested that he should be replaced. He has had four heart attacks and his approval ratings have plummeted amid persistent questions about his role in promoting the Iraq war and in handling the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Among replacement possibilities: Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Secretary of State Colin Powell, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said Thursday that if Mr. Bush replaces Cheney, it will be the latest in a string of broken promises.

"It will mean that the president's word once again doesn't mean anything, that he himself is the flip-flopper of all flip-floppers because he's been touting how important Dick Cheney is," Kerry told broadcaster Don Imus. "The fact is that George Bush would be declaring an act of desperation, a sudden move that goes contrary to everything he's said."

On C-SPAN, Cheney was asked if he could envision any circumstances in which he would step aside. "Well, no, I can't. If I thought that were appropriate, I certainly would. But he's made it very clear that he wants me to run again. The way I got here in the first place was that he persuaded me four years ago that I was the man he wanted in that post, not just as a candidate, but as somebody to be part of the governing team. He's been very clear he doesn't want to break up the team."

Cheney's wife, Lynne, was emphatic that he would accept the vice presidential nomination again at the GOP convention in New York. "Oh, it'll happen," she told C-SPAN.