Cheney's Libby 'Crusade' Strained Ties With Bush

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2009 4:29 PM CDT
President Bush makes remarks on the transition Nov. 6, 2008, as Vice President Dick Cheney looks on.   (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
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(Newser) – Dick Cheney pursued a pardon for former aide Scooter Libby so doggedly in his final days in office that he pushed the bounds of his 9-year relationship with George Bush, reports Time. It wasn't so much a political issue as a moral "crusade" for Cheney, write Massimo Calabresi and Michael Weisskopf. He implored Bush not to leave "anyone on the battlefield" and said anything less than a full pardon would tarnish their legacy in the war on terror. "Cheney really got in the president's face," says one source. "He just wouldn't give it up."

Bush stood his ground, however, on the counsel of legal advisers who were miffed that Libby never showed remorse for his role in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. "What's the bottom line, here? Did this guy lie or not?" Bush asked one trusted attorney. Hearing the affirmative cemented his decision to skip the pardon, which he relayed to Cheney on the final day of his presidency. The vice president looked "stricken," the writers say. "He didn't take it well," one observer tells them. (Read more George W. Bush stories.)