Bush and Cheney wrap up a week far from Washington

They're off to Florida and Wyoming, where the nation is blessed and the ovations are standing.

Published February 17, 2006 9:13PM (EST)

As a tough week draws to a close in Washington, the president and the vice president have both left town for friendlier venues.

George W. Bush is in Florida today, where he's talking up the war on terrorism and appearing at a Republican Party fundraising dinner. Tampa is a long way from the White House press room, and the questions the president took during an invitation-only event at a cruise ship terminal there Friday weren't much like the ones the White House press corps still has about Dick Cheney's hunting accident. As the Associated Press reports, Bush's first question in Tampa came from an audience member who said the nation was blessed to have him as president. The second concerned Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, described by an audience member as "your great brother."

Cheney was getting a similarly warm reaction in Wyoming, where he spent a long time reminiscing in a "Why is he doing this?" sort of speech before the state Legislature. He didn't have much to say about the shooting incident -- just that he was glad that Harry Whittington is on the mend -- but neither did he indulge in his usual fear-mongering and Democrat-bashing. It was the warm and fuzzy Cheney, albeit without the pink tie, and the state that chose Bush-Cheney by 40 points in 2004 seemed happy to have him back home.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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