Thursday, February 16, 2006

Cheney's Puppet Show


President Bush said Thursday he was satisfied with Vice President Dick Cheney’s explanation about his shooting accident.

“I thought the vice president handled the issue just fine," he said in his first public comments regarding the accident. "I thought his explanation yesterday was a powerful explanation."

Bush said it was "a deeply traumatic moment for him and obviously it was a tragic moment for Harry Whittington." He said that the shooting "profoundly affected the vice president."

Bush sat on Cheney’s lap, his legs dangling down, while Cheney’s hand was thrust up a hole in his back. Cheney manipulated the president’s jaw while displaying an adept skill at ventriloquism. Not only did Cheney effectively disguise his voice, but his lips barely moved the entire time. The dummy sat and declared his satisfaction with the Vice President’s account of the hunting accident in Texas in which he shot a friend and did not notify the press for 24 hours. He also rebutted comments that the incident was an example of how secretive the White House is.

“Yesterday when he was here in the Oval Office I saw the deep concern he (Cheney) had about a person who he wounded," Bush said. "I thought yesterday's explanation was a very strong and important explanation to make to the American people."

Cheney effortlessly manipulated the puppet and nodded at its answers, acting pleased.

Like all good ventriloquist acts, the handler often acts completely calm or "straight" while the dummy often appears ruder, edgier, or livelier than the one handling him--a humorous juxtaposition. At an Oval Office photo opportunity after the event the puppet Bush appeared disconcerted when pressed about the shooting.

"I'm satisfied with the explanation he gave," Bush said tersely. “This photo opportunity is over. Dick, get me the hell out of here.”

Cheney then apologized and carried Bush off-stage.

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