Wednesday, February 15, 2006

More Discord In The White House

White House At Odds With Groundhog Hire, Handlers Over Cheney Shooting

Bush Said To Be "Livid, As Famous Prognosticator 'Never Tipped Us Off"; UK's Blair Said To Be Frantic For Direction

There is more discord in the White House this morning, as sources tell The Garlic that President Bush is "livid" that their famous new hire, the prognosticating groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, never "tipped us off" as to the weekend, and growing controversial, shooting by Vice President Dick Cheney of his fellow hunter.

Earlier this month, The Garlic broke the story of the Bush Administration's hiring of the infamous Gobbler's Knobb resident, who was to bolster the President's foreign policy decisions, after a long string of errors, missteps and miscalculations.

"We've been caught too many times by surprises," offered White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett at the time of the hiring, "we had to do something to get back on track."

Punxsutawney Phil was to join the White House staff immediately following his forecast of six more weeks of winter.

According to sources close to the Administration, the hiring has been "an outright disaster."

"The rodent, or whatever it is," said the source, who works on Capital Hill and has dealings with the White House, "does nothing but eat and sleep all day - and they have to stock this special "groundhog punch" for the thing to drink… Some kind of secret recipe."

Punxsutawney Phil is a rodent, from the Marmota monax line and is closely related to woodchucks and squirrels.

"The West Wing staff has been going crazy, trying to get the thing to do something … Give a grunt, point to something, anything that they could use to show that it was worth bringing him in."

Handlers Brought In Saturday Night

As soon as the news of Vice President Cheney's shooting came into the White House, which, according to reports, was around 7:30PM, Punxsutawney Phil's handlers from Gobbler's Knobb, PA were called in, to get the marmot working on a solution of what to do about the Cheney incident.

The pair of handlers arrived at the White House shortly before 10:00PM and, for the next 4-hours, they and White House staff cajoled, prodded, fed and did just about everything imaginable to get Punxsutawney Phil to offer something, but the marmot did nothing, even remotely close.

With tension, and tempers rising, this led to fierce arguments between the handlers and West Wing people.

President Bush was said to be notified shortly after 1:00AM that there was no progress coming from the groundhog and was said to be "livid" and demanding to know why he, and the White House were not "tipped off" that the Cheney shooting was coming.

According to the source, Bush ordered that Punxsutawney Phil be removed from the White House and there is no confirmation if that was carried out or not.

British Prime Minister Blair Looking To Bush For Guidance

As the efforts to get Punxsutawney Phil working were underway, the White House, and President Bush's private line, was being bombard with calls from British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Blair, President Bush's closest ally in the War On Terror, was said to be "frantic" with the news of the Vice President's shooting.

"First off," said another source, who works in the White House, "Blair wanted to confirm the information. Once that happened, he badgered Bush for direction on what to do."

Blair, allegedly, as there is no confirmation, with all news of the shooting coming from the owner of the ranch where the shooting occurred, kept asking President Bush if he [Blair] "needed to go out and accidentally shoot someone … If it was somehow related to the coalition, or a new policy."

VP Office Had List Ready

Another source of irritation developed early Sunday morning, between the West Wing and the Vice President's office, and before the news of Cheney's shooting was given to the local Corpus Christi, TX newspaper, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

Allegedly, the Vice President's office became aware of Blair's calls to the President, possibly through wiretaps from the NSA, and, at one point during a call with Blair, President Bush was handed a sheet of paper with a list on it.

"There were about 30, or 40 countries on it, with names of the President, Prime Minister or whoever was running the country." said the source, "and a second column with other names, that the said leader could shoot."

The Vice President's office would only say that they prepared a "Coalition of Hunters" that could support Mr. Cheney.

"The list recommended that Blair shoot George Galloway."

Galloway, a Respect Member of Parliament (MP) for Bethnal Green and Bow, has been a harsh critic of both Blair and Bush, as well as the War in Iraq.

It's not clear if the list came directly for Cheney himself, or from his office.

"This shows just how much disarray there is over there," said the source.

"If this happened a few months ago, before Scooter Libby was indicted, there wouldn't be a hardcopy of a list. Scooter would have walked over to the White House and given it verbally, and then go out and leak it to Judith Miller."

Vice President Dick Cheney's office suggested that British Prime Minister Tony Blair could continue his support of the Bush Administration, and the wounding of Cheney's hunting buddy, by shooting PM George Galloway

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