Cheney's records won't be coming soon to Bush library at SMU

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by By LAURA ISENSEE / The Dallas Morning News lisensee@dallasnews.com

wfaa.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:46 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 16 at 1:14 PM

WASHINGTON - While former President George W. Bush's records have gone to Texas, Dick Cheney's are staying here, for now.

They do have a home at the future Bush library at Southern Methodist University. Whether they ever move there is up to Cheney.

Last fall, an architect for Bush's library indicated that Cheney's records and artifacts would be coming soon, but that apparently was a mix-up. Cheney wants them to remain in Washington as he writes his memoirs.

All vice presidents choose where to keep their official papers, which are handed over to the National Archives and Records Administration when they leave office.

Dan Quayle's joined former President George H.W. Bush's collection in College Station and even stayed with his boss' stuff in a converted bowling alley until his library opened at Texas A&M University.

Or, like Al Gore's records, they can stay in the nation's capital at the National Archives, just a few blocks from the White House.

Several months ago, Cheney wrote the National Archives, asking that the agency store his records in Washington.

A Cheney spokeswoman said the former vice president anticipated needing access to his records while working on his book.

"It made more sense and was more convenient to keep them in D.C.," said Lucy Tutwiler.

During talks last year, the National Archives suggested that Cheney's artifacts - like a set of gold Murano glass candlesticks and bowls from Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi - be sent to the Bush library. That way they could be displayed with Bush's items, including the 9 mm pistol that Saddam Hussein held when captured by American soldiers in Iraq.

"The VP preferred to have the VP artifacts remain with the records," said Sharon Fawcett, assistant archivist for presidential libraries.

Plans for the Bush library at SMU include space for new collections, including Cheney's archives. His official and personal records would need an estimated 6,000 cubic feet, according to the National Archives.

Last fall, e-mails between Bush architects and the archives, which ensures that the library meets federal standards, signaled that Cheney's records would be coming to Dallas.

In October, one architect wrote to the archives: "We received a call from [George W. Bush Foundation president] Mark Langdale that the Vice Presidential holdings will now be located at the GWBPL [George W. Bush Presidential Library]" and asked for guidance to update the library's designs.

But there was "a miscommunication," said Rob Saliterman, spokesman for the nonprofit Bush Foundation, which is in charge of building the library, museum and policy center.

He said Langdale wanted to make sure plans included enough space for Cheney's records, if they come to Dallas.

"The George W. Bush Presidential Library would welcome the vice president's records should a decision be made to locate them at the facility," he said.

As for their permanent home, there is no final decision, said the Cheney spokeswoman.

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