Republicans, Conservative Groups Praise Cheney Selection as VP

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:26 PM EDT

( - Republicans for the most part reacted favorably to the selection of former Wyoming congressman Richard Cheney as Governor George W Bush's vice presidential running mate Tuesday. The Republican Party is expected to approve Cheney as the vice presidential nominee at its national convention in Philadelphia next week.

Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Nicholson said in Philadelphia, "Dick Cheney is the Cal Ripken of American politics, a star who is steady, dependable, and experienced in a wide variety of critical public positions. He has earned the respect of his allies and opponents as well.

"Governor Bush's choice of Dick Cheney to join him on the Republican ticket is a grand slam home run. In this, his first critical campaign decision, Governor Bush has demonstrated to the country that he is willing and, in fact, eager to look above and beyond politics, to make a true governing decision," Nicholson said.

Nicholson also said, after hearing from Republicans at "all levels," that the Cheney selection has the party faithful excited.

"With this pick, Governor Bush has shown he's serious about bringing an end to the season of cynicism and the destructive, ugly, excessive partisanship that has permeated Washington for too long. He will serve as an outstanding Vice President," Nicholson said.

House Republican Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) praised Cheney's "confidence" and "quiet demeanor" with an "extraordinary breadth of experience" as former chief of staff in the Ford White House, former Wyoming Congressman and former Secretary of Defense.

Armey also believes Cheney, as Vice President, will help the Republicans and the legislative process.

"You have a Vice President that actually knows the people on the Hill, House and Senate, acting as president of the Senate, knowing and having worked with most of the leadership, all of the leadership in the House. He is going to really help that process," Armey said at his weekly Capitol Hill news briefing.

General Colin Powell, who was talked about as a possible Bush running mate, said Cheney is a "superb choice" and "certainly adds depth to the Bush administration."

"He is very loyal, he is smart, a good manager, he's a good leader, and he will respond to what the President wants done," Powell said.

Powell served with Secretary of Defense Cheney during the Persian Gulf war in the early 1990s.

Senator Bill Frist (R-TN), another potential Bush running mate prior to Cheney's selection, believes Bush made an "outstanding" choice.

"Dick Cheney is as good as they come. With a wealth of experience in both the private and public sector, he is qualified to take over the job (of President), if necessary. I think the (selection) process has been handled very well. It's been fair, thorough, comprehensive and dignified," Frist said.

Representative Tom Davis (R-VA), head of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), said Bush's selection of Cheney was a "bold choice."

"Of all the possible candidates Governor Bush could have chosen, none of them knows the House better than Dick Cheney, a man respected by Republicans, Democrats and Independents. It's fitting that Governor Bush picked a man who led this nation to victory in a time of war because I'm confident the Bush-Cheney ticket will lead us to a larger House majority," Davis said.

The National Right To Life committee praised Cheney's selection, saying he "had a one hundred percent pro-life voting record during his time in office and will be a great asset to the Republican ticket."

American Renewal, a conservative lobbying organization, applauded the selection of Cheney, saying it sent an "unmistakable message."

"There has been no departure from the Republican Party's principled stand in defense of the sanctity of life. This follows Governor Bush's declared commitment to preserving, unchanged, the pro-life plank in the GOP platform," American Renewal Vice President Richard Lessner said in a statement.

The Republican Jewish Coalition called Cheney a "friend of Israel."

"He has visited Israel; he is a friend of Israel and is concerned for her security and well-being. In addition, Dick Cheney is committed to Israel not just in word but also in deed. He took action to ensure that Israel remained secure in dangerous times. He has reached out in the past to the Jewish community," RJC Honorary Chairman Mel Sembler said in a statement.