In memoir, Bush says he considered dropping Cheney from 2004 ticket
Former president George W. Bush once considered replacing his vice president, Richard B. Cheney, Bush says in a revealing memoir in which he offers advice on the U.S. economy and admits mistakes on Iraq and Hurricane Katrina.
Bush's book, "Decision Points," is full of anecdotes and behind-the-scenes details of eight eventful years that began with the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and ended with an economic meltdown in which "I felt like the captain of a sinking ship."
He writes of many errors involving the Iraq campaign and the failure to find weapons of mass destruction there, despite numerous intelligence reports pointing to their existence.
"No one was more shocked or angry than I was when we didn't find the weapons. I had a sickening feeling every time I thought about it. I still do," Bush writes.
The book includes the revelation that the controversial Cheney had volunteered to step down in 2003 so Bush could pick someone else as his running mate for his 2004 reelection campaign.
Bush writes that he considered the offer, adding that although Cheney "helped with important parts of our base, he had become a lightning rod for criticism from the media and the left."
Although Bush did not like Cheney's image as described by critics, accepting his resignation offer would help "demonstrate that I was in charge," he writes.
Bush said he talked to aides about asking Republican Sen. Bill Frist to run with him instead of Cheney, but ultimately stuck with Cheney because he valued his steady hand.
Bush, 64, has largely remained out of sight and kept his opinions to himself since leaving Washington for Texas in early 2009. His job-approval ratings at the end of his term were in the 30 percent range.
Although his book is an effort to boost his image, he says he believes it will be decades before a judgment on his presidency can be rendered.
"Whatever the verdict on my presidency, I'm comfortable with the fact that I won't be around to hear it," he writes in the book, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.
Bush offers no judgment on his successor, Barack Obama, who repeatedly attacked Bush's economic policies on the campaign trail this year.