Vice President Cheney says he opposes revenge against judges for their refusal to prolong the life of the late Terri Schiavo, although he did not criticize House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) for declaring that they will "answer for their behavior."
Cheney was asked about the issue on Friday by the editorial board of the New York Post. He said twice that he had not seen DeLay's remarks, but the vice president said he would "have problems" with the idea of retribution against the courts. "I don't think that's appropriate," he said. "I may disagree with decisions made by judges in any one particular case. But I don't think there would be much support for the proposition that because a judge hands down a decision we don't like, that somehow we ought to go out -- there's a reason why judges get lifetime appointments."
With no obvious successor to President Bush, some Republicans have begun to buzz about drafting Cheney. "I'm not a candidate, don't plan to be a candidate," he said. "If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve. Is that the Shermanesque statement? I said on television someplace the other day, not only no, but hell no." Cheney said he has noticed in previous White Houses that "the closer you get to that election when the guy in the Oval is going to be hanging it up, and the vice president is going to get ready to run, you get a division" and the number two loses some effectiveness.
Cheney was asked about the potential presidential candidacy of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). "I don't know her that well," he said. "She's clearly a significant national figure and working hard at being a successful senator. I don't agree with her voting record, obviously. But she went out and earned the right to represent the people of one of our biggest states in the United States Senate, and I think she's a formidable political personality. I could never vote for her, but a lot of people do."
We'll Always Have Europe
They're our friends, allies and lawmakers' favorite foreign destinations.
A new database suggests that House members have generally preferred visiting Europe (old Europe, not new) when traveling abroad on the public's dime.
The watchdog group PoliticalMoneyLine found that lawmakers have logged 701 taxpayer-funded trips to the United Kingdom since 1994, making it the single-most popular destination for representatives on official business. It was followed by Italy (467), France (409), Germany (395), Belgium (250), Russia (248), Turkey (185), Spain (182), Kuwait (173) and South Africa (166).
In all, the group said, House members and their staffs have spent almost $24 million over the past 11 years on international trips. Former representative Doug Bereuter (R-Neb.) spent the most at $164,000, the group said, followed by Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.) at $152,000, former representative Benjamin Gilman (R-N.Y.) at $131,000, Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) at $119,000 and Rep. Mark S. Kirk (R-Ill.) at $117,000.
Members can charge such trips to the government, provided they are related to their official duties. Critics complain that the trips can amount to publicly funded junkets. The online database, which is available at www.politicalmoneyline.com -- and which the group said was the first of its kind -- does not include travel paid for by private sponsors, such as lobbyists. That will come later this month.