In 1980, as Ford was being wooed to run for vice president, Dick Cheney played a key role in re-imagining the job.
Pollsters spoke of a "dream ticket" after Ronald Reagan won the 1980 Republican nomination and talk turned to Gerald Ford as his No. 2. Aides to both men tried to negotiate arrangements that might lure a former commander in chief into a secondary position.
"Ford made a number of requests in terms of his influence over the budget, personnel, foreign policy, et cetera," (Dick) Cheney said. "I can remember sitting in a session with Bill Casey, who later became CIA director. Bill had a list of items that in fact the Reagan people were prepared to discuss. They went a long way toward trying to accommodate President Ford."
Tempted, but wary of splintering presidential authority, Ford finally withdrew his name.
I've never heard that before. That Gerald Ford was Reagan's choice prior to Bush the First. Makes sense, though. The Republicans are an especially incestuous bunch when it comes to filling offices.
And there's no better example than the Bushes and Dick Cheney. Who has reconstructed the office of the Vice Presidency so that it's a COO-type position that builds and maintains the legal structure within which the President-as-CEO operates. That's particularly important when the Executive Branch exerts a monarch-ish kind of power.
The Washington Post has exhaustingly chronicled the transformation of the VP's office. And gets credit for the Gerald Ford anecdote above.