The reason Dick Cheney disclosed his big lesbian daughter to George w. Bush before the future president chose the oil executive as his running mate was not to head off any potential GOP backlash, Bush writes in Decision Points, but because Cheney wanted to see if Bush would be a compassionate conservative.

The president dresses up history in his book like so:

By the time Dick came to the ranch to deliver his final report, I had decided to make another run at him. As he finished his briefing, I said, “Dick, you are the perfect running mate.”

While I had dropped hints before, he could tell I was serious this time. Finally, he said, “I need to talk to Lynne.” I took that as a promising sign. He told me that he had had three heart attacks and that he and Lynne were happy with their life in Dallas. Then he said, “Mary is gay.” I could tell what he meant by the way he said it. Dick clearly loved his daughter. I felt he was gauging my tolerance. “If you have a problem with this, I’m not your man,” he was essentially saying.

I smiled at him and said, “Dick, take your time. Please talk to Lynne. And I could not care less about Mary’s orientation.”

As Salon‘s Justin Elliot notes, this wouldn’tbe the first time gayness was a role in a presidential candidate picking a VP: Ronald Reagan looked past the late Jack Kemp because of all those gay rumors. But it must certainly comfort America’s conservative gays to hear the former president didn’t care about his soon-to-be VP’s daughter’s sexuality. Or at least he didn’t let it get in the way of using gay rights to get elected.

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