Vol. 2, Issue 35, October 12, 2004
Cheney's Good Looks Give Boost to Bush Campaign
With the election now just weeks away, the Democratic candidates are reeling from the lopsided Republican win in last week's vice-presidential debate, when Vice President Dick Cheney and Democratic candidate John Edwards went head to head on national television.
"Edwards is a polished and experienced speaker," said Kerry-Edwards campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill. "And he has a very photogenic, youthful appearance that plays well in most media situations. But I confess we were not prepared for the devastating charisma displayed by the Vice President."
Dick Cheney has maintained a low public profile during the past four years, working hard behind the scenes to shape the Bush administration's key policies and avoid the constant stream of negative press related to the questionable business dealings of his former employer, Halliburton.
"We were hoping to build on Kerry's victory in the first debate," said Cahill glumly, "but the Edwards-Cheney debate turned into a Nixon-Kennedy fiasco. It was 1960 all over again."
Media observers have described Cheney's appearance with headlines such as "stunning," "chiseled," and "dreamy;" the Washington Post went so far as to call him "godlike."
"His body was like beryl, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the roar of a multitude," said Post columnist William Raspberry. "Verily, when I heard the sound of his words, I fell into a trance; and the feeble allegations of Edwards seemed like the twittering of birds. Halliburton! Halliburton! he chirped into the wind - to no avail."
A CBS poll conducted after the debate revealed that Cheney's appearance in the televised debate led a whopping 90% of previously undecided viewers to pick the Republican ticket. Moreover, 65% of registered Democrats who watched the debate indicated they would be changing their votes as well.
"We've known all along about the powerful charisma which the Vice President is capable of projecting," said Republican campaign manager Ken Mehlman. "To date, we haven't wanted to overshadow the President. However with Dubya's poor showing in the debate last week and new revelations on Iraq's lack of WMD undermining the legitimacy of the Iraqi war, we thought it was time to bring out this secret weapon, so to speak."
While Bush and Kerry debated again last Friday, the media virtually ignored the event, rerunning glorious pictures of Cheney instead. The Vice President turned up the charm and raised his smile to high beam as he chatted on daytime television talk shows popular among women, a voting bloc the Republicans need to win over by Election Day.
Cheney has proved so popular, in fact, that some media observers are wondering why his Adonis-like charisma didn't help him charm the Congressional committees investigating Halliburton's business practices.
"Well that's easy," said Gabriel Rosser, professor of political science at NYU. "They may have grilled him, but Congress never laid eyes on him. Everyone knows that congressmen can't see anything beyond their own noses."