U.S. President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney had originally refused to testify before the 9/11 Commission, and Bush refused to let National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice speak publicly. However, after former White House counter-terrorism chief Richard Clarke's damning assertions that the White House did not take the threat of Al Quaeda seriously enough, Bush relented and allowed Rice to testify in public. He has also agreed now give his own testimony and to allow Dick Cheney to provide testimony to the panel, however the two had several demands which were all agreed to by the panel.
The first few stipulations had been well publicized, however the final agreement drafted and signed by the President and Vice President today, agreeing to an April 15th private meeting with portions of the panel, has now been leaked to the press, revealing the exact stipulations to which the panel was forced to agree in order to obtain the testimony of Bush and Cheney. As was previously reported, the two will testify jointly for a period of no more than one hour in duration. In this time, there will be only the top two members of the 9/11 Commission present (both have a well established ‘rapport' with the two world leaders), along with one note taker and no recording devices of any kind. The signed contract also agrees that there shall be two 15 minute bathroom breaks during the meeting, and a snack to be served for approximately 20 minutes in the middle of the meeting. The format will be 2 ½ minutes of opening remarks by the committee, followed by the first 15 minute break. Then Bush will speak on the topic of his choice for 2 ½ minutes, followed by the 20 minute snack. Cheney will speak immediately after the snack on a topic of his choice for 2 ½ minutes, and another 15 minute bathroom break will commence. In the final 2 ½ minutes, the committee will read closing notes and thank the men for their cooperation.
But, the stipulations do not stop there. In order to get Bush to testify, the committee members had to agree to be pelted with oranges to be thrown by Bush's drunken daughters Barbara and Jenna while Bush testifies. Bush has also required that a big screen TV be present so that he can watch a Three Stooges film while the committee is meeting. Cheney's stipulations were even harsher, given his insistence that he be allowed to urinate on the note taker, and then beat him/her up and steal the notepad after the meeting. In a final stipulation, the committee had to sign an agreement much like the one they signed to gain Condoleeza Rice's public testimony wherein they agreed not to take the President's agreement to allow his National Security Advisor to testify before a Congressional body as precedent to allow such an action again. In this agreement, they stipulated that neither the President nor Vice President, in any year in which the administration was run by a member of the Republican party, could ever again be compelled by any governmental body to testify for any purpose whatsoever in perpetuity.
When asked for comment on what the two men were planning to say during their two and a half minute speeches, Bush said he was thinking of lip synching and playing air guitar to AC/DC's "Back In Black", while Cheney was quoted as saying, "I think I'll just fake another heart attack."