Former Vice President Dick Cheney may be thinner these days, outfitted with a permanent heart pump, and clad in two kinds of shoes due to a leg problem. But he’s still as bluntly outspoken as ever, taking aim at President Barack Obama, his old nemesis The New York Times, and the Occupy Wall Street movement during a Dallas visit flogging his new memoir, In My Time.
Greeting scores of invited guests at a Highland Park manse on Gillon Avenue yesterday, the ex-HP resident (pictured in photo by Jeanne Prejean) was asked his opinion of the Occupy Wall Street protests. “That’s crazy,” he replied, waving one hand dismissively. “I’m not one of those who think that’s going to do any good. It’s hard to tell what they’re for and what they’re against.” The former veep was dismissive of Obama as well, calling the president “a train wreck.”
“I can’t get over the fact that he doesn’t have that sense of exceptionalism about America,” Cheney, addressing guests in the mansion’s big backyard, said of Obama.
He recalled the president’s 2009 speech in Cairo, where “he said we’d walked away from our basic fundamental American values”–and he was going to set things right.
“He operates on the assumption that the United States is not a special place, and I don’t buy that,” Cheney said. “So I hope we can beat him significantly. I’ll be careful here. Is ‘significantly’ okay? You know what I mean.”
Cheney also seemed to relish tweaking the media, noting that his new book (written with the help of his daughter, Liz) “went straight to No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list. I don’t much care” about being No. 1, he said, “but I loved the fact that it was the New York Times.”
Asked by a guest how he handles all the media “abuse”–and whether he might have any advice along those lines for Rick Perry–Cheney said a thick skin, and a sense of humor, help a lot. He recalled appearing on the nationally syndicated Don Imus radio/TV show, even after Imus had skewered him over the Iraq war, calling him names including “Pork Chop Boy.”
“He was not exactly friendly; in fact, he was hostile most of the time,” Cheney said of Imus. “But I’d turn him on in the morning while I was shaving.”
When Imus publicly invited him on the show, never thinking the vice president would accept, Cheney decided to take him up on the offer–and did the show. The I-man “couldn’t have been nicer,” Cheney said. “As I was getting ready to leave, I walked right past him and pulled a big pork chop out of my pocket, and threw it in his lap.”
The Highland Park visit by Cheney–who was accompanied by his wife, Lynne–was arranged by mega-Realtors Allie Beth and Pierce Allman. Their Dallas company has the listing on the Gillon Avenue mansion (price: $9.65 million). It also handled the sale of the Cheneys’ $3 million house on Euclid when the Cheneys left for Washington D.C., to join the George W. Bush administration.