[Dick Cheney] will chair a commission to handle the problem, and the just- named director, former Senate energy committee aide Andrew Lundquist, will work on Cheney's staff. The participants, including [Bush] advisers Lawrence B. Lindsey and Karl Rove, Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill (an old Cheney friend) and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, have met in Cheney's West Wing office and in his vice presidential office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
Though Bush has the ultimate say, Cheney and his aides have been fully integrated into the national security apparatus. An old Cheney loyalist, Stephen Hadley, is deputy national security adviser, and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is a longtime Cheney ally. "When an issue comes in, it's important to everyone in the White House: What does the vice president think," said Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's staff chief, who also gets daily national security briefings and attends meetings in the White House situation room.
When John McConnell, Cheney's speechwriter, was assigned to the vice president, some friends assumed he had been demoted, because he spent the campaign working with Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson. But the White House made sure McConnell got the same pay and stature as Bush speechwriters; he helps with Bush speeches, while Bush aides help with Cheney speeches -- a pattern absent in the late [Clinton] administration. "I knew I wouldn't be walled off from the president's team," McConnell said.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.