Cheney's Future: A Hairy Story

Vice President Dick Cheney addresses an audience of business leaders at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, Monday, March 29, 2004. Cheney asserted that Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry would sweep away a host of Bush administration-sponsored tax cuts if elected.
Dotty Lynch is the Senior Political Editor for CBS News. E-mail your questions and comments to Political Points

I have to confess I have resisted the Dump Cheney story. Not that I'm not tempted. Now that we have put to bed the McCain and Hillary for Kerry's VP boomlets, the Cheney on-or-off is the logical next step in fantasy politics. But on this story I have an ironclad source. In addition to every Republican I know and trust who says there is nothing to it, I have a silver bullet: my hairdresser. Cheney and I share him – along with about 40 or 50 Washington Post reporters since his shop is near the Post and the White House. Actually, he does Mrs. Cheney's hair and only occasionally snips a little off the top and (mainly) the sides of the Veep. But it's a tie that binds.

And our hairdresser is going to the Republican convention in New York. No ifs ands or buts. That's a better source than any cited on the front page of Thursday's New York Times. Their story of the "Cheney getting dumped" rumors appears to come heavily from Democratic operatives and a very former Sen. Al D'Amato saying he thought Cheney should get off the ticket.

But I sympathize with the Times staff. Those of us who have to work in Washington in July are wasting lot of time on this story and have to figure out ways to let our editors know we are really, really checking it out. Here's how an average day goes:

Democratic Source: Hearing anything about Cheney being dumped?
Political Reporter: No, are you?
DS: Yes it's all over the place. Have you seen the latest polls? .
PR: What polls?
DS: Yours. His unfavorable rating is through the roof.
PR: Well, it's been like that for a while.
DS: Well, he and Bush are on the outs.
PR: How do you know?
DS: A kid who plays with my kid says his mom has a friend who works for Cheney and he's really tough on the staff these days.
PR: Hmm.
DS: And you know they've replaced his doctor with a new one who will say he has to get off the ticket for his health.
PR: Hmm. Ok. I'll check around.

PR: Hello, Bush-Cheney campaign source? Anything going on with Cheney?
Bush-Cheney Campaign Source: Yes he's going to the 150th Congressional District to raise money for the ticket, then to Lansing, Mich., and Waterloo Iowa. Then he's speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations and the NRA.
PR: Yeah, but I mean, is he getting off the ticket?
BCCS: You blankety-blank reporters, conspiracy theorists…what happened? You read The New York Times again?
PR: Just checking. Ok, he's still on? No change?

Editor: I just got back from lunch with this big Democratic guy who says Cheney is on the outs with Bush and he's looking for a new doctor who will say he has to leave the ticket because if his heart. .
PR I just checked it out. Nothing to it.
E: Well, there's a lot of chatter. Are you sure nothing's happening?
PR: I'll check again.

PR: Hello hairdresser. Still going to New York?
Hairdresser: Sure am. Hope to take in some shows.
PR. Oh, you'll have enough time to see shows? Maybe because you'll have no client?
H: What are you talking about? Are you switching hairdressers?
PR: No, no. Never mind

PR: Hello Editor. Just checked it out. Nothing to it.
Editor: What, didn't you see the front page of The New York Times? Rumors are everywhere.
PR: Rumors, rumors? You believe those?

PR: Hello, hairdresser? Are you sure you're still going to New York?

By Dotty Lynch