Sunday, November 14, 2004

Tricky Dick Redux

Vice President Repo left a hospital Saturday after tests revealed he had no abnormalities. He was hospitalized after complaining of shortness of breath. Results from an electrocardiogram, or EKG, were normal, aides told FOX News. A readout of Cheney's ICD, or implantable cardioverter defibrillator, showed that it had not been activated, indicating that his heart rate hadn't fluctuated.

"Tests ruled out any cardiac cause of the Vice President's symptoms," said a statement issued by Cheney's cardiologist, Dr. Jonathan Reiner. "Tests also ruled out pneumonia and other pulmonary causes."

A thread on Free Republic (link now pulled) had provided an alternative explanation, with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel capturing his "biggest asset" back in September, and the appearance of which became the talk of a local morning show: "It's like a Scud missile, for crying out loud."

Thanks to Team Gonzography (and browser cache), the text of that posting remains in tact (picture here via patriotdude):

Joining Dick Cheney's motorcade in Green Bay, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel photographer Dale Guldan hoped to capture a unique image during an otherwise scripted campaign visit in September.

Did he ever.

Jumping on and off the press bus, Guldan says he took hundreds of pictures at well-orchestrated photo opportunities.

On the way to Milwaukee, however, former Green Bay Packers quarterback Bart Starr convinced Cheney to make an unscheduled stop to Glendale to visit local favorite Kopp's Frozen Custard, according to New York Times reporter Rick Lyman.

When Cheney ordered a decaf coffee and sat on a concrete ledge, Kopp's manager Scott Borkin graciously brought him a sample of frozen custard. "The guy came all the way from the White House," Borkin says. "He's got to try our custard."

The normally serious Cheney flashed a winning smile for Borkin, and Guldan snapped an attention-grabbing photo that would later be chosen for the September 11 Metro section.

Guldan got a call from readers the next day. "Did you notice anything unusual about that picture?" the reader asked.

Upon closer inspection, it seems the Vice President's smile was not his, ahem, biggest asset.

"You're not imagining it," Guldan says of the unintentionally revealing photo.

Let's just say the snugness of Cheney's pants left little to the imagination, and we're not talking about his waistline.

One Journal Sentinel reader pointed out the blooper in an e-mail to Dave Luczak, Carole Caine, and Kevin Brandt, who had a hoot talking about it during their popular morning show.

"It's nice to have someone of that magnitude in the White House," Brandt joked.

"He's got a porn career right there," Caine snickered.

"Now we know where his unmitigated confidence comes from," Luczak quipped.

We've seen the photo, and it's hard not to notice something so, well, unmistakeable.

Guldan explains that he took 100 to 200 photographs that day with a digital camera, chose six to eight images for possible publication, and didn't notice anything odd in the Kopp's image because Cheney sat in the shadows. Incredibly, a dozen or so editors saw the photo before publication, and no one raised the red flag.

"I got a chuckle out of it when I noticed it, too. If I had noticed it sooner, I would have cropped it," Guldan says, referring to the standard practice of trimming a photo without altering the accuracy. "I wasn't out to put him in a negative light."

While such a photo of the VP is clearly inappropriate, it's also a harmless mistake and could be seen as - dare we say - flattering. Just ask WKLH's Caine, who dug through her recycling bin to find the photo.

"It's like a Scud missile, for crying out loud," Caine said.

Want to see the picture for yourself? Catch it while you can at your library periodical desk, because chagrined Journal Sentinel officials are not in a sharing mood.

The paper denied our request to reprint the copyrighted photo, saying it had decided not to release the image to the public.

You won't find it on either, though there are photos of every other Cheney campaign trip to Wisconsin since April. Matt Stanton, jsonline design editor, promised to look into this curious omission, and that was the last we heard from him.

Meanwhile, Mark Hoffman, deputy photo editor, suggested we try the paper's Photo Sales Service. Don't bother. To check its availability, we ordered and paid for a color copy of the Cheney photo, only to get a call the next day voiding the deal.

Journal Sentinel: "That photo is not for sale."

Which begs the question: What got the Vice President so aroused? We understand that the custard was firm, supple and enraptured, but there had to be a more substantial reason. Well, Gonzo-ites, we think it has something to do with his wife, Lynne Cheney, a Senior Fellow in Education and Culture at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, reading from one of her early 1980's, one-handed ribald classics, Sisters, during National Spousal Appreciation Day.



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