Cheney Wrote Resignation Letter Because of Heart Problems

Drafted letter in case he was incapacitated

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Dick Cheney

Former Vice President Dick Cheney says he drafted a resignation letter in 2001 in case he was incapacitated by ongoing heart problems.

In a 60 Minutes interview that aired Sunday, Cheney revealed that just 67 days after taking office, he drafted a resignation letter for President George W. Bush. Cheney took the precaution because there’s no provision in the constitution to replace a vice president who is alive but incapacitated.

“[Bush] was a little surprised, but he thought it was a good idea,” Cheney said in the interview.

Cheney’s interview was meant to promote a book called he wrote called “Heart,” which is out Tuesday and details the cardiac problems he’s had — five heart attacks and open-heart surgery before a transplant at age 71. Asked how the stress from his heart problems may have affected his performance as vice president, Cheney said:

“I simply don’t buy the notion that [stress] contributed to my heart disease,” Cheney said, noting that doctors gave him the go-ahead to serve. “I think the bottom line is, was I up to the task of being vice president? Since I did it for eight years, They were right.

“I was as good as I could be given the fact that I was 60-some years old at that point and a heart patient,” Cheney added.