Cheney is an enigmatic figure who keeps his own counsel when outside the Oval Office.Unerringly hawkish, after 9/11 Cheney abandoned his 1991 qualms about US forces toppling Saddam Hussein, instead believing that Iraq, Iran, North Korea and Syria needed to be confronted and al-Qa'eda hunted down across the world.
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An intensely private man, Drudge, based in Los Angeles, is a former convenience store clerk and telemarketer whose father bought him a computer in 1994 because he was worried about his son's indolence.
A populist, anti-abortion, anti-tax, libertarian-leaning conservative, Drudge has his finger on the pulse of Middle America. NEWT GINGRICH Former Speaker of the House of Representatives He lead the Republican Revolution of 1994, when the Grand Old Party swept into power on a platform of smaller government, welfare reform and lower taxes - ending 40 years of Democratic rule in the House of Representatives.
Viewed as part of the realist school of foreign policy associated with George Bush Snr, Brent Scowcroft and James Baker, Gates had already advocated engagement with Iran and expressed private criticism of the conduct of the Iraq war.
Gates immediately introduced changes, firing senior officers involved in overseeing military facilities keeping wounded soldiers in squalid conditions, briefing reporters in sit-down sessions rather than confronting them and giving generals more leeway to argue their case.
A towering intellect, Gingrich is a one-man powerhouse of conservative ideas.
A polarising figure who still bears the scars from his battles with Bill Clinton over impeachment, he recently ruled out a presidential bid in 2008.Giuliani's performance after 9/11 made him an international figure and helped make a nation feel good about itself just after its darkest hour.But 9/11 is the centrepiece of the Giuliani campaign in more than just that respect - he is determined to confront America's enemies, including Iran, and has taken on an array of hawkish advisers.Drudge shot to prominence in 1998 when he broke the story of the Monica Lewinsky scandal as the mainstream media prevaricated.Such is his current power that his biggest detractors – Hillary Clinton and The New York Times – are among those who seek to get out their information ahead of the news cycle by courting him.As the US prepares for what is arguably the most open presidential election since 1928, the last time there was no incumbent president or vice-president on the ballot, the Daily Telegraph's Washington correspondents compile a list of the 100 most influential liberals and conservatives in America.