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Cheney sets a date to give Sali an assist

Okay, Republicans, re-set your calendar, because it's official: Vice President Dick Cheney's office called BW Tuesday to confirm that the Veep was headed for Idaho to raise coin for Rep. Bill Sali's run for Congress, on Aug. 16.

"The vice president looks forward to his Idaho visit in mid-August in support of Bill Sali," said Jennifer Mayfield, a White House spokeswoman. "The vice president is very committed to maintaining a Republican majority in both the House and Senate." The blogosphere had it first; the event was first reported by Jill Kuraitis at www.newwest.net, followed by unconfirmed reports in the Idaho Statesman.

Thus does the Republican machine begin to rally its forces to Sali's side, as he gets deeper into a race against Fruitland Democrat Larry Grant. Cheney's event comes on the heels of reports in The Hill, a Washington, D.C. political hotsheet, that a recent Retain Our Majority Program fundraiser targeted Sali's race for extra dough, along with other key races around the country. Idaho lefties pounced on that news, seeing an opening in the race like they hadn't seen since Larry LaRocco took on Helen Chenoweth ... oops.

The Kuna Republican already had an edge in the money race against Grant; finance reports from the end of June gave Sali a leg up, but not a big one for an Idaho Republican facing a new-face Democrat.

You might safely assume that Cheney is unlikely to make news, aside from his presence. Such events tend to be more of a cash-and-dash affair, with the big name making headlines, a rousing speech, shaking the right hands, and heading out of town. Mayfield said he wasn't slated to stay any longer than it took for the event.

Not to be outdone, the Grant press office sent out word that Grant's brother Lowell, who lives in Fruitland, has painted a donkey named Abe Lincoln with the phrase "Vote Grant." "Politics is an odd business sometimes," wrote Grant spokesman Don Rosebrock in an e-mail accompanying the photo. Abe is unlikely to pose for grip-and-grins. According to Rosebrock, he is "a bit cantankerous and, like most donkeys, a bit on the randy side."

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