Cheney Curses Leahy

CNN — Cheney curses senator over Halliburton criticism

Typically a break from partisan warfare, this year’s Senate class photo turned smiles into snarls as Vice President Dick Cheney reportedly used a profanity toward one senior Democrat, sources said. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who was on the receiving end of Cheney’s ire, confirmed that the Vice President used profanity during Tuesday’s class photo.
A spokesman for Cheney confirmed there was a “frank exchange of views.”

Using profanity on the Senate floor while the Senate is session is against the rules. But the Senate was technically not in session at the time and the normal rules did not apply, a Senate official said.

The story, which was recounted by several sources, goes like this: Cheney, who as president of the Senate was present for the picture day, turned to Leahy and scolded the senator over his recent criticism of the vice president for Halliburton’s alleged war profiteering. Cheney is the former CEO of Halliburton, and Democrats have suggested that while serving in the Bush administration he helped win lucrative contracts for his former firm, including a no-bid contract to rebuild Iraq. Cheney’s office has said repeatedly that the vice president has no role in government contracting and has severed all financial ties with the Texas-based oil services conglomerate. Cheney was chief executive officer of Halliburton from 1995 to 2000. He resigned when he became George Bush’s running mate.

Responding to Cheney’s comment, Leahy reminded him of an earlier statement the vice president had made about him. Cheney then replied with profanity. eahy would not comment on the specifics of the story Thursday, but did confirm that Cheney used profanity. “I think he was just having a bad day,” said Leahy, “and I was kind of shocked to hear that kind of language on the floor.”

Kevin Kellems, a spokesman for the vice president, said, “That doesn’t sound like the kind of language that the vice president would use, but I can confirm that there was a frank exchange of views.”

I haven’t yet encountered a transcript of the exchange but, if Matt Drudge’s headline is correct, it involved only two words: a popular, multipurpose verb beginning with F and the second person singular pronoun used as a direct object.

If so, I can only respond: Big time.

UPDATE: Kevin Drum cites a Reuters account that has a slightly more complicated version of the quote that, while conveying the same sentiment, adds an unnecessary directional modifier.

UPDATE: The CNN story has been revised and extended, although there is still minor dispute over the precise wording of Cheney’s instructions.

WaPo puts the story, “Cheney Dismisses Critic With Obscenity,” on page A04.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. I’m so happy, I think I’m going to cry.

  2. McGehee says:

    What exactly is Cheney alleged to have done, Paul?

    In case you’ve forgotten (or just weren’t born yet in 1992), Whitewater contributed somewhat to the S&L collapse, which was a damn sight more of a problem for a damn sight more people than whatever the hell it is you lefties are so up-in-arms about over Halliburton.

  3. Ruth H says:

    Way to go Cheney!!!

  4. Donnie says:

    Actually, CNN (Paul Begala) reported that the phrase was “Go F*** yourself”.

    In spades, baby, in spades.

    People often forget that Cheney is not the one to fool with…

    – D

  5. McGehee says:

    you probably haven’t got the bandwidth for a list of accusations against Cheney that have significant substantiation…let alone a full list of allegations against Cheney….

    Then get a blog.

  6. La Femme Crickita says:

    Well no wonder the Dems are in a snit. Cheney used Senator Kerry’s middle name as a verb with Leahy as the direct object. Hey, I can parse potty mouth!
    And the Senator has a problem with that because he either can’t get any, or it is about time someone told him to get stuffed, or it just felt good to say that…don’t hold back Dick. Tell us how you really feel. I detest that slimy worm Leahy anyway. Good for the VEEP.

  7. McGehee says:

    too much trouble to maintain.

    You obviously haven’t tried — your spare time being taken up with stalking Cheney and posting inanities on other people’s blogs.

    Oh well. I guess even a pointless life is still worth living. Have fun.

  8. Bill from NYC says:

    I’ll take a $100 on Dick “The Hammer” Cheney in a first round KO!!!
    If any other Dems from the other side of the floor try jumping in…… Good o’l Don “The Shooter” Rummy will handle it in straight order!! lol

  9. David says:

    If it’s true that Cheney told Leahy to F off
    it’s hardly the end of the world. It’s just
    more to confirm that he’s an arrogant bully.
    Seems he can’t take criticism when it’s aimed
    at him. Likely because it’s justified and in
    time we might learn the truth. Might not, this
    is one secretive, self serving administration.
    Anybody thinking these guys are doing a great
    job for America is a fool. Power mongers looking
    out for number 1. Go Republicans, we need to
    piss off the rest of the world even more, trash
    our country even more, kill more troops, build
    a bigger deficit and guarantee tax breaks for
    the few that don’t need them. Oh yeah, and screw
    up education, health care, sex ed. and a thousand
    other things that might actually do Joe average
    some good.

  10. GFC says:

    Whitewater contributed somewhat to the S&L collapse?
    Neal Bush DEFINATELY contributed to the S&L bust and I think, if memory serves, that it cost something like $1 billion to bail him out. Nothing like more good ol’ corporate welfare.

  11. Momo says:

    The higher up a person’s position, the more responsibility that person has to reflect decent moral examples and behavior. What kind of example is this? Apparently Cheney has no concerns for the youth of this country and the example he has set. When O.J. Simpson got away with murder, people would say “she’s been O.J’d” to any women beaten or killed and the man gets off. Now maybe we should start using “Cheney you” to represent our anger. It’s deplorable ~ it’s even worse, that he has no regrets.

  12. Stephany says:

    It’s one thing to use the F word generally and quite another to direct it at a person. One simply is in bad taste, the other is deplorable and conduct unbecoming.

  13. Anonymous says:

    F-yourselves you right wing neo -con hypocrites!

  14. chris wolf says: … the official bush-cheney re-election site

  15. Anonymous says:

    I would argue that Cheney’s use of profanity in an atmosphere such as that of the Senate also shows his lack of self-control and his disrespect for democratic debate and government.

  16. Anonymous says:

    You guys are funny. If not for the right what would I have to laugh at?

  17. CTG8R says:

    The higher up a person’s position, the more responsibility that person has to reflect decent moral examples and behavior….???

    How do you explain an intern being impaled with a cigar by a father, husband and leader of the free world.

    We love pointing fingers in this country but we never do it in the mirror. That pretty much applies to both side of the aisle and is why we should remove our party affiliations and focus on individual issues.

    Maybe that would inspire ALL the pols to behave respectfully.