Weekend Watchdog:Unanswered Questions

Bill Scher

Vice President Dick Cheney should have been asked three basic questions during his appearance on CBS’ “Face The Nation” Sunday.

1. Why was the President claiming that if Democrats didn’t pass unconditional war funding, tours of duty in Iraq would be extended, when in fact, your administration already had plans in place to extend tours of duty? (See Eschaton for background.)

2. The White House has insisted it replaced U.S. Attorneys for policy reasons, in particular, for better pursuit of voter fraud. But if good policy was the concern of the White House, why would they fire prosecutors who refused to file voter fraud charges against Democrats without solid evidence?

3. Your right-hand man I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice. The lingering question is: Did he lie to prosecutors to hide your role in revealing Valerie Wilson’s identity?

Did these questions get answered? Not really. The closest CBS’ Bob Schieffer came was in regards to Scooter Libby. While he didn’t forcefully ask if Scooter Libby lied to prosecutors to hide Cheney’s role in revealing Valerie Wilson’s identity, he did ask: “Do you, in any way, feel responsible for what happened to him?” And he followed up with, “I ask you that because, as you well know, Senator Schumer said that he was the fall guy for you.”

Cheney, not surprisingly, ducked all PlameGate questions by saying it would be “inappropriate” to discuss the case.

Regarding the prosecutor purge, Schieffer broached the general subject, but did not specifically ask about the Bush administration’s partisan pursuit of voter fraud cases. Cheney slipped out of answering questions by saying:

I don’t know anything about the particular problem you’re talking about. I mean, this took place inside the Justice Department.

But the administration’s argument has been the president was setting Justice Department’s policies, like prioritizing voter fraud. The V.P. has no argument to avoid questions about presidential directives. Yet Schieffer did not press the point.

Finally, there was no question about the connection that Eschaton made, that the Pentagon was already planning on extended troop deployments while Bush was claiming Democratic legislation would cause such extensions.

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