- The Washington Times - Friday, February 19, 2010

Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Thursday brazenly predicted that President Obama will lose re-election in 2012, rallying conservatives smitten with the Cheney brand and the prospect of his daughter Liz making a Senate run in Virginia in two years.

“I think Barack Obama is a one-term president,” Mr. Cheney said to thundering applause during a surprise appearance at the nation’s biggest gathering of conservatives.

It was the first time any Republican of Mr. Cheney’s stature had publicly ventured such a prognostication about the Democratic president, who won a resounding election victory a little more than a year ago and still has a job approval rating of slightly more than 50 percent in major polls.

Liz Cheney, a State Department official in President George W. Bush’s administration, brought her father to the podium for the unscheduled address after delivering her own speech attacking Mr. Obama’s national security and foreign policies.

Mr. Cheney drew the loudest applause of opening day at the Conservative Political Action Conference and was greeted by a crowd of people wearing stickers saying “Cheney 2012.” Because the former vice president has ruled out another run for office, many are speculating that Ms. Cheney is primed to challenge Sen. Jim Webb, Virginia Democrat.

The no-first-name draft-Cheney stickers were printed and distributed “when we found out Liz Cheney was the scheduled speaker,” said Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud, a Republican homosexual activist group. Mr. Cheney, whose other daughter is a lesbian, has publicly opposed the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy of the armed services and would allow homosexuals to serve without prejudice.

Conservative activist Peter Roff, a veteran of CPAC, said the rumor among conservatives long has been that Ms. Cheney, who has been highly visible lately as a political analyst on TV, would like to be the GOP Senate candidate.

Mr. Webb and the Cheneys have a widely divergent views on the Iraq war, detention of terrorist suspects, Israel and other policy issues; thus an ideology-driven contest between the former Navy secretary and the former vice president’s daughter would make sense, conservatives said.

“She’d be a credible candidate,” said CPAC attendee and conservative fundraiser Richard Norman. “Because her last name is Cheney, automatically the news media give her attention.”

Few Republicans deliver the red meat to hungry conservative audiences as well as Mr. Cheney, whose appearance generated several standing ovations. Some in the audience even stood on their chairs and chanted, “Run, Dick, Run.”

“That is almost enough to make me want to run for office. But I’m not gonna do it,” Mr. Cheney said.

Mr. Cheney is 69 and has a history of heart problems requiring major surgery. Because of his health issues and other reasons, most political observers doubted he would consider a run for the GOP nomination in 2012.

But Greg Kos, attending CPAC from Oregon, said he would welcome a Cheney run and that he’s thrilled that the former vice president is out making the case for President George W. Bush’s successes. He said he disagreed with ballooning spending during the Bush administration but that he agrees with the vice president that waterboarding should be an option for interrogating terrorist suspects.

“What I most respect is that although the dominant media paradigm is he’s complaining again, I would like to have a ‘W’ point of view,” Mr. Kos said, adding that he would like the former vice president to give “an eight-hour teach-in” to defend himself.

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