Yapping Dogs & Maytag Repairmen

So are we finished with Dick Cheney yet? Not a chance.

“I know to a lot of people watching it, we look like a bunch of yapping dogs,” says Ron Hutcheson, the White House correspondent for the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain, tells NPR’s David Folkenflik in a story about the vice president and the press. “But there’s a real fundamental issue about our government–one of the things that sets us apart from places like China and Russia–and that is our system is based on openness and accountability.”

“The irony here is we’ve probably got the most powerful vice president in American history who’s probably also the most secretive vice president in American history. So it’s really difficult to cover him.”

Folkenflik talked to the major news organizations and it turns that despite his powerful role in politics, no one is assigned to cover him full-time (see Cheney pool developments below). Why? “You’d be like the Maytag repairman on that one,” Hutcheson says, laughing. “Sitting around waiting for something to do. They don’t share much information about the vice president’s schedule, and everybody in the office operates under his rules.”

In the piece too, Ari Fleischer, who has emerged from whatever undisclosed lcoation he’s spent the last few years in, gives the White House some (moderate) heat. Fleischer, by the way, will be sitting down with Howard Kurtz on Sunday to talk about Cheney on “Reliable Sources.”