WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush says he wants Vice President Dick Cheney to join him for any 2004 re-election run, a prospect Cheney has already said he would relish.
"Should I decide to run, Vice President Cheney will be my running mate," Bush said Thursday during a wide-ranging news conference. "There's no reason for me to change."
Cheney's position on the 2004 ticket had been the subject of heightened speculation because of his heart condition. At 61, Cheney has had four heart attacks, though none as vice president.
More recently, Cheney's value in 2004 has been questioned because of his connection to a corporate accounting scandal. The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating accounting practices at Halliburton Co. while Cheney was its chief executive officer.
"He's done an excellent job," Bush said. "I appreciate his advice, I appreciate his counsel, I appreciate his friendship."
Bush gave the assurance of his No. 2's standing when asked if he would rather replace Cheney with someone who would want to seek the White House for the GOP after Bush leaves.
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