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More Cheney Chronicles

"Rockefeller would periodically produce these big proposals and he'd go in for his weekly meeting for the president and often-times give him these proposals. At the end of the day I'd go down for the wrap-up session and the president would say, 'Here, what are we going to do with this?' And I'd say, 'Well, we'll staff it out.' So I would take it and put it into the system. It would go to OMB and go to the Treausury and all the other places that had a say in his Council of Economic Advisers. Of course the answer would always come back , 'This is inconsistent with our basic policy of no new starts,' so it would get shot down."

He would later describe this role as putting "sand in the gears." The phrase "we'll staff it out" quickly became a euphemism for killing one of Rockefeller's projects.

Understandably, Rockefeller came to blame Cheney (and Rumsfeld before him) for his frusturation. In their private discussions, President Ford would seem receptive to --if noncommittal about--his grand plans. But once Cheney got involved, his proposals would die a slow death.
Isaac Chotiner