If you had to put your finger on the what Dick Cheney felt was his proudest moment as vice president, you’d probably guess invading Iraq.
Turns out, you might be wrong.
On Thursday, Cheney told a conservative radio host that an argument he got into with a Democratic senator in which he told the senator to “go fuck” himself was “sort of the best thing I ever did.”
While in the Senate chamber for a 2004 photo op, Cheney told Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to go “fuck yourself” after an argument over Cheney’s former firm, Halliburton, and President Bush’s judicial nominees.
Conservative talk radio host Dennis Miller complimented Cheney about the long-past exchange on Thursday.
“By the way, my, I also want to thank you, on the list of things I feel I should thank you for, almost kicking Patrick LeahyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ass,” Miller remarked. “Thank you very much.”
Cheney laughed, then said, “YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d be surprised how many people liked that. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sort of the best thing I ever did.”
The remark was caught by liberal blog ThinkProgress late Thursday.
The Washington Post detailed the Cheney-Leahy exchange in a 2004 story:
On Tuesday, Cheney, serving in his role as president of the Senate, appeared in the chamber for a photo session. A chance meeting with Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, became an argument about Cheney’s ties to Halliburton Co., an international energy services corporation, and President Bush’s judicial nominees. The exchange ended when Cheney offered some crass advice.
“Fuck yourself,” said the man who is a heartbeat from the presidency.
Leahy’s spokesman, David Carle, yesterday confirmed the brief but fierce exchange. “The vice president seemed to be taking personally the criticism that Senator Leahy and others have leveled against Halliburton’s sole-source contracts in Iraq,” Carle said.
As it happens, the exchange occurred on the same day the Senate passed legislation described as the “Defense of Decency Act” by 99 to 1.
Cheney’s office did not deny that the phrase was uttered. His spokesman, Kevin S. Kellems, would say only that this language is not typical of the vice presidential vocabulary. “Reserving the right to revise and extend my remarks, that doesn’t sound like language the vice president would use,” Kellems said, “but there was a frank exchange of views.”