A Heartbeat Away

Speculation about a replacement for Dick Cheney just keeps on ticking

Best of all, from the Republican point of view, the former governor wants to revive the Tenth Amendment, which reserves power for the states. But Racicot might not pass muster with the Christian right. As a Catholic he is, as the Helena Independent puts it, "no fan of abortion," but "lacks a history of pro-life stridency. His record as governor shows a practical streak that chose to sidestep such divisive issues as abortion and right-to-work in favor of a broader, more unifying approach."

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, California governor: Banned along with other foreign-born citizens from becoming president or vice president, the Austrian-born former bodybuilder and actor has become the focus of a furious campaign by supporters in Silicon Valley to open the way to the White House with a constitutional amendment.

Vice President Dick Cheney and President George W. Bush joke with each other after a meeting in the Oval Office Jan. 24, 2002.
photo: www.whitehouse.gov
Vice President Dick Cheney and President George W. Bush joke with each other after a meeting in the Oval Office Jan. 24, 2002.

Republicans salivate at the very thought of superstar Arnold as president, but in Schwarzenegger's case, it inevitably would once more raise the delicate subject of immigration, an issue no one in Congress is volunteering to touch.

DON NICKLES, senator from Oklahoma: In the party's leadership for 14 years, Nickles could have a shot at the job. Known as the one politician who can be counted on to keep the conservative flame alive, Nickles fought to deregulate the oil and gas business, repeal the windfall profits tax, and nix the 55-mile-per-hour speed limit. He has opposed increases in the minimum wage, and sought to weaken ergonomics laws and cap tort and product liability suits.

A pro-lifer, he went out of his way to knock out Oregon's assisted-suicide legislation. In the successful fight to dump Trent Lott as majority leader, Nickles called Lott's praise of former segregationist Jesse Helms unacceptable, but he himself voted twice against the Martin Luther King Day holiday and backed Helms's effort to provide tax-exempt status to private schools like Bob Jones University, where interracial dating was banned. He later joined Helms in supporting the elder George Bush's veto of a Civil Rights Act amendment that would have banned workplace discrimination.

Additional reporting: David Botti, Laurie Anne Agnese, and Nicole Duarte

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