Days after photos surfaced showing President George W. Bush together with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Vice President Dick Cheney attempted to put some distance between himself and the embattled president, telling reporters that he and Mr. Bush had never met.

“I do not know this person you call George W. Bush,” Mr. Cheney flatly stated at a press conference in Washington today.

Mr. Cheney explained that because he spent most of his time at his secure, undisclosed location, his path had simply never crossed with that of Mr. Bush.

The vice president’s claim that he did not know the president strained the credulity of the White House press corps, many of whom could recall seeing the two men together at one time or another.

But President Bush, aiming to put some distance between himself and the vice president because of Mr. Cheney’s possible implication in the CIA leak case, spoke to reporters later in the day and sounded the same notes that Mr. Cheney had earlier.

“Dick Cheney sounds familiar, but doesn’t ring a bell,” he said.

At the president’s press conference, however, one reporter held up a file containing over 40,000 photos of Mr. Bush with Mr. Cheney and asked the president for an explanation.

“Trick photography?” the president said.

The day ended with a press briefing by White House spokesman Scott McClellan, who denied knowing either Mr. Bush or Mr. Cheney.

Elsewhere, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld denied that the U.S. military was stretched thin and near the snapping point, but acknowledged that that was true of him.

Award-winning humorist, television personality and film actor Andy Borowitz is author of the new book “The Borowitz Report: The Big Book of Shockers.”

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