Staff Writer

Names such as Rudolph Giuliani, Condoleeza Rice, Tom Ridge and Tennessee's own Bill Frist circulated Congress last month as potential replacements for Vice President Dick Cheney in the upcoming 2004 presidential elections.
While the Democrats battled in state primaries, Republicans questioned who they would find on the presidential ticket with Bush this year. Some raised the possibility of Cheney being replaced by someone who could swing more minority and moderate votes, according to newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post.
The University of Tennessee College Republicans Vice President Aaron Chapman said every now and then politicians present their "fantasy" running mate but believes most people respect the job the president and vice president are doing.
That Republican mentality may have helped sway the President, who decided to keep Cheney on the Republican ticket despite voter uncertainty about the 63-year-old vice president's health, corporate ties and family controversies.
Cheney's four past heart attacks, his ties to Halliburton, one of the world's largest providers of products to oil gas companies, and his opposition to homosexual rights, despite his daughter being openly gay, have been big issues brought forth by Democrats in past months.
"These things show that the ticket is composed of real people, with strong business experience, unique family situations and health issues," Chapman said. "Bush and Cheney aren't career politicians. This is beneficial to the country. The issues with Halliburton happened well after Cheney's departure."
Several in Washington questioned the vice presidential candidate last month, including Washington Post columnist Jim Hoagland.
"Vice President Cheney's health seems fine now, but past heart problems raise a question mark for a rough campaign. Republicans in the Senate assume that Tennessee's Bill Frist would join the ticket if Cheney didn't run," he said.
Hoagland's assumption from the capital raised the attention of many Tennesseans who elected Frist, a well-known heart surgeon, to his position as senator.
Frist has served since his 1994 election, even being called on by Bush in his 2000 campaign. Frist released a statement in July 2000 about Cheney's initial nomination to the vice presidential ticket.
"Obviously it's a very personal decision, and I think he's made an outstanding choice. Dick Cheney is as good as they come," Frist said.
Republicans later elected Frist to the post of Senate Majority Leader in December 2002.
"Very few people vote for a ticket on the basis of who the running mate is, and it's important to have someone who doesn't overshadow the President," Chapman said. "Vice President Cheney does a good job in his role, and he also has the experience to help complete the President's domestic agenda."