Handshake

Then-Vice President Dick Cheney shakes the hand of then-Sen. Conrad Burns while then-Rep. Denny Rehberg watches during a fundraiser for Rehberg at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center in Billings in 2006.

Gazette Staff

It's been more than a decade since a sitting vice president visited Billings, according to Gazette archives.

Then-Vice President Dick Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming, spoke at the Billings Hotel for 20 minutes on Oct. 2, 2006, according to Gazette archives. One-hundred-and-fifty people paid $250 a plate to see the vice president speak.

Like the upcoming visit of Vice President Mike Pence, Cheney's visit was aimed at boosting the chances of a Republican candidate in a race for Montana's lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Pence will speak at the Montana Pavilion at MetraPark Friday at 6 p.m. Doors open at 4 p.m., and the event is free.

The 2006 fundraiser was on behalf of Rep. Denny Rehberg, but Cheney also spoke out against Republican Sen. Conrad Burns' Democratic opponent, then-State Sen. Jon Tester.

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Vice President Dick Cheney

Then-Vice President Dick Cheney speaks during a fundraiser for then-Rep. Denny Rehberg at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center in Billings on Oct. 2, 2006. Current Vice President Mike Pence will speak at the Montana Pavilion of MetraPark Friday at 6 p.m. Doors open at 4 p.m., and the event is free.

Cheney attacked Tester for his opposition to the Patriot Act, a piece of legislation passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that granted law enforcement and certain federal agencies unprecedented powers, which some critics have said are in violation of the privacy rights of U.S. citizens.

Referring to the Iraq War, Cheney said "retreat has failed in the past ... betraying friends only heightens the danger to America," and he urged attendees to "reject this defeatism," of the war.

Cheney highlighted the Bush administration's economic policies, specifically pointing to tax cuts that he credited with fueling economic growth. Despite his promise that more people were working and the standard of living for American workers was "on the rise," only one of the two congressional candidates Cheney stumped for that night would return to Washington after the election's conclusion. 

Neither then-Democratic State Rep. Monica Lindeen nor Libertarian candidate Mike Fellows were able to defeat Rehberg. Tester, however, won his race against Burns. 

Prior to Cheney, the last sitting vice president to visit Billings was Dan Quayle, vice president under George H.W. Bush, in 1992.

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Night Reporter

General assignment reporter for The Billings Gazette.