ConocoPhillips White House Lecture Series: An Inside look at the American Vice Presidency

On April 5th, Vice President Mike Pence and former Vice Presidents Dick Cheney and Dan Quayle discussed the modern vice presidency and shared memories of the 41st President during the 2019 CononcoPhillips White House Lecture at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Center. The historic, invitation-only event — titled “An Inside Look at the American Vice Presidency” — was the first major event to be hosted by the George & Barbara Bush Foundation since President Bush’s funeral in December 2018.

During his keynote address, Vice President Pence lauded President Bush saying: “Truthfully, the legacy of George Herbert Walker Bush is a lifetime of service. Those of you who cherish his memory, and those of you who generously contribute to this great institution’s efforts to preserve it for future generations, know that story. But it’s remarkable to think he flew 58 combat missions in World War II, served as a congressman, an ambassador to the U.N., an envoy to China, a CIA Director, and went on to serve as Vice President and President of the United States. But … he also left America, during that season of his service, and the world, more peaceful, prosperous, and secure. And in every office he held, he showed a character and a humility that did his family proud and did our nation proud.”

Former ABC News White House Correspondent Ann Compton moderated a discussion on the evolving vice presidency between former Vice Presidents Cheney and Quayle during which Quayle said President Bush was clear about his expectations for being second in command. “He told me there are only two things about being Vice President,” Quayle said. “One: be prepared. Be in all of the meetings so you can be prepared if something does happen. Number two: loyalty. He made sure I was prepared and he expected loyalty. The relationship he had with Ronald Reagan was very similar to the relationship I had with him.” Vice President Cheney, meanwhile, recalled how on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 he was picked up by a Secret Service agent and rushed to a fortified room below the White House. “I had no idea where we were going,” Cheney joked, “but I wasn’t gonna argue with him.” He added: “The first thing I did was get on the phone and talk to the president in Florida,” Cheney said. “That started our process. We wanted to make sure the line of succession was safe.”

Compton also joined filmmaker Jeffrey Roth in giving a sneak preview of his upcoming documentary “President in Waiting,” which features interviews from Pence, Quayle, Cheney and all living former presidents and vice presidents, and examines the evolution of the modern vice presidency. Guests in attendance included U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance, Texas A&M System Board of Regents Chair Charles Schwartz, Texas A&M President Michael K. Young, and members of the Bush Foundation’s board and advisory council. Prior to the event, Vice President Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence, Cheney and Quayle visited George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush’s grave site on the grounds of the Bush Library to pay their respects.