There is concern growing among White House officials that VP Dick Cheney is a liability. With the election heating up, and with the polls close to even, efforts to distance the President from the VP seem to be appearing.
As the Dow Index slumped, the cost of petrol back up and pork bellies costing $7.38 a pound, officials privately admitted that the American Vice-President's business dealings have not gone as planned.
The Securities and Exchange Commission, America's financial watchdog, is investigating just how much it cost to slaughter pigs, and if people are really eating that much bacon because of the Adkins diet.
Last week, the stock market took a dive and speculators blamed it on VP Cheney. Until recently, the VP was the counting hand in the till, but he may have taken a tip as Mr Bush's mate for the 2000 election.
Among the candidates being secretly discussed around Washington to replace him are Ralph Nader, Condoleezza Rice, John Ashcroft, and George Tenet. Unfortunately, those names are no longer secret.
A GOP official said, "None of those have had myocardial infarctions".
He went on to add, "They have not made fortunes in other jobs, it seems to be an advantage that they have no police records and they support the war in Iraq as a liability."
VP Cheney is being investigated over allegedly questionable investing advice he traded with Martha Stewart. Ms. Stewart was employed at Halliburton's as its primary decorator. VP Cheney stated, "On her first day, she put fresh cut flowers in all the urinals, I thought that was real nice".
Ms. Stewart made $18.5 million (£11.8 million) from her stock trading advice. In return, Cheney was invited to appear on her show. Later the VP made profit from his sale of stock in the Stewart Corp. in August 2000. And although no longer a stock holder, the VP still appeared in numerous televised specials to prepare summer holiday dishes and discuss the affairs of Iraq.
Just last week, President Bush had to confront the subject in public. Asked in a restroom, during a break at a security conference, Marjorie Stolls-Worth asked, "Sir, will you lay off or just fire the VP"? President Bush said, "Yes, Ma'am."
Democrats, who are already demanding the resignation of Harvey, the invisible rabbit from an old Jimmy Stewart cine, asked President Bush what the VP's reply would be now that the financial watchdog was in the White House. President Bush just shrugged his shoulders and whistled.
A Democratic official from New Jersey stated" Sixty minute martinizing is really a lie. I find the adverts have it all wrong, ‘coz it's more like ninety minutes or so".
VP Cheney is keeping a low profile, but said on Friday that "he would just go fishing, while the administration would vigorously pursue corporate insurgents".
"When there are reports of fraud, the American people can be entertained until they forget the whole thing", he said. "Remember, we have Michael Jackson in the wings. Everyone loves a celebrity trial".
General Colin Powell, one of the most popular black figures in American public life, is being floated as a vice-presidential candidate by Republicans, who suggest that his presence would swing the vote in Florida. A White House Aide stated, "Controversy in Florida is still high after the way we treated them black folks last time around".
Dr. Rice has said publicly that she would not want to be VP, but President Bush feels her name sounds like a Mexican salad.