Sunday, April 20, 2008

Vice President Dick Cheney turned stand-up comic during the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner in Washington on Wednesday, repeatedly poking fun at himself. However, although his jokes were self-deprecating, many of them also served a second function of keeping recent Democratic controversies in the public eye.

Cheney made note of the "bitter-gate" flap over Barack Obama's remarks about small-town voters, suggesting to the audience, "You're not the kind to look down on a bitter man who clings to his guns."

He took aim at "sniper-gate" as well, saying, "You in the press need to go easy on Senator Clinton on the whole business about running and ducking from gunfire in Bosnia. She made an honest mistake. She confused the Bosnia trip with the time I took her hunting."

But the remark that really stung the hosts of CNN's American Morning came when Cheney put on a sun hat and dark glasses to comment on speculation that a recent photograph of him fishing in Idaho showed a naked woman reflected in his glasses. In his remarks, Cheney also managed to reel in a reference to former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's prostitution scandal.

"The big buzz last week was about that picture of me fishing," Cheney began. "In the reflection in my sunglasses, it looked like I'd reeled in something a lot more interesting than trout. You should have seen the one that got away. I get asked a lot about that photo. The most common question is: what lure was I using? Anyway, that's the last time I'll go with an outfitter called the Emperors Club VIP."

Speculation ran wild when the photo was first released, but a Cheney spokesperson insisted, "Clearly the picture shows a hand casting a rod," and after careful analysis of the photo, McClatchy News agreed.

"We had some fun with that last Friday," commented CNN's John Roberts ruefully. "The White House called and beat the -- stuffing -- out of us for doing it, and then he goes and does it with stand-up comedy at the RTCA dinner last night."


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