Undisclosed locations, with flowers and TV

By Geraldine Sealey

Published May 5, 2004 7:19PM (EDT)

PoliticalWire is linking to an AP story about Dick Cheney's appearance at Florida State University over the weekend. Tucked into the copy are some details that should give one pause, considering the vice president's history of heart problems.

"While in Tallahassee over the weekend to deliver the graduation speech at Florida State University, the local hospital prepared a room for Cheney -- complete with 'flowers, a big TV set and Secret Service agents outside the door' -- 'just in case anything might happen.'" Is this the typical protocol for a Cheney visit? Would they do the same for Bush?

This reminds us of a story that ran in a local Virginia paper a few weeks back, regarding stories buzzing around the Fredericksburg area that Cheney had been hospitalized there.

"When asked yesterday whether it was true, hospital spokeswoman Lynn Martin said, 'We have no record in our system of Mr. Cheney being here.' When further asked if Cheney had been seen by hospital personnel but there was simply no record of the visit, Martin replied, 'We have no record in our system of Mr. Cheney being here.'"

"When asked if his office had helped provide security for the reported visit, Culpeper County Sheriff Lee Hart replied: 'No. He has his own people.' When asked if the Sheriff's Office knew that Cheney was or would be at the hospital, Hart said, 'We had some knowledge.' When questioned further, Hart said he could say no more until he made a telephone call. Less than two minutes later the sheriff called back to report, 'We had no knowledge of the incident.'"

"The exact date of or reasons for the vice president's reported hospital visit are unclear. It has long been rumored that Cheney, who has a history of heart problems, has occasionally been secreted at some remote Culpeper government facility since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001."

Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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