Dick Cheney's surprise

The vice president visits Baghdad. No questions, please.

Published May 9, 2007 3:20PM (EDT)

"This is just a photo spray." -- Dick Cheney, refusing to take questions from reporters today during an unannounced trip to Iraq.

No word on whether the vice president and his entourage were "greeted as liberators," but it seems as if the insurgency still isn't in its "last throes." As Cheney visited Baghdad, a truck bomb exploded at an Interior Ministry building in Irbil, killing 14 people and injuring dozens.

Cheney and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ultimately made brief statements to the press today. The sum total of the vice president's remarks:

"Well, I have enjoyed a good meeting with the prime minister this morning. We've talked about a wide range of issues here in Iraq as well as the region, focusing of course on things like the Baghdad security plan, ongoing operations against terrorists, as well as the political and economic issues that are before the Iraqi government. We've reviewed last week's neighbors conference in Egypt, which I think we believe went very well, and obviously talked about the way ahead in terms of our mutual efforts to help build an Iraq that is safe and secure, is self-governing and free of the threats of the insurgency and al-Qaida."

At some point along the way, a reporter heard Cheney making plans to "kick the press out" of the conference room he was using in Baghdad.

By Tim Grieve

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

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