At their joint campaign appearances, Vice President Cheney likes to rely on his wife to compensate for his sober reserve and to connect him with women voters.

It's up to Lynne Cheney to forge an emotional bond with the crowd, something she does by employing this rhetorical technique at the start of their rallies: "I'm a mother and a grandmother," she says. "I don't see too many grandmothers here today." She says this no matter who is in the audience, but it's less an observation than an invitation for the women in the audience to cheer or applaud or otherwise get engaged.

Then she delivers them to her husband by saying, as she introduces the vice president, "When I think of this election, I think of who is going to keep my kids and grandkids safe." She stands close enough during his remarks to whisper a reminder in his ear to recognize a local politician, as she did Tuesday at a rally here.

"Look, I get advice in the middle of a speech," Cheney said to the laughing crowd.

And it was Lynne Cheney who stepped in after a town hall meeting in Ohio yesterday to soften the stiff response her husband had given to the grandmother of a soldier slain in Iraq.

The woman, who has three other family members serving in Iraq, said she supported the war but wanted to know when the troops were coming home. Vice President Cheney glanced at her and then told the crowd the country honored her grandson's sacrifice and the sacrifices of others killed in action but that the military will come home when the mission in Iraq is accomplished.

Immediately after the rally, Lynne Cheney made a beeline for the woman, touching her and talking to her in soothing, sympathetic tones.