Ed Bailey  /  AP file
Lynne Cheney, shown in a May 20 file photo, says her husband has been "sorely tried" by attacks on his integrity.
updated 7/12/2004 9:42:54 AM ET 2004-07-12T13:42:54

Vice President Dick Cheney’s wife, Lynne, said Sunday that his profane comments to a Democratic senator late last month were both understandable and out of character.

“He’s more likely to say, ’Put a sock in it,”’ she said on CNN’s Late Edition.

The vice president cursed at Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont during a confrontation on the Senate floor while members were having their annual group picture taken.

Senate aides said later that Cheney confronted Leahy about some of the Democrat’s critical comments about Cheney and alleged improprieties in Iraq military contracts awarded to Halliburton Co. Cheney ran Halliburton before becoming vice president.

Cheney reportedly told Leahy “Go f--- yourself.”

“It’s very unusual,” Lynne Cheney said of her husband’s cursing. “But he was sorely tried, if I may say so, by someone attacking his integrity and then pretending to be his best friend. I think that’s what set it off.”

She added, “The way Dick did it, it was a private comment.”

“You wouldn’t know it from the amount of publicity that it’s garnered, but John Kerry used the same word in an on-the-record interview about the president of the United States,” she said.

When interviewed about the Iraq war, Kerry told Rolling Stone magazine earlier this year he “didn’t expect Bush to f--- it up this much.”

Lynne Cheney said her husband’s comments were not to a reporter, but were “in a private setting.”

“I can understand, when people are pushed to extremes that in a private setting they might say something unusual,” she said.

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