Vice President Richard Cheney has spent more than three decades in U.S. politics, serving both in Congress and under four different presidents.


Mr. Cheney was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1941 and grew up in Casper, Wyoming.  He attended the University of Wyoming, earning a bachelor's and master's degrees.


In 1969, he joined the Nixon administration, and in 1975, he became the youngest-ever White House chief of staff under President Gerald Ford.


From 1978 until 1989, Mr. Cheney served as Wyoming's sole congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives. 


He left Congress to join the first Bush administration as defense secretary, where he directed both the invasion of Panama in 1989 as well as the Gulf War of 1990-1991.


Before becoming vice-president in 2000, Mr. Cheney took a short break from politics -- serving as CEO of the power and construction giant, Halliburton.


As a politician, Mr. Cheney has continually championed strong defense spending and a conservative social agenda.  He also has criticized Congress for what he believes is its efforts to encroach on the Executive Branch.


Mr. Cheney has been beset by health problems, suffering three heart attacks and undergoing quadruple bypass surgery.


He and his wife, Lynne, have two grown daughters.