Mary Cheney, lesbian daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, will publish a memoir under Mary Matalin's new conservative imprint at Simon & Schuster, the company announced Tuesday. Cheney was a top aide during her father's campaigns in 2000 and 2004 and has drawn much political attention because of her sexual orientation. "The first time I campaigned with my father I was 8 years old," Cheney said in news release issued by Simon & Schuster. "I've been involved with campaigns as a family member, a staffer, and, though I certainly never intended it, as a political target for the other side."
Cheney's sexual identity became a subject of controversy during the 2004 campaign after presidential candidate John Kerry mentioned that she is a lesbian when asked during a debate with President Bush whether homosexuality is formed at birth. "We're all God's children," Kerry said then. "And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was. She's being who she was born as. I think if you talk to anybody, it's not a choice."
The Republican vice president and his wife, Lynne Cheney, accused Kerry of using their daughter's sexual orientation for political gain, despite that fact that vice presidential candidate John Edwards had already brought it up in a previous debate and despite the fact that Dick Cheney himself had brought it up on the campaign trail months earlier. Lynne Cheney said Kerry's statements amounted to a "cheap and tawdry political trick."
Matalin said the book would give Mary Cheney a chance to give her own perceptions and reflections on the issue, which she was unable to do while working on the campaign. "All the Cheneys are great writers, and she's no exception," Matalin told the Associated Press, probably not intending to reference Lynne Cheney's 1981 lesbian-themed book Sisters. "What I have seen on paper so far is great." Mary Cheney chose the imprint for several reasons, her lawyer Robert Barnett said. "Mary Matalin has the Simon & Schuster engine pulling her imprint's train," Barnett said. "She is a long-standing friend and colleague of Mary Cheney's. She is about as smart as they come and is one of the public relations geniuses of our day."
The Simon & Schuster Inc. press release did not say how much the company paid for the book. Cheney's memoir is the first acquisition for Matalin's imprint, Threshold, which is expected to release six to 10 books a year. Matalin, a Republican pundit and strategist, also is known as the wife-sparring partner of Democratic consultant James Carville. (AP, with additional reporting by Advocate.com)