Less than a week after his former chief of staff was convicted on four counts of perjury, Vice President Dick Cheney is scheduled to address the most important annual conference of pro-Israel activists.
This marks the second year in a row that the vice president will speak at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s benchmark event. Cheney represents the Bush administration’s hardest line on containing Iran’s nuclear program, a central strategy for the pro-Israel lobby powerhouse known as Aipac.
He is scheduled to speak March 12, six days after his former chief of staff, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, was convicted by a jury on four of five counts. Libby, who is Jewish, was among the top Bush administration officials accused of leaking the identity of Valerie Plame, a CIA operative, to reporters in 2003 as part of a campaign to discredit her husband, Joseph Wilson, a prominent Iraq War critic. Prosecutors decided against charges related to the leak of classified information but went forward with charges that Libby obscured his role in the leak from prosecutors.
Cheney arrived at last year’s Aipac conference with an approval rating of less than 20%. But the vice president was received enthusiastically, drawing 48 rounds of applause from the 4,500 assembled delegates — including eight standing ovations.