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In Washington and Beyond, Disclosing a Few of Cheney's Locations

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"She wants to start documenting stuff," we were told by a source. Hauling around your own photographer may be unprecedented -- though she used to have an aide who was handy with a camera to record trips.

Still, that policy hardly means it's open house at the department.

For example, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) has been sparring with Rice for weeks over her insistence that department officials cannot testify in public about U.S. efforts to curb corruption in Iraqi ministries. The department has insisted that any information about corruption in the Iraqi government be kept classified so it doesn't undermine Washington-Baghdad relations.

The negative stuff that must be secret, the department told Waxman, includes "allegations that investigations were thwarted/stifled for political reasons" as well as "allegations concerning actions by specific individuals, such as [Maliki] or other [Iraqi] officials, or regarding investigations of such officials."

Waxman was angry, calling the department's position "absurd."

But you know, as Mom always said, "If you can't say something nice about someone . . ."

The C Student, in Charge and Loving It

The Bush-bashers can say what they like, but the president is still enjoying himself immensely. And he's still got that line he uses all the time to show how he revels in the notion that, despite his lackluster academic record, challenges with English and limited accomplishments before politics, he is -- yes, he is and you, smart guy, are not -- Leader of the Free World and The Decider. And there's no hint whatsoever of any chip on his shoulder when he says it.

"I delegate to good people," he said in a 76-minute appearance Wednesday at the Lancaster, Pa., Chamber of Commerce. "I always tell Condi Rice, 'I want to remind you, Madam Secretary, who has the PhD and who was the C student. And I want to remind you who the adviser is and who the president is.' " And she doubtless appreciates the insight.

"I got a lot of PhD types and smart people around me who come into the Oval Office and say, 'Mr. President, here's what's on my mind.' And I listen carefully to their advice," he said, according to a White House transcript.

"But having gathered the device [sic], I decide, you know, I say, 'This is what we're going to do.' And it's 'Yes, sir, Mr. President.' And then we get after it, implement policy.

"It's a joy to be your president. It's not only an honor, it's a joy, because I truly believe the decisions I am making will yield the peace we want and the prosperity that we all desire."

Goodbye, GWOT

Seems the incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm. Michael Mullen, has banned the use of the phrase "Global War on Terror" (GWOT) and has prohibited using it "in any future correspondence," according to a Sept. 27 e-mail from a Mullen aide.

Hmmm . . . Mullen probably doesn't remember that this issue came up two years ago because so many people then thought the term was inaccurate. It was catchy, though, one administration official said at the time.

Former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld even tried out the "Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism" or GSAVE, which would have taken into account the changed nature of the battle against international terrorism.

Bush, at a White House meeting of senior officials, reportedly objected to the change, noting that no one had checked with him. It was still a war as far as he was concerned, he said. By July, Rumsfeld was back to using GWOT in his speeches.

So the Decider has Decided.


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