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Parody Web site gets veep bleep 


Don't mess with Dick Cheney's woman.
That's the message sent to John Wooden, the Brooklyn-based editor whose www.whitehouse.org site parodies the Bush administration's official Web site (www.whitehouse.gov).

Two weeks ago, Wooden got a letter from the Office of the Vice President requesting that he delete photos and a phony biography of Second Lady Lynne Cheney from whitehouse.org - as well as remove the Seal of the President from his site.

"It is important to avoid using her name and picture for the purpose of trade without her written consent," the letter said. "It is also important to avoid portraying her in a false light."

"Honestly, I was shocked," Wooden said yesterday. "I was incredulous at the notion that this is what our tax dollars are being spent on - generating threatening letters to parody Web sites."

The bio takes aim at Lynne Cheney's staunch conservatism by detailing books she has written, including a fictional Western that incorporates themes about feminism and lesbian relationships.

Wooden, 31, who runs his Web site from his Park Slope apartment, took the letter to the New York Civil Liberties Union. It sent a response Tuesday to Vice President Cheney's counsel.

Lynne Cheney "is certainly a public figure for the purposes of First Amendment law," said Christopher Dunne, the NYCLU's associate legal director. "Why is the vice president's office even weighing in on this? As far as we know she's not a government official, which makes it all the more inappropriate."

The veep's office did not return calls for comment yesterday. But the letter ended by noting that "nothing in this request should be construed as expressing any view concerning the lawfulness, wrongfulness or inappropriateness ... of your Web site."

Not missing an opportunity to poke more fun at the White House, Wooden posted a link to the letter, drew clown noses on Lynne Cheney's photos and added a disclaimer:

"[We] are confident that any rumors about Mrs. Cheney formerly being a crystal meth pusher are 100% likely to be absolutely untrue." 

Originally published on March 6, 2003


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