Memo to George #6
Operation Hide Dick is working like a charm.
By Bruce Kluger and David Slavin
Date: October 12, 2001
To: The President
From: Andrew H. Card Jr., Chief of Staff
Re: Covering Our Dick
cc: Karl, Karen
I'm still reeling. I mean, was that a press conference last night, or was it the lightning
round on celebrity "Jeopardy"? You were in such a zone that I was fully expecting
Wolf Blitzer to leap up and ask you to name the capital of Turkmenistan, to which
you'd casually reply, "What is Ashgabat? Now give me something tough, Beard
But the question on the mind of every coffee-breathed,
carpal-tunneled hack from the Punxsutawney Post to the
Tripoli Tribune still remains: Where's Dick? And while
you did a bang-up job "welcoming the vice president
back"—and while we've limited his public appearances
to Friday's chat with Jim Lehrer (aka, the Sominex Hour:
That show makes Charlie Rose look like a NASCAR
event), we need to return to Plan A as quickly as
possible—namely, letting the Vice President continue
to play sous chef to your Wolfgang Puck, keeping him
in the kitchen while you stay out front with your satisfied
The problem is: We're running out of "undisclosed secure locations." We can't send
Mr. C back to Camp D—the guy's getting major league cabin fever up there (he
doesn't bowl, for God's sake!)—and Bethesda Naval was always a lousy idea
(thanks for nothing, Ari). After all, if the veep gets within 25 yards of an ICU, an
alarm goes off in Bob Woodward's butt. Besides, Dick says the food there stinks.
So, the question remains: How do we keep the vice president close enough to be
your third-base coach, but far enough away to let America marvel at that sweet
swing of yours? Some suggestions:
1. BOCA RATON: Just got off the phone with your brother (Don't worry—we used
the supersecret line in the Blue Room crapper) and Jeb assures us he's got a nice
little "safe-house condo" a block from the beach, just in case Dick wants to take a
quick dip between bombing runs. (Think he wears a Speedo? Ewww.) We figure we
can keep him down there for at least a week. In fact, Jeb says Katherine Harris is
itching to drop by to offer Dick her insights on Afghani women. (Priceless! Now
there's a dame who could truly use a veil.) As for the media snooping around,
forget about it. Ever since the new Florida problem popped up (as opposed to the
old Florida problem), I haven't seen a single reporter south of Savannah.
2. SAN FRANCISCO: Yes, I know—it's a high-profile city with tons of ports of entry
(wink, wink). But, just the same, Karl guarantees us that nobody—but nobody—is
going to be looking for Dick Cheney in the Castro. As far as a safe house is
concerned, Dick's daughter has two friends (Chris and Pat) who've agreed to let
the vice president use the spare bedroom in their loft. The only thing they require is
that we outfit the veep in black jeans, a muscle tee and a studded dog collar (they
swear to us that this is for security purposes—it'll help him blend with the locals). As
for activities during this extended by-the-bay getaway, word has it that Frisco's
favorite son—and newly crowned HR king—Barry Bonds is eager to parlay his
sudden celebrity into a high post on our war effort. I think this is a splendid idea. His
sport is the American Pastime, after all, and I'd be hard-pressed to find an image
more likely to scare the turbans off the Taliban than a big black dude with a
baseball bat. If only he played for the Rangers.
3. ICELAND: The ultimate safe house. Too remote for skinflint journalists, too cold
for our desert-dwelling enemy and, strategically, not exactly Omaha Beach. Karen's
got a friend who's lending us a 2BR igloo for Dick in downtown Reykjavik, just a
snowball's throw from the Wendy's. It's the perfect hideaway—close enough for our
high-tech video linkups to work (the only satellite interference they get is an
occasional lost goose), but still so obscure that practically no one knows where it is.
(Yours truly just found out Tuesday that Iceland is not, in fact, Greenland.) As for
diplomatic activities, we've arranged for a three-hour powwow with Prime Minister
David ("Has Anyone Ever Heard of Me?") Doddsson, who's eager to tell Mr. C just
how Iceland plans to lend a hand to the coalition (Like what? Fling Eskimo Pies?).
Only problem with this ingenious locale: It's well known that the Icelandic women
are—how shall I put this?—hot enough to thaw out Martha Stewart's panty drawer.
And they're "friendly," too. That means Lynne—and Dick's cardiologist—will not be
pleased. But hey, like you said last night, we all have to make sacrifices during
P.S. Beautiful touch, by the way, asking kids across America to send you $1 each
for Afghan relief. A real tear-jerker. But, boy oh boy, who are we going to get to
stack up all them singles when the postman hauls them through the front portico?
Oh, well, Al Gore did say you were his commander.