Welcome to "Ask the White House" -- an online interactive forum where you can submit questions to Administration Officials and friends of the White House. Visit the "Ask the White House" archives to read other discussions with White House officials.
Today's guest: Mrs. Cheney
Emily, from Minneapolis writes:
What are some of our nation's greatest triumphs? How do you feel that we have learned from our successes as well as our failures?
I think our greatest single triumph is the progress we've made to living up to our founding ideals. In the beginning, we proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that all of us are created equal. Our story since then has been written in important part by people like Frederick Douglass and Elizabeth Cady Stanton who called upon our nation to live according to this high principle.
David, from Ohio writes:
Dear Mrs. Cheney, I really enjoyed sharing your book America with my nephews and I was wondering if you'll be writing any other children's books?
I'm glad you liked America: A Patriotic Primer. I loved writing it. I have a new book coming out September 16 that was also a joy to work on. It's called A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women. Robin Glasser, with whom I worked on America is the illustrator and she has done a spectacular job.
As is the case with America, my profits from Abigail will go to charity.
Stephen, from Australia writes:
Mrs Cheney, We note in Australia that your country's Presidential Election 2004 is starting to gather speed, though still a long way out from the ballot box. Do you participate at an early stage in campaigning on the Vice President and President's behalf? Also, by the end of it, are you tired of the travel and hectic pace? Kind regards, Stephen.
Campaigns can get hectic and tiring for sure, but they're also uplifting and energizing. I love getting outside the Washington beltway and meeting people all across the country, people who wish us well and who want the President's and the Vice President's efforts to succeed. You're not always sure of that here in Washington. : ) Campaigns can also be a lot of fun. Sometimes my daughters and I tell stories from the 2000 campaign and we laugh and laugh. I'm sure that a campaign seems like more fun when you win.
Nathan, from South Dakota writes:
What is some of the advantages of being the Vice Presidents wife or do you have any Tips for the Youth on Pursuing a career in politics.
Being married to the Vice President is a great opportunity to advance causes and ideas. For me the cause is history, advancing the idea that we need to do more than we have been used to doing to help children and young people know the story of our great country.
A young person who wants to get involved in politics should work in a campaign. There's usually one close at hand. I'll bet the Republican party in South Dakota would love to hear from you.
Christian, from San Jose, CA writes:
What interesting historical information have you learned since your husband took office? Have you taken advantage of the special access you are afforded to expand your knowledge of our political history, particularly where the executive branch is concerned?
One thing I have loved doing since Dick became Vice President is inviting historians to have dinner with us and talk about their work. We've been privileged to hear David McCullough talk about John Adams, Jay Winik about April, 1865, and Robert Remini about his new book on the Congress.
I've also spent time since Dick became Vice President learning more about our family history. For his birthday in January, I wrote him the story of A. Nelson Cheney, an ancestor of his who was a renowned writer on fly fishing in the nineteenth century. I found much of the information at the Library of Congress, one of our great national treasures.
luv2read, from rockford,illinois writes:
What's your favorite book? What's your relationship with laura bush like? Do you both have a shared favorite book?
Thanks, You are awesome! I so agree with your comments on Eminem.
My favorite book tends to be the one I'm currently reading, which right at this minute is Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake. I just finished Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran, which is also terrific.
One of the very nicest things about Dick becoming Vice President is the opportunity it has given me to know Laura Bush. She's warm, funny, and a great resource if you want to know good books to read. One she gave me I particularly like is Leif Enger's Peace Like a River. I recently gave her an autobiography of Martha Washington.
Stacy, from Rapid City, South Dakota
When the campaign hits full force, do you have any plans on coming to South Dakota? I would love to see you speak.
I was in South Dakota last fall, once campaigning by myself and once with Dick, and I love your state. Driving through Sioux Falls is so much like driving through Casper, Wyoming, where we grew up. I'm sure I'll see you this year or next!
Chad, from Berwick, PA writes:
Whats it like being married to the Vice President of the United States?
Well, in the case of being married to this vice president, it's pretty nice. I think every VP's wife has found the job a little different and fulfilled it in the way that's seemed best to her. Joan Mondale emphasized American arts and crafts, Tipper Gore worked to help the homeless, I am passionate about finding ways to help American kids learn more about history.
A friend of mind recently gave me a copy of a book written by Alben Barkley's wife. He was Truman's Vice President, and the two of them used to move around the country with no security. That's a big change. They also had an amazing social schedule. It made me exhausted just reading about it. Dick and I are out in the evenings a few times a week, but not every night as the Barkleys seemed to be.
John, from Stapleton writes:
Where are the weapons of mass destruction?
Be patient. We'll find out.
Robert, from Nashville writes:
do you live in the white house?
No, but I get asked that a lot. We do live in a white house, but it's located on the grounds of the U.S.Naval Observatory. It's a lovely old Queen Anne house with rolling lawns and great tall trees. It's perfect for grandchildren and dogs. There are 37 rooms in the Vice President's residence. I counted because kids ask me that all the time. There are 137 rooms in the White House. I called the curator and asked because kids want to know that, too.
Ryan, from Chicago writes:
What is it like to have the Secret Service follow your every move?
It takes some getting used to. I can't just pop out the front door and go to the bookstore anymore. But let me say how much I admire the men and women who serve in the United States Secret Service. They're brave, well-prepared, and they make a great effort to let the lives of those they protect go on as normally as possible.
Charles, from Maryland writes:
Mrs. Cheney: Who is your favorite historical figure in American history?
It's hard to pick one, but maybe George Washington. The role he played in this country's founding was truly remarkable. He was the commander of the American forces in the Revolution, and the tales of his bravery are astounding. He had horses shot out from under him, bullets go through his clothing. At the Battle of Princeton, he led his troops to within thirty yards of the enemy before ordering them to fire. One of his aides was so sure Washington would be killed when fire was returned that he hid his eyes.
He left his beloved Mount Vernon when his country needed him again and served as our first president, and no matter what he was doing, he conducted himself in such a way as to bring honor on himself and the nation.
When I talk to schoolchildren, I encourage them to recite the famous line about Washington, "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen."
Thanks for your great questions!
Thanks to Mrs. Cheney for joining us today on "Ask the White House." We look forward to having her on again. Make sure to join us this Friday at 4:30pm (ET) as White House Tee-Ball Commissioner Cal Ripken takes your questions.