updated 3/12/2008 1:04:23 PM ET 2008-03-12T17:04:23

Vice President Dick Cheney says it's important for the next commander-in-chief to follow through on President Bush's plans for a national missile defense system.

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Speaking to a dinner audience at the conservative Heritage Foundation Tuesday night, Cheney says there's "ample reason to continue working on missile defense." He says the country needs to be ready if the president gets an emergency call in the middle of the night.

The issue of who is best qualified to lead in an emergency has been a topic in the Democratic presidential campaign.

The dinner was to recognize the 25th anniversary of President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative.

Bush has set in motion a more modest version of Reagan's original plan.

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