Rove to Bush: Don’t pick Cheney

Recently-departed White House adviser Karl Rove warned George W. Bush ahead of the 2000 election that picking Dick Cheney as his vice president would be a mistake, according to a new book set to hit bookstores Tuesday.

The Washington Post reported Monday that in the book — “Dead Certain: The Presidency of George Bush” — journalist Robert Draper reveals that Bush was intent on picking Cheney as his running mate, despite his warnings against it.

“Selecting Daddy’s top foreign-policy guru ran counter to message. It was worse than a safe pick — it was needy,” Draper quotes Rove as saying.

Once he took office, the president “saw no harm in giving his VP unprecedented run of the place,” Draper wrote.

The revelations about the inner workings of the Bush White House comes with just 18 months remaining in his presidency, and with the US leader widely deemed by the Washington political establishment to be a lame duck.

The book is said to show a Bush administration wracked by internal dissent and infighting, contrary to the popular image of a tightly-run administration which moves in lock-step.

The book by Draper, a longtime Washington correspondent, also reports that Bush took an informal poll of his top advisers in April 2006 on whether to fire defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

During a private dinner at the White House, seven advisers voted to dump Rumsfeld, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, incoming chief of staff Joshua Bolten, outgoing chief Andrew Card, and Ed Gillespie, then an outside adviser and now White House counselor.

Bush reportedly raised his hand along with three others who wanted Rumsfeld to stay, joined by Rove and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.

Rumsfeld was ousted after the November elections.

According to The Post, Draper wrote that several top Bush advisers told him the president’s vision of postwar Iraq was shaped by a meeting with three Iraqi exiles in the Oval Office several months before the 2003 invasion.

The three exiles assured the US leader that “Iraq would greet American forces with enthusiasm. Ethnic and religious tensions would dissolve with the collapse of Saddam’s regime. And democracy would spring forth with little effort,” Draper wrote.