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Dick Cheney Returns To Standing Ovation In Wyoming

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Former Vice President Dick Cheney has returned to the state that helped launch his political career more than 40 years ago.

Cheney and his wife, Lynne, received a standing ovation Wednesday at the state Capitol where he began his political career as a legislative intern. Cheney, who recently strained his back moving boxes, sat in a wheelchair and carried a cane in his lap.

"I sit here on the floor of the Senate and think back to what I was doing 44 years ago," he said. "It was my very first political job, my first exposure to politics and public policy."

Cheney spoke to both houses of the Legislature for less than two minutes and did not make a direct mention of his years as vice president or the presidential transition in Washington.

The Senate passed a resolution welcoming the Cheneys home and inviting them to "lay their heavy burdens down, and fish and write to their hearts' content."

The former vice president has said he is thinking about writing a book, while Lynne Cheney has written several books and has a deal with Viking to write a book called "Founding Genius: A Biography of James Madison," set to be published in 2011.

Sen. Grant Larson, R-Jackson, who represents the Cheneys' home district, said most longtime area residents strongly support Cheney although the city was becoming increasingly liberal.

"Whether they agree or disagree with his policies and some of the things he's done, I think he should be held in very high esteem because he was a loyal and dedicated servant to Wyoming and the United States," Larson said.

After serving as an intern, Cheney became chief of staff to President Gerald Ford, represented Wyoming in Congress for six terms and served as defense secretary under George H.W. Bush. He was chief executive of the oil services company Halliburton before serving the past eight years as vice president.

Wyoming native Lynne Cheney praised the state, saying its values had been an anchor for the family through years of tumultuous public service.

"There's something so solid and strong about the values that run through Wyoming," she said.

The Cheneys have a home in Jackson and also plan to live part of the time in a new home in McLean, Va., just outside Washington.