Karl Rove fiddled with the control knobs on the monitor. Finally President Bush came into focus. Rove fixed himself a coffee and joined the other special attendees to this meeting. Laura Bush sipped a cup of tea in the corner chair. Justice Rehnquist looked ever so fragile and his hands shook as he picked up his coffee cup. Dick Cheney swilled his coffee down as was his practice. He was only allowed one cup of coffee a day and he couldn’t wait to get the energizing brew into his stomach. Arlen Specter, bald due to his chemotherapy treatments, eschewed coffee this morning and instead drank bottled water and munched on a bagel.
“We got a secure broadcast here?” the president asked from the monitor.
“All secure Mr. President,” Cheney responded then finished his daily allotment of coffee.
Karl decided that Specter’s bagel looked mighty fine and quickly slid over to the food table to get one for himself. A fly landed on the container of cream cheese. Rove shooed it off.
“I’d like to be there in person,” the president said. “But I’m here in the Midwest and what with Laura scheduled to go overseas tomorrow I wanted to have you all meet together to hear my plan.”
Actually it was Karl’s plan but of course only the president could authorize it.
“Laura, you know what you’re supposed to do?” the president addressed his wife.
Laura nodded affirmative. “Karl’s set it up so one of the reporters asks me about having a woman for nominee to the Supreme Court?” Laura asked, but she knew the answer.
“Yes,” the president responded. The fly landed directly on the monitor in such a position that it was directly on the president’s nose. This time Cheney got up and shooed the fly away. “Answer truthfully,” the president continued. “Because surely you’d have no problem with a woman as nominee.”
Laura nodded affirmative again. The question was to be posed in such a manner that Laura’s answer could be interpreted in many fashions. Including a supposition that the president was seriously considering a female nominee to replace the female leaving the supreme court.
“The New York Times will jump on her answer and interpret it to mean that a female is in the finalists for the nomination,” Rove said, smirked, then took a bite of his bagel.
“How about you Arlen? You know what to do?”
Arlen was taking a drink of his bottled water when the president asked this question. Swallowing quickly, Specter responded. “I sure do, Mr. President. When you call me to the White House, you want me to go through the front door. And you want my staff to call up a few media contacts and notify them that I’ve been summoned.”
“That’s right,” the President responded. “And when you get out of the meeting can you handle hinting that the nominee is a woman? Without mentioning the name Edith Clement?”
“Got it covered,” Specter responded. “I’m going to drop some info on the nominee that applies to almost any potential nominee. They’ll already be sniffing for a woman because of Laura’s response earlier. My hints will fit Clement perfectly. But also every other nominee as well.”
Rove snorted. He was going to enjoy this.
“How about you, Judge? You know what to do?”
Rehnquist sat his cup down carefully. “You want me to announce my plans NOT to retire in the near future. I’m to announce it next Friday? Although I don’t know how it’s going to help.”
“It’s going to help because it will narrow down the possibility of a Supreme Court nomination to only one. The media will think it’s a woman because of Arlen’s hints and Laura’s comments,” Rove broke in to explain to the good judge. “They’ll be so sure that with a woman leaving and only ONE vacancy open that the choice will HAVE to be a woman. With all the speculation that you are leaving, judge, the media might hone in on Clement AND our real nominee if they think there are two potential vacancies.”
Cheney shook his head in amusement. Rove noticed. Cheney had been lukewarm about this idea since its inception.
“Okay,” the president’s voice came from the monitor. “I don’t like having to play this game,” the president said, slowing down his words as he gave it all more thought. “But the media has to know that two can play their dirty little game. They’re all lying through their teeth over this Plame thing. It’s time that we teach them a lesson. Given a little help from all of us, they’ll be announcing Edith Clement as the nominee early in the day. They’ll be talking all about her record and some of the left wing will quickly come out against her. When you going to set them straight, Karl?”
Karl Rove leaned back in his chair and laced his fingers behind his head. He was really going to enjoy the sight of all the lying media looking foolish as they fell for the bait.
“I figure I’ll set them on a right track around two, maybe three, pm. Give them a couple of hours to chatter about Clement, enough time to look foolish.”
“Okay. Thanks everybody and see you all soon.”
The monitor screen went blank. All attendees began gathering their parcels to leave. Cheney was still shaking his head in bemusement.
“Listen, Dick. This isn’t a get even,” Karl explained to Cheney as they left the room and walked down the hall. “It’s about letting these people know that they can be seriously led astray if the White House so desires. It’s also about…,” Rove’s voice faded off and both men stopped in the hallway to await the result of Rove’s thought. “It’s about,” Rove continued, “showing the public how the media can get it all so wrong. It’s about planting the notion that maybe not everything they say it right. Yeah, they pulled a dirty trick on me and I’m not happy about it. But Dick, the media doesn’t run things in this country no matter how much they think they do.”
Dick smiled at Rove and considered the entire plan. Why it really was sheer genius, Dick mentally concluded.
He slapped Rove on the back in a friendly manner and the two men went their separate ways.
As the food crew cleaned up the coffee and bagels in the meeting room, a fly flitted off from the disturbance of his fine feast and flew out of the room.
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