Now We Know: Cheney Stewing (at Bush) at Starbucks
Sorry, folks, but Dick Cheney just keeps cropping up. (Fine, unfurl your fury in the comments section.)
We now know that the ex-vice president has a "transition" office across the river in McLean, Va., a sort of halfway house to help him transition back to private life. The transition office has a staff (except for a spokesperson or anyone authorized to speak for him). And it is there that Cheney apparently is stewing over President Bush's refusal to pardon former veep chief-of-staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby.
It would appear that as Bush and Cheney retreat into the annals of history, there is no love lost between the two men.
Tom DeFrank of the New York Daily News writes about Cheney's anger at Bush over the Libby matter in today's paper:
Several sources confirmed Cheney refused to take no for an answer. "He went to the mat and came back and back and back at Bush," a Cheney defender said. "He was still trying the day before Obama was sworn in."
After repeatedly telling Cheney his mind was made up, Bush became so exasperated with Cheney's persistence he told aides he didn't want to discuss the matter any further.
"Exasperated," is the word DeFrank uses to describe Bush. But a source tells the Sleuth that Bush's reaction went beyond exasperation. He apparently expressed his opposition to pardoning Libby in "far more vigorous terms" to Cheney, the source says.
We called Cheney's transition office for comment and Lucy Tutwiler answered the phone. Lucy is the niece of Margaret Tutwiler, the famous spokeswoman from the Reagan and Bush 41 administrations. (Aunt Margaret, of course, was the longtime spinmeister and confidant of James Baker, who is a close friend and hunting buddy of Cheney.)
Lucy Tutwiler said she couldn't speak on the record for Cheney but would give him our request for comment, as well as our request to interview the vice president over skim lattes at his transition office, which, under the Presidential Transition Act of 1963, he is entitled to for six months after leaving office.
The issue of whether to pardon Scooter Libby seems to have hardened the already divided Cheney and Bush factions. Take Cheney sympathizer Quin Hillyer at the American Spectator, for example, who writes the following in response to DeFrank's story:
I spent eight years wishing that Dick Cheney had been president rather than George W. Bush. Here's another example where Cheney was right and Bush was dead wrong: Cheney really fought to get Bush to pardon Scooter Libby. Libby wasn't guilty of perjury. At worst, he had a bad memory. But based on Tim Russert's own flagrant "memory lapses," there is every reason to believe that it was Russert's memory, not Libby's, that was faulty. Either way, Liby deserved a pardon. Bush didn't want to take the heat for such a pardon. Either that, or else his refusal to pardon was a passive-aggressive move to punish Cheney's team for supposedly embarrassing Bush or at least causing unwanted controversy one too many times. Shame on Bush.
Or as President Bush once famously said, "Fool me once, shame on...(pause) you. Fool me, can't get fooled again."
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