Tales from the Trail

Bush, Cheney meet for first time since leaving office

Former President George W. Bush and his former vice president, Dick Cheney, got together Thursday for the first time since they left office in January 2009.

The meeting took place at Cheney’s house in McLean, Virginia, just three days after the former vice president suffered a mild heart attack and was hospitalized overnight. An ABC News camera captured the moment.
“Mr. President, welcome,” Cheney said as Bush stepped from the back of a sport utility vehicle.

“Looking good,” Bush said.

“Holding up alright,” Cheney replied.

“Looking good,” the former president said again as the two shook hands warmly.

“Could be worse,” Cheney said.

The meeting came on the eve of a gathering of Bush administration alumni in Washington.

Both men had been scheduled to attend the session, but Cheney, 69, had to withdraw because of the heart attack, his fifth since age 37 and his first since shortly before becoming vice president in 2001.

Poll: Support up for troop increase in Afghanistan

Public support for sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan is on the rise, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released on Tuesday. The poll finds 47 percent of Americans favor boosting the troop level in Afghanistan, compared to 43 percent who are opposed to the idea.

afghanAn NBC/WSJ poll in September found 51 percent opposed to a troop increase, while 44 percent supported it.

Other recent opinion polls have shown lagging public support for the war and members of President Barack Obama’s own Democratic Party are divided over whether to send more troops.

In the other White House war …

USA/He almost said it, but he didn’t. Vice President Joe Biden, who has a reputation for verbal gaffes, almost asked “Who cares?” but stopped himself, when he weighed in on the White House’s latest war of words with his predecessor, former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Cheney, a repeated critic of the Obama administration’s foreign policy initiatives, this week accused President Barack Obama of “dithering” and being scared to make a decision on whether to send more troops to Afghanistan.

“I think that is absolutely wrong. I think what the administration is doing is exactly what we said it would do.  And what I think it warrants doing. And that is making an informed judgment based upon circumstances that have changed … to come up with a sustainable policy that has more than one dimension,” Biden told pool reporters traveling with him at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Prague.

The First Draft: Hello, summer!

USA/It’s almost Memorial Day Weekend, the unofficial start of summer. No bottlenecks yet at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, the gateway to Maryland’s Eastern Shore beach towns.

Traffic out that way is likely to get worse around 10:00 a.m., when President Obama delivers the commencement address at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. He’ll also sign bills to limit abusive credit-card practices and reform the Pentagon’s weapons-buying process.

Vice President Joe Biden is in Lebanon, where he’s already managed to tick off Hezbollah. No, he hasn’t said anything unwise yet, they’re just upset that he’s there.