Cheney, noticeably thinner, lauds Bush at library groundbreaking

Holly Bailey

Former Vice President Dick Cheney looked thinner at a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday in Dallas for George W. Bush's planned presidential library. It was the first time Cheney has been seen at a major public event since he underwent surgery in July to install a heart pump implant.

The former VP, on hand to introduce Bush at the ceremony, made no mention of the quarrels Bush wrote of in his recently released memoir, "Decision Points." Rather, he praised Bush as a president who handled his job "with courage, with clarity and with strength of heart."

Though Cheney looked gaunt and somewhat frail compared with his days in the White House, he was his usual self, even managing to get in a dig at President Obama's stimulus plan at the ceremony. "This may be the only shovel-ready project in America," Cheney joked at one point, looking over his shoulder at Bush. According to the Bush foundation, the estimated $300 million library is already fully funded with private donations.

After the ceremony, Cheney walked off the stage with the help of a cane and posed for one photo with Bush and first lady Laura Bush as they held shovels. Then he excused himself early from the proceedings.

(Photo of Cheney and Bush by L.M. Otero/AP)