Dick Cheney - The Next Spiro Agnew (Can Cheney Learn To Pronounce Nolo Contendere?)

The White House has suddenly sprung a lot of leaks, just like a sinking

Dubya-Cheney ties
frayed by scandal
'There has been some distance for some time'


WASHINGTON - The CIA leak scandal has peeled back the veil on the most
closely held White House secret of all: the subtle but unmistakable
erosion in the bond between President Bush and Vice President Cheney.
Multiple sources close to Bush told the Daily News that while the vice
president remains his boss' valued political partner and counselor, his
clout has lessened - primarily as a result of issues arising from the
Iraq war.
"The relationship is not what it was," a presidential counselor said.
"There has been some distance for some time."
A senior administration official termed any such suggestion
"categorically false."
Several sources said the distance is certain to accelerate with the
Oct. 28 indictment of Lewis (Scooter) Libby, Cheney's former chief of
staff and geopolitical soul mate.
"Cheney is wounded by this," a longtime Bush associate said. Outwardly,
there is little to suggest anything is amiss. Cheney, wife Lynne and
their two daughters were guests, for example, at last week's A-list
Bush dinner for the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.
Earlier this year, Bush praised Cheney at a GOP campaign dinner as a
"steady adviser, the solid rock - and what a decent man he is. I'm
proud to be serving with him for four more years."
"The public side of the relationship hasn't changed," a close
presidential loyalist said. "The private side of the relationship is
not to the degree it used to be. Cheney has been his gray-haired senior
adviser. That's the void that needs to be filled."
Other sources familiar with Bush's thinking say Cheney's zealous
advocacy for what has become a troubled Iraq policy has taken a toll -
especially since Cheney's predictions about how Iraq would play out
have proven optimistic.
These sources also said Libby's indictment was a wakeup call for White
House aides who have long believed the Cheney national security
operation has enjoyed too much of a free hand in administration
"The vice president's office will never be quite as independent from
the White House as it has been," said a key Bush associate. "That will
"Cheney never operated without a degree of [presidential] license, but
there are people around who cannot believe some of the advice [Bush]
has been given."
The source declined to offer any specifics, citing the extraordinary
sensitivity surrounding the Bush-Cheney relationship.
The News reported on Oct. 24 that Bush has told associates Cheney was
overly immersed in intelligence issues in the runup to the 2003 Iraq
A highly placed source said the President believes Cheney "got too
deeply concerned with being portrayed as the source of the Wilson
"It's not clear if Cheney was trying to protect Bush or trying to
protect Cheney," the source added.
After Cheney expressed interest in reports Saddam Hussein tried to buy
weapons-grade uranium in Africa, the CIA sent ex-Ambassador Joseph
Wilson to Niger to check out the claims. Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame,
was later exposed as a CIA operative after Wilson criticized the Bush
administration's rationale for going to war with Iraq.

Originally published on November 8, 2005


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