Despite Cheney Fund-raiser, Romney's Relationship With Bush Administration Remains Complicated

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Romney gave Cheney a sweet jersey back in 2002, so he owed him a $4 million fund-raiser.

In May, former President George W. Bush offered the most hilariously tepid endorsement of Mitt Romney when he told ABC News that he supports the Republican nominee just as the doors of an elevator closed on him, offering no time for him to elaborate on his passion for Mitt. Tonight Romney made it clear that the feeling is mutual during two fund-raisers hosted by Dick Cheney. While Romney heaped praise on the controversial former vice-president in his twenty-minute speech, he didn't mention the last Republican president once.

Romney was expected to raise at least $4 million at two events helmed by Cheney. The first was held at a Wyoming country club where, according to NBC News, many attendees were "dressed in their Western finest — dark cowboy boots with suits." More than 500 donors paid $1,000 to $10,000 to hear Cheney and Romney speak, and dine on "prosciutto-wrapped shrimp, potstickers and crostini" paired with "wine and Amstel Lights." Later, roughly 250 donors, who paid $30,000 each, had a private dinner at Cheney's home.

In keeping with Romney's new focus on foreign policy ahead of his international tour later this month, Cheney said Romney is the "only man" qualified to lead the country through another terrorist attack. Cheney went on to discuss the most notable moment of the Bush administration (without naming his former boss, apparently):

There is always, sooner or later, a crisis, totally unanticipated. You can't plan on it, you don't know what it's going to be, but if you go through the campaigns and study the history books and talk to all the experts, sooner or later there's going to be a big surprise, usually an unpleasant one ... When I think about the kind of individual I want in the Oval Office in that moment of crisis, who has to make those key decisions, some of them life and death decisions, decisions as the commander in chief, who has the responsibility for sending our young men and women in harm's way. That man's Mitt Romney.

Romney returned the compliment by calling Cheney a "great American leader" and praising him for being a shadowy presence in American government for four decades:

He went back to Washington and served year after year after year — and not always in ways that achieved a lot of visibility. And at times when he achieved visibility, (it was) sometimes not the visibility he wanted, but in each case, put his country foremost in his life.

The Cheney fund-raiser wasn't the only thing contributing to Thursday's Bush Years: Where Are They Now? special. The Drudge Report posted a story claiming that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is now at the top of Romney's vice-president short list, despite the fact that our own Sherm-O-Meter has her ranked at the bottom, following her declaration last month that, "there is no way that I will do this." On Thursday, Romney also launched a new "Meet the VP" fund-raising drive, which reveals the announcement is set for "sometime soon."

While Rice is a favorite among conservatives, it's unclear if she possesses the requisite amount of comedic bungling for the job. Before beginning his remarks at the fund-raiser, Cheney offered a reminder of his own extremely dark brand of vice-presidential humor. While thanking his co-host Dick Scarlett for introducing him, Cheney said he's "a man of great courage. I know that because he hunts with me." Why doesn't Biden ever joke about that time he shot a friend in the face? (Oh, right.)