NEW YORK (AP) – For the second time in recent months, the dean of New York’s congressional delegation has questioned whether Vice President Dick Cheney is fit for the duties of his office.

In an interview in August on NY1, the New York City-based all-news channel, Rep. Charles Rangel suggested that Cheney might be too sick to perform his job. On Friday evening, Rangel was asked in a follow-up talk on the station if he thought Cheney should step down. “He should never have stepped up in the first place,” Rangel said. “He’s too old for the job and doesn’t have the experience.”

Later in Friday’s interview, Rangel finished off a list of problems he had with Bush administration policies by adding: “I would like to believe he’s sick rather than just mean and evil.”

The issue first came up when Rangel was interviewed on Aug. 27 and asked if he thought that President Bush was taking too much vacation time.

“Oh no, it makes the country a lot more safe,” Rangel said. “The further Bush is away from Washington, the better it is. And sometimes I don’t even think Cheney is awake enough to know what’s going on.”

Rangel then pointed out that Cheney has heart disease.

Cheney has had four heart attacks, and a pacemaker was placed in his chest in June 2001. An annual heart checkup in July found him in good health.

AP-ES-10-01-05 0601EDT


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