A recent Washington Post expos© on Dick Cheney revealed that the vice president often gives secret guidance to President Bush that frequently dictates the president’s final decision on key issues.
This morning on CNN, Joe Wilson said the Post series was an affirmation of Cheney’s negative influence throughout the administration. “I see the fine hand of Dick Cheney everywhere. I admit my bias on that,” he said. “But of course I read ‘The Washington Post’ four-part series last week, and I’ve seen the hand of the vice president in the trail of the covert identity of a CIA officer, as have the rest of the world now.”
At this afternoon’s White House press conference, reporters peppered Tony Snow with questions about Cheney’s possible involvement in the pardon, which Snow refused to answer. “Did the vice president weigh in?” one reporter asked. “I’m sure that everybody had an opportunity to share their views,” Snow replied, failing to note that Bush issued his decision without much consultation.
Later, Snow waffled on Cheney’s involvement, stating on the one hand, “I’m sure that the vice president may have expressed an opinion,” but then backtracking. “He may have recused himself. I honestly don’t know.” Watch it:
One reporter asked Snow if he is aware of any plans Vice President Cheney may have to bring Scooter Libby back into his office. “I don’t have any idea. This is not something that’s come up,” Snow responded.
UPDATE: Raw Story has more.
QUESTION: Did the vice president weigh in?
SNOW: My guess is that — I don’t have direct knowledge. But on the other hand, the president did consult with most senior officials, and I’m sure that everybody had an opportunity to share their views.
QUESTION: Was it appropriate for the vice president to weigh in about the fate of his own friend and someone who had served him for years?
SNOW: I — you know, I’m sure that the vice president may have expressed an opinion. But the fact is, the president understands the — he may have recused himself. I honestly don’t know.
QUESTION: Did he ask for the president to spare his friend?
SNOW: We never, as you know, talk about internal deliberations. Nice try. I mean, this is exactly what we’re talking about right now before the House and Senate. And we are not going to characterize specifically any kind of advice or plea that somebody may make.
QUESTION: Doesn’t the public deserve to know if the vice president asked the president to use this constitutional authority to spare his former aide and longtime friend from prison?
SNOW: Well, let me put it this way: The president does not look upon this as granting a favor to anyone, and to do that is to misconstrue the nature of the deliberations
QUESTION: There are some on the right who are very interested in the idea of a full pardon, and they are pointing out that a convicted felon can serve in the government. If Vice President Cheney wants to bring Scooter Libby back into his office…
SNOW: I don’t have any idea. This is not something that’s come up.