While confusing at first blush, the documents serve to clear up a question that has nagged many Beltway observers for the past week: Did President Bush actually tell Vice President Cheney to do something, in a complete reversal of the White House's customary chain of command?
"If President Bush told Dick Cheney to do something, rather than the other way around, that would be a first for this White House," said Davis Logsdon, professor of political science at the University of Minnesota. "If, as these documents suggest, President Bush authorized Dick Cheney to authorize the leak only after Dick Cheney first authorized the President to do so, then the whole situation starts to make a little more sense."
As news that Mr. Cheney had authorized Mr. Bush to authorize him to authorize the leak swept through Washington, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle seemed relieved that a sense of the natural order of things had been restored.
"I was pleased to hear that President Bush only authorized Dick Cheney after Dick Cheney authorized him to do so," said Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). "I never bought that the President told the Vice President to do something -- that was crazy talk."
Elsewhere, wages in the U.S. surged 8 percent this month, but economists said that most of that increase was due to Katie Couric.
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