WASHINGTON, DC - Vice President Cheney signed on to a brief filed by a majority of Congress yesterday that urged the Supreme Court to uphold a ruling that the District of Columbia's handgun ban is unconstitutional, breaking with his own administration's official position.
In order to create an electrifying press conference and focus on his first break with the administration, Cheney invoked his rarely used status, being introduced as "President of the United States Senate, Richard B. Cheney." Senate Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper Terrance W. Gainer, when introducing Cheney, uttered the word "senate" so softly, that for a beat or two, everyone in the room thought Cheney had finally executed the coup he'd begun planning in the late fall of 2000, no longer willing to play second fiddle.
What Cheney did not talk about during his announcement was why he was siding against the administration. Moments after the briefing concluded, senior members of the administration began the biggest leak of information in the modern history. These leaks by a number of administration officials offer insight into the decision making methods and experiences in the Bush/Cheney White House.
To a one, these senior administration officials indicated that Cheney wanted to take up quail hunting on the White House lawn, and he feared the District's ban would limit him to a super-sized water gun.
President Bush is reported to have uttered, in response to learning about the Vice President's announcement, "Dick's always asking me to go hunting with him, but we all know how he covets my office. I wouldn't trust him near me with a loaded weapon."
Following the announcement on Capital Hill, Cheney returned to the White House to work the phones in gaining support from the justices at the Supreme Court.