Cheney Biography

By Bob Melvin | July 7, 2008 | 8:26 PM EDT

( - Republican George W Bush is choosing a seasoned political veteran as his running mate. Richard Bruce Cheney, 59, a native of Casper, Wyoming, has served as a congressman, White House staffer and Cabinet member.

Cheney is mentioned with respect by members of all political parties for his service as Secretary of Defense under President George Bush and for his handling of the 1991 Gulf War.

Cheney served in the mid-1970s as President Gerald Ford's Chief of Staff. At age 34, he was the youngest person ever to hold that job. He also served in Congress as the sole representative from Wyoming for a decade.

He has worked in the private sector since 1995 as CEO of Halliburton Company, a Texas-based Fortune 500 energy services business specializing in the development of oil and gas production around the world.

Cheney was born in 1941 in Casper, where he spent his childhood. He dropped out of Yale University after one year, eventually earning a political science degree from the University of Wyoming in 1965.

After further postgraduate work in Washington, DC, Cheney joined the Nixon administration as a special assistant to Donald Rumsfeld, the first director of the Office of Economic Opportunity.

After Nixon's resignation in 1974, Cheney followed Rumsfeld in becoming a member of the White House staff as an assistant to President Gerald Ford. He became Ford's Chief of Staff from 1975-1977 and was considered hard-working, loyal and good-natured.

After Ford lost the 1976 election to Jimmy Carter, Cheney decided to run for office in his home state, winning a seat in the House of Representatives in 1978. He suffered the first of three heart attacks during that election season, but doctors cleared him to keep on campaigning in the fall.

Cheney won the election in November and spent the next 10 years serving the people of Wyoming as their lone representative in the House, where he rose in the Republican ranks to House minority whip. He had a solid conservative voting record during his tenure in the House.

After suffering two more heart attacks during the 1980s, Cheney underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 1988.

Cheney left Congress in 1989 when President Bush asked him to serve as Secretary of Defense.

Cheney married Lynne Vincent in 1964. Mrs. Cheney is an author and has served as chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. She holds a doctorate in English, is a former editor of Washingtonian magazine and has taught as several colleges and universities.

The Cheneys have two grown daughters.