Cheney Watch

By Dan Froomkin
11:35 AM ET, 02/18/2009

Following up on Thomas M. DeFrank's story in the New York Daily News yesterday, Jim Rutenberg and Jo Becker write in the New York Times: "Dick Cheney spent his final days as vice president making a furious last-ditch effort to secure a pardon for his onetime chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby Jr., leaving him at odds with former President George W. Bush on a matter of personal loyalty as the two moved on to private life, according to several former officials.

"The officials said Tuesday that Mr. Cheney's lobbying campaign on behalf of Mr. Libby was far more intense than previously known, with the vice president bringing it up in countless one-on-one conversations with the president. They said Mr. Bush was unyielding to the end, already frustrated by a deluge of last-minute pardon requests from other quarters....

"Several associates of Mr. Cheney said that a pardon for Mr. Libby became a nearly solitary goal for the vice president in his final days in office, his mission bolstered at home by his wife, Lynne, and daughter Elizabeth, both of whom had grown close to Mr. Libby over the years....

"Mr. Bush's refusal to give way has created a deep divide between the Bush and Cheney camps."

Maureen Dowd writes in her New York Times opinion column: "After so many years of getting W. to do so much of what he wanted, by giving the insecure president the illusion of deference and a lack of personal ambition, it must have been infuriating to Cheney to have W. turn a deaf ear....

"By not pardoning Cheney's alter ego, who plied his dark arts trying to discredit Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson and then lied to protect his boss, W. was clearly saying he thought that Libby, and by extension Cheney, did something wrong.

"But it's not clear whether W. is simply pouting because Cheney's machinations blackened his legacy, or if, at long last, he fathoms the morality of it, that Cheney did hideous things to the Constitution."

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