Thursday, May 04, 2006

Video Village

"U.S. secretary of state [Condoleezza Rice] has invited cameras into her departmental gym to record how she squeezes fitness training into her busy schedule. NBC began broadcasting the three-part series yesterday, featuring a warmup of "easy spinning" on an exercise bike, followed by shots of her abdominal routine.....Ms. Rice has been busy softening what is a slightly severe public persona and filling out her political CV."

- The Ottawa Citizen - March 2, 2006

Condoleezza Rice isn’t the only member of the Bush Administration looking to soften her public image. Apparently her video is part of an Administration-wide initiative in image management as can be seen from these soon-to-be-released White House productions:

Dick Cheney’s Quail Hunting Video

Looking to dispel his reputation as a hard-nosed, taciturn politician, Dick Cheney is releasing a video showing that he, too, can kick back and relax. The Vice President describes how he likes to escape the stressful grind of Washington by having a couple of drinks, getting in a limo and driving a mile or two up the road of a friend’s ranch to take a few potshots at whatever moves. It’s hoped that when Americans see Mr. Cheney engaging in playful banter with his hunting partners, they’ll see the Vice President’s lighter side and forget the unfair Darth Vader characterizations. This version of the video also includes some hilarious outtakes of the Veep pretending to shoot various friends in the face.

Scooter Libby’s Dance Party Video

Vice President Cheney’s former right-hand man has recently taken a lot of flack for everything from leaks to wiretaps. All will be forgiven, however, when the American public sees Mr. Libby’s latest dance party video. Whether it’s in their house or the big house, the former Chief of Staff shows how any family can set up a 60s style dance party complete with snacks, drinks and a secret, unauthorized tape recorder. Includes such classic hits as "Jailhouse Rock", "Silence is Golden" and "I Will Follow Him."

Karl Rove’s Home Repair Video

Often criticized for his underhanded attempts to neutralize the opposition, Karl Rove is also looking for an image overhaul. What better way to humanize the man they call "Bush’s Brain" than with a home repair video. This self-narrated production shows Mr. Rove working against type by actually building things, fixing things and plugging leaks. "I spend all day deconstructing and dissembling," the President’s advisor is heard to say on the tape. "It’s fun and relaxing to come home and actually do something constructive with my hands."

Donald Rumsfeld’s Poetry Video

Most Americans don’t get to see the softer side of President Bush’s tough-talking Secretary of Defense. Now they can with this intimate look at the Pentagon’s own poet laureate. After a hard day of fomenting insurgencies and torturing the media, Mr. Rumsfeld likes nothing better than to listen to the soothing sounds of Rod McKuen and crank out some iambic pentameter. Surprisingly self-effacing about his own literary efforts, the Defense Secretary here shares for the first time some of his most touching literary creations. Viewers will be alternately surprised and horrified by such works as "The Unknown Unknowns", "160,000 Is More Than Enough" and "O Where Are the Weapons?"

Michael Chertoff’s Home Security Video

Unfairly portrayed as an unqualified, incompetent, blame-shifting stumblebum, the Homeland Security Secretary wants to improve his standing with the American people by sharing his expertise. Hoping to disabuse the public of their accurate but misguided notions, Mr. Chertoff shows how what he has learned on the job can be put to practical use by the average homeowner. Segments include "Don’t Hire Contractors Named Brown", "Don’t Build Near a Levee" and "In Hartford, New Hampshire and the Hamptons, Hurricanes Hardly Ever Happen."

George W. Bush’s Texas Hold ‘Em Video

With an approval rating in the low 30s, even the President is hoping to burnish his image with an attempt at videography. Capitalizing on the current TV poker craze, the President shows the viewer how to improve his hand even when he has no weapons. As Mr. Bush advises: "Always keep your cards close to your vest, don’t let ‘em see you sweat and, most importantly, no matter what the flop, keep on bluffing."

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