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Cheney warns graduates of life's twists

Published May 20, 2006

BATON ROUGE, La. - Washed out at Yale. Never quite got that doctorate. Tossed out of a big job interview.

Vice President Dick Cheney gave college graduates a good-natured tour Friday of some of the detours in his life as he counseled them to be ready to roll with life's punches.

"Setbacks in life can stop you dead in your tracks, or they can inspire you to move forward," he told more than 3,000 graduates at commencement exercises at Louisiana State University.

Life rarely turns out as planned, he said. Cheney said that when he graduated from the University of Wyoming, he expected to go on to graduate school, a doctorate and a life in academia.

"Be on watch for those certain moments, and certain people, that come along and point you in a new direction," he said.

The vice president, 65, cited his first disastrous meeting with now-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld back in the 1960s, when Rumsfeld was a congressman and Cheney was interviewing for a fellowship on Capitol Hill.

"Things didn't go all that well," Cheney recounted. "In fact, he pretty much threw me out of his office."

Rumsfeld, as it turned out, a few months later gave Cheney his first job in the executive branch and later hired him to work in the Ford White House.

"I can promise you that there will be people like this in your life - who keep an eye on you, and reward your efforts, and help bring out your strengths."

Cheney's visit to Louisiana was part of the Bush administration's effort to maintain a visible presence in the gulf region and to blunt complaints about a sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina.

[Last modified May 20, 2006, 07:56:47]

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