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Dick Cheney says he might seek heart transplant

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, in an interview with NBC's 'Today' show, also says Barack Obama will be a one-term president and that Obama overestimated how much support he'd have for his policies.

January 18, 2011|By James Oliphant, Washington Bureau

Reporting from Washington — In an interview Tuesday, former Vice President Dick Cheney said he would consider seeking a heart transplant and maintained that President Obama would be voted out of office next year.

Cheney, 69, has suffered from heart trouble for most of his life. His most recent of his five heart attacks was in February 2010. Last summer, he had a heart pump implanted in his chest to keep blood flowing to his vital organs.

In an interview with NBC's "Today" show, Cheney, who is noticeably thinner than during his vice presidency, said the pump was a temporary measure and that a decision on seeking a new heart hasn't been made. "I'll have to make a decision at some point whether or not I want to go for a transplant," he said. "But we haven't addressed that yet."

Asked if he still believes that Obama will be a one-term president, Cheney responded, "I do."

"He embarked upon a course of action when he became president that did not have as much support as he thought it did," Cheney said. "I think his overall approach to expanding the size of government, expanding the deficit, and giving more and more authority and power to the government over the private sector is a lack of — sort of a feel for the role of the private sector in — in creating jobs, in creating wealth and getting our economy back on track. Those are all weaknesses, as I look at Barack Obama."

Cheney, however, noted that his concerns about Obama's approach to national security had been eased somewhat, largely because the president has perpetuated many of the anti-terrorism measures of the Bush administration. "I think he's learned that what we did was far more appropriate than he ever gave us credit for while he was a candidate. So I think he's learned from experience," Cheney said.

Cheney also addressed the shootings in Tucson that killed six and wounded 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), cautioning against tying the tragedy to overheated political rhetoric.

"I think our politics can get pretty rough at times. Having been vice president for eight years, maybe I'm more sensitive to it than others, but the fact of the matter is, a good, tough political fight is one of the great strengths of our democracy," he said. "And so I think we have to be cautious, I guess, about jumping to conclusions here about the extent to which the sort of the political environment contributed to or caused this event."

In the interview, conducted at Cheney's home on Maryland's Eastern Shore, the former vice president also said he offered to resign several times in advance of the 2004 elections because he felt he had become a lightning rod for criticism of Bush's presidency.

joliphant@latimes.com

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