Washington DC - In response to a reporter's question on how John Edwards compares to Vice President Cheney, President Bush replied, "Dick Cheney could be president?" This remark drew a stunned silence from the assembled media and a quick, whispered confab between Mr. Bush and a number of his aides.
During this discussion, the President appeared pensive and was seen nodding several times. When the conversation was complete, Mr. Bush returned to the microphone and stated, "Dick Cheney can be president." He followed this statement by saying that if he, the President, were for some reason incapacitated, the Constitution provides for the Vice President to succeed him. Mr. Bush appeared uncertain as he delivered these remarks and appeared to be looking to his aides for assurance.
Doris Kerns Goodwin, a noted presidential historian, expressed surprise by President Bush's apparent unfamiliarity with the role of the Vice President. "It is hard to imagine that someone sitting in the Oval Office would not have a grasp of the basic workings of the Presidency," said Ms. Kerns Goodwin, "but in this case it is not entirely surprising."
Mr. Bush seemed distracted and uncomfortable for the remainder of the press conference. When aides were asked about the President's behavior, they confided - on condition of anonymity - that Mr. Bush was shaken when he learned that he was mortal and would die at some point.
"It was a tough blow for the big guy," said one aide, "he told us that he felt healthy and expressed worry about the prospect of death." According to the aide, Mr. Bush retired to the White House Family Quarters to enjoy the comfort and solace of "The Waltons" first season DVD.
Laura Bush, asked for comment on the situation while poking a panda with a broken car aerial at the National Zoo confided that the President often slipped into this type behavior when confronted with a deep personal challenge. "Almost every time things go a bit squishy in Georgie's head, he takes a TV trip to Walton Mountain. It's kind of sad really."
When asked to comment on President Bush's realization of the relationship of the President to the Vice President, Vice President Cheney slowly shook his head and laughed to himself saying, "that poor dumb bastard."