Unless otherwise noted, the following 24 Fun Facts About Dick are from Jane Mayer's article "Contract Sport" from the Feb. 16-23, 2004, issue of The New Yorker.
1. Dick Cheney was born in Lincoln, Neb., in 1941.
2. As a young man, Dick Cheney was twice convicted of drunken driving. Although the exact number of George W. Bush's convictions for drunken driving is not publicly known, the two have more such convictions than any previous presidential ticket, and perhaps more than all previous presidential tickets combined.
3. Dick Cheney's first job in Washington was a congressional fellowship with Rep. Bill Steiger, R-Wisc. One of Dick Cheney's duties in this job was visiting college campuses to evaluate/spy on antiwar activists.
4. Dick Cheney liked life inside the Beltway so much that instead of returning to graduate school after the fellowship, he took a job with former Rep. Donald Rumsfeld, R.-Ill., who had just been appointed head of the Office of Economic Opportunity.
5. Dick Cheney and his then-boss Donald Rumsfeld, "diminished the power of the [Office of Economic Opportunity] by outsourcing many of its jobs." In 1969, Rumsfeld eliminated 108 jobs at the OEO without explanation. Most had been held by "senior career civil servants who had been appointed by Democrats."
6. From 1979 until 1988, Dick Cheney represented Wyoming in the U.S. House of Representatives.
7. The highest score Rep. Dick Cheney, R-Wyo., ever received from the League of Conservation Voters was 20 percent during his first term. Dick Cheney's scores for his subsequent terms were: 4.5 percent, 13 percent, 16 percent and 0 percent.
8. As secretary of defense under Pres. George H.W. Bush, Dick Cheney oversaw the post-Cold War reduction of military forces, weapons systems and bases. "By the time he was done, the armed forces were at their lowest level since the Korean War."
9. Dick Cheney's approach to base closings and cutting weapons systems was criticized for focusing almost exclusively on bases and weapons programs based in Democratic congressional districts.
10. Toward the end of Cheney’s tenure, the Pentagon decided to turn over to a single company the bulk of the business of planning and providing support for military operations abroad — tasks such as preparing food, doing the laundry and cleaning the latrines. … [Dick Cheney] commissioned Halliburton to do a classified study of how this might work. In effect, the company was being asked to create its own market. Halliburton was paid $3.9 million to write its initial report, which offered a strategy for providing support to 20,000 troops. The Pentagon then paid Halliburton $5 million more to do a follow-up study. In August, 1992, Halliburton was selected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to do all the work needed to support the military during the next five years, in accordance with the plan it had itself drawn up.
11. Dick Cheney was hired to be the CEO of Halliburton in 1995, "not long after he went on a fly-fishing trip in New Brunswick, Canada, with several corporate moguls." Dick Cheney had almost no prior experience in the business world.
12. In 1998, Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney negotiated the acquisition of the company's main rival, Dresser Industries, for $7.7 billion. Halliburton had failed to detect the size of the legal liability that Dresser faced from long-dormant lawsuits dealing with asbestos poisoning. The claims proved so ruinous that several Halliburton divisions later filed for bankruptcy protection. The asbestos settlements devastated the company’s stock price, which fell by 80 percent in just over a year.
13. While Dick Cheney was CEO of Halliburton, the company did business in and with Iran, Libya and Iraq, despite all three countries being considered state sponsors of terrorism at the time.
14. "Under [Dick] Cheney’s watch, two foreign subsidiaries of Dresser sold millions of dollars’ worth of oil services and parts to Saddam's regime" in Iraq.
15. Dick Cheney secured 15 times more in government credit guarantees for Halliburton than his predecessors.
16. Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney negotiated a $490 million loan guarantee from the Washington-based Export-Import Bank for the Russian company Tyumen Oil. It was the "largest loan guarantee to a Russian company in the bank's history."
17. Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney had to fight both the U.S. State Department and the CIA to win the loan guarantee for Tyumen Oil. That battle left him with a fierce animosity and frustration toward these agencies.
18. During his tenure at Halliburton, Dick Cheney was paid about $44 million.
19. Dick Cheney continues to collect about $150,000 a year from Halliburton in "deferred compensation."
20. Dick Cheney "retains stock options worth more than $18 million" in Halliburton. "He has announced that he will donate proceeds from the stock options to charity."
21. While still the CEO of Halliburton, Dick Cheney became the head of Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush's vice-presidential search committee. "Cheney demanded reams of documents from the candidates he considered. In the end, he picked himself."
22. Dick Cheney almost certainly has not done paid work for former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein since Feb. 2003.
23. In the year 2000, Dick Cheney did paid work for both Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush. How many other people can say that?
24. Dick Cheney is the first vice president in my lifetime — probably the first since Alvin Barkley — to have no aspirations to succeed the incumbent. Part of the reason for this seems to be that moving into the spotlight as president would require Dick Cheney to give up too much power.