Absolutely no sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, have indicated that Vice President Richard Cheney has been asked and agreed to resign his position "sooner than later, but after a respectable amount of time has passed" following Wednesday's resignation by co-conspirator Donald Rumsfeld.
"Cheney's basically been running the show all along. Bush was fine with leaving policy issues -- 'the boring stuff' as he calls it -- to Cheney and other staffers, but now everything's crumbling around him and he's taking the heat for it," nobody tells me, adding: "He's absolutely convinced he's been set up."
Staffers have not spoken off the record about the President's increasingly short temper in recent weeks, nor have they disclosed that Bush has taken to walking into staff offices and firing people, apparently at random. "It's not real," one staffer didn't tell me. "[Chief of Staff] Josh [Bolten] comes by later and apologizes."
This behavior isn't said to have culminated in a furious rant Friday, when the President was informed of an Military Times editorial calling for Rumsfeld's resignation, to be published a day before the election. There is a total lack of evidence that the President's initial response to this development was to turn purple and shout: "This ******* ******* is ****** up my whole ******* ******* ****!"
Reports have indicated that Bush advisors have been lobbying for some time for Rumsfeld's ouster, but Cheney argued against it. White House insiders haven't confirmed this, nor have they added that Cheney went so far as to pose an ultimatum to the President -- if Rumsfeld went, so would Cheney.
"This editorial, and the elections, it broke the camel's back. Bush called Cheney's office -- well, actually he called the kitchen, but he thought it was Cheney's office -- and said '**** Rummy. And **** you too, Dick.'" Upon learning that he had misdialed, a White House staffer didn't tell me, Bush apologized and cancelled his lunch order. It's not believed that the President then dialed the correct number and delivered a similar message to the Vice President's voice mail.
"Nobody's sure when, but we're running an office pool" to guess the date Cheney's resignation will be announced. The general consensus is that health reasons will be cited, another staffer didn't tell me.
In the meantime, no one says, the White House is uncharacteristically quiet. "Cheney's been around, but he mostly stays in the bunker. The President just sits in his office, and nobody goes in there but Secretary Rice. Everybody else is scared to," an intern refused to tell me.
"The Pentagon keeps calling, but when we put them through, nobody picks up," a switchboard operator didn't add. "It's like there's nobody running the country anymore."