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Dick Cheney Discusses Importance of Choosing a Strong VP

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Not race, not gender, not backing from a large swing state with all its electoral votes – none of those attributes are as important for a vice presidential nominee as the ability to step up and take over as president, according to former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Speaking publicly for just the second time since undergoing a heart transplant last month, Cheney said it is important to remember that a presidential candidate’s choice for a running mate “is the first presidential-level decision you make,” and it helps voters decide if the presidential candidate is up to the task of serving as president.

“I think the single most important criteria has to be the capacity to be president – that’s why you pick them,” Cheney said. “[The selection] gives the public a chance to see what you’re like.”

Cheney admitted that particular preference has not always been the standard in past selections.

Cheney, who was released from Fairfax Hospital in Virginia on April 3, spoke for about 45 minutes to student interns at the Washington Center. He walked on and off the stage without assistance, appearing alert and engaged, although his voice seemed a bit huskier than normal.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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