John McCaslin

Cheney unplugged

Vice President Dick Cheney is about to come clean on his "run-ins with the law."

That's right, Mr. Cheney has a rap sheet: convicted not once, but twice, of drunken driving — and within an eight-month period — in 1962 and 1963, when he was 21 and 22.

It is just one of the intriguing subjects the vice president expands upon during 30-plus hours of interviews with Washington journalist Stephen F. Hayes for his upcoming book, "Cheney: A Revealing Portrait of America's Most Powerful Vice President."

Mr. Cheney also discusses the "incident" that nearly got him blackballed from working in Gerald Ford's White House; how he flunked out of Yale; his strained relationship with the Fourth Estate; his disagreement with President Bush on the dismissal of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld; the costliest mistakes in postwar Iraq; and how it came to be that he was chosen in the first place as Mr. Bush's running mate.

You can buy the book later this month.

Who needs a crowd?

"One man, standing by himself on a corner, wore an Uncle Sam suit and carried a small sign reading 'Impeach Bush.' "

So reads the White House pool report covering President Bush's visit yesterday to Parma, Ohio. Oh well, if nothing else, the lone protester certainly stood out.

Step right up

Tired of taking it on the chin when it comes to press coverage, much of it stateside, of the situation in Iraq, the White House is now regularly "responding to key myths" about the unpopular war.

No. 1 myth on yesterday's list of 13: "The war is lost."

Not so, says the White House, quoting Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of Multi-National Force-Iraq, as saying, "There is good prospect for progress in the months ahead." Meanwhile, Iraq's U.S. ambassador, Ryan Crocker, reports that "the level of violence is down in the two areas where the 'surge' is focused: Anbar and Baghdad."

The list also cites a "substantial drop" in sectarian slayings in Baghdad since January; arms caches being found at more than three times the rate of one year ago; tribal sheiks in Anbar and other provinces cooperating with U.S. and Iraqi forces against al Qaeda; attacks in Anbar at a two-year low; the recruitment of Iraqi police drawing thousands of candidates; and, perhaps most importantly, "signs of normalcy" in Baghdad and beyond, including "vibrant markets, professional soccer leagues and amusements parks."

Sell, sell, sell

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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