WASHINGTON -- A polite nod was all that passed between Vice President Dick Cheney and Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, when they met in the White House yesterday.
Their last meeting wasn't so cordial -- but it was far more colorful.
While senators were having their annual group picture taken in the Capitol on June 22, the vice president confronted Leahy. On his mind were some of the Democrat's critical comments about Cheney and alleged improprieties in Iraq military contracts awarded to
Cheney cursed Leahy during the confrontation, later refusing to apologize and even remarking, ''I felt better after I said it." The Vermont senator said he was ''kind of shocked" to hear such language on the Senate floor.
Yesterday, the vice president passed through the Cabinet Room of the White House en route to a meeting and found a group of lawmakers waiting for a bill-signing ceremony with President Bush. Leahy, a coauthor of the measure, was among them. Congressional aides said Cheney nodded politely -- and kept walking.
The bill gave off-duty and retired officers the ability to carry their concealed firearms nationwide. Leahy beamed as the president put his name on it, and they smiled at each other and shook hands.