Cheney Pokes Shrum in the Ribs

In My Time is chock-a-block with examples of Dick Cheney being wiser than his opponents. Here’s a good one: Cheney’s armchair quarterback advice for the Gore/Lieberman campaign, which conceded the election after networks called Florida for George W. Bush.

In 1976 the election had already been very close, and we had decided to sleep on it and see how things looked in the morning before making any decision about conceding to Carter. I thought that if the Gore campaign had been any kind of a professional operation, they would have realized how close the vote was and wouldn’t have conceded in the first place. But to concede and then take it back was amateur hour. And the fact of the concession hurt Gore, I believe, as we headed into the recount.

Indeed it did. Cheney’s memories line up nicely with the memories up of liberals who watched Gore and Lieberman blow it in real time. He does leave out the fact that John Ellis, a presidential cousin, helped make the Fox News call that sent other networks scrambling, but c’mon – details, details.

Later, the vice president fondly remembers how Lieberman bucked campaign advice and told Tim Russert that, yes, late military ballots should be counted, even as other voters were being locked down. “I was reminded why I had such respect for him,” writes Cheney.