Meeting with community leaders in a small Wisconsin town this week, Vice President Cheney reminisced about a few years spent in Madison decades ago. "Our daughter, Liz, was born in Madison," Cheney said. "She's a mother of four."
He said nothing about his other daughter, Mary, who was sitting just yards away and has been traveling the country with her parents.
Mary Cheney, a strategist for her father's campaign, is gay. Sen. John F. Kerry referred to that fact during the last presidential debate when he was asked whether he believed homosexuals were born that way or chose their lifestyles. He was accused by the Cheneys of taking a cheap shot at their lesbian daughter.
Mary Cheney refuses to talk to the media. She scurries away from the dozen reporters who are also traveling aboard Air Force Two. At campaign events, Mary Cheney stands off to the side, out of view of the television cameras, her head buried in her Blackberry.
The Cheneys, meanwhile, have been emphasizing their other daughter and her children at each opportunity as they jet around the country. By Thursday, they were joined on the stump by Liz Cheney and three of her four small children: Kate, 10, Elizabeth, 6, and Grace, 4. And the campaign has made the most of it.
Wherever Air Force Two has been landing, the Cheneys walk down the stairs to the tarmac with their three granddaughters, all bright smiles and waves. An aide carries a hot pink child's suitcase. The girls were introduced at campaign events in Wisconsin and Michigan, charming crowds and local television crews. Grace, 4, tried on her Halloween princess costume and modeled it for the press aboard Air Force Two.
With her long blonde hair and telegenic smile, Liz Cheney filmed an interview with "Entertainment Tonight" after a campaign stop in Michigan yesterday. Mary, meanwhile, receded further in the background.