The Note: A Deal to End the Madness



ABC News' Karen Travers reports that Vice President Cheney's speech will offer reflections on his experiences in Wyoming politics and national office, as well as on some of the political leaders who have influenced him along the way.

Cheney (pronounced back home correctly as "Chee-knee") delivers 1:00 pm ET remarks at the 2006 Wyoming legislature budget session in Cheyenne, WY. There is open press coverage of both his arrival and departure at the Cheyenne Regional Airport. Cheney will stay at his home in Jackson Wyoming this weekend and has no other public events.

But ABC News has learned that immediately after the conclusion of the Vice President's speech, the text of a five-party agreement will be released simultaneously in Cheyenne, Washington, and Sacramento.

The deal, painstakingly hammered out over a specially constructed pentagon-shaped table secretly moved to the top floor of Lauriol Plaza last night, was the product of overnight, chips-and-salsa-fueled talks that ended at dawn this morning.

The negotiations nearly broke down on at least two occasions, ABC News has learned, with one representative (whose identity could not be learned) stalking out at around 2 am, saying, "I'm going to Stetson's for awhile."

Here for the first time are the terms of the agreement -- signed by representatives of Vice President Cheney, President Bush, the White House Correspondents Association, the Old Media, and the Democratic Party (bloggers, late-night comics, and cable news yakkers were originally part of the talks, but did not sign on to the final agreement).

The deal is already being referred to by knowing wags as "The Treaty of 18th and Swann":

We, the undersigned, agree to all of the following regarding the shooting of Harry Whittington by Vice President Dick Cheney:

On Behalf of the Vice President:

-- He agrees that in matters of controversy in the future, he will have a formal, well-informed government spokesperson speak on his behalf, not a private citizen.

-- He agrees that he should not have stayed silent while at least two people speaking on his behalf suggested Mr. Whittington was at fault for the accident.

-- He acknowledges that the "Corpus Christi Caller-Times v. New York Times" framing is a completely phony issue that has nothing to do with why reporters are upset, but he still thinks the media was annoyed about having to work on a Sunday.

On Behalf of the President:

-- He will continue to be pleased that the media conflates "taking responsibility" with "apologizing," and that the press refers to his "rub-downs" as opposed to "massages."

-- He does not rule out a U.S. Marshall slot for Gilberto San Miguel Jr., but nor does he guarantee one. He is keeping his options open.

-- He promises not to throw Scott McClellan to the wolves in avoidable situations. That is, if the President needs to say something, he'll say it instead of letting Scott take a pointless beating for three days, since it's not going to change what he himself will say anyway.

On Behalf of the White House Correspondents Association:

-- They promise to remember at all times (that is, "most of the time") that Vice President is a human being with feelings, who is quite upset about what happened.

-- They promise to consider going back to covering the President's agenda next week (although they might do it exclusively through the prism of the midterms elections).

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