Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday denied ever discussing a possible run for the presidency in 2004, urging the media to stop taking pot shots at her relationship with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
"Looking at the news from the past two days, I've found that some people are again disseminating rumors to try and raise the tension between President Chen and myself," Lu said yesterday while receiving a civil rights group at the Presidential Office.
Some local media reported on Monday that Lu told a close friend that Chen had already promised to nominate her as his running mate for the race in 2004.
Lu's office immediately denied the report.
However, a number of newspapers stuck to their guns yesterday, reporting that Lu is not interested in being Chen's vice presidential running mate and that she instead want to run for the presidency.
Responding to the reports, Lu yesterday stressed her loyalty to the president.
She asserted that since she and Chen assumed power, she, knowing that the vice president should not encroach on the president's authority, had focused on more "minor matters," such as civil rights and industrial development.
But Lu said that the media's obsession with her libel case against The Journalist, which said in November 2000 that she tried to spread information about an affair between Chen and a female aide, had created a long-term disturbance.
"When the Taipei district court ruled [last week] on [my] libel case against the magazine," Lu said, "I thought that all gossip about a supposedly tense relationship between the president and me would end. Unfortunately, some people continue to try and stir trouble in my relations with the president," Lu said.
Lu also took a shot at lawmakers and public servants who, she says, are concerned with nothing but the next election.
"I will say that, while politicians worry over their next election, statesmen worry about the welfare of the next generation," Lu said.
"Therefore, I hope that the nation's people do not fall prey to such rumors."
Secretary-General to the President Chen Shih-meng (
"I think it would be impossible for the vice president to reveal such information so haphazardly," Chen said. "It [the comment about Lu's intention to run for the presidency] came neither from the Presidential Office nor the DPP."