Oregon Legislature's first annual session begins


No one can agree on what exactly happened the day a Colorado man spotted Dick Cheney strolling the streets of a ski resort town and decided to give the vice president a piece of his mind.

Steve Howards, 55, says he walked up to Cheney and delivered his message &

"Your policies in Iraq are disgusting" &

then lightly touched the vice president's shoulder.

The White House photographer says he saw Howards slap Cheney on the back.

Cheney's personal aide remembers Howards placing his hand on Cheney's arm and shaking his hand.

As for the Secret Service agents who arrested Howards on suspicion of assault: two say he lightly clapped Cheney on the shoulder, a third demonstrated it as a shove, and a fourth said Howards reached over several small children and struck Cheney.

Since the agents &

now accusing one another of changing their stories and lying about what happened &

can't agree, Cheney should give his own version, Howards says.

He has filed a federal lawsuit against the agents, claiming they violated his right to free speech and protection from unreasonable search and seizure.

"He's the so-called victim of the assault. Clearly the vice president should have very relevant testimony to give," said Howards' attorney, David Lane, who this month asked a federal judge to order U.S. marshals to serve a subpoena to the White House.

Getting the vice president in a witness box would be a historic achievement.

It is exceedingly rare for high-level officials to testify or give depositions, said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, a Washington group that advocates for transparency in government.

Fitton said he could not recall any instance in which Cheney has given a deposition while in office.

He said that to compel such a high-ranking executive branch official to testify, one must show that that official has information that could not be obtained in another way.

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