And, I Take it, You Missed the Bird*

February 15, 2006

Finally emerging from his cone of silence on Wednesday to answer non-questions from a friendly network’s flunky, the Vice President appeared to address some of the issues surrounding shooting his “friend” Harry Whittington in the face with a shotgun on Saturday.

Cheney appeared at first glance to take the blame, saying: “Well, ultimately, I’m the guy who pulled the trigger that fired the round that hit Harry. [No denying that.] And you can talk about all of the other conditions that existed at the time, but that’s the bottom line. And there’s no — it was not Harry’s fault. [Damn him!] You can’t blame anybody else. [But if there was a chance to do so, I certainly would.] I’m the guy who pulled the trigger and shot my friend. And I say that is something I’ll never forget. [But I sure wish the American people would hurry up and forget it.]”

Asked if he had been drinking: “No. … We had … I had a beer at lunch.” Sounds like the stock answer to the question asked by cops to thousands of drunk drivers every day. Except most people try to make it more believable by saying, “I had a coupla beers at lunch.” This is another good reason for waiting a day to report the story: You’ll never prove he was drunk at the time.

Asked if it would have been wiser to alert the media sooner than the next day: “Well, if it’s accurate. If it’s accurate. And this is a complicated story.” And we needed to make sure we could shape and control every facet of the story before telling it to a hand-picked reporter from a small South Texas newspaper who was personal friends with the ranch owner.

Cheney added that, “You know, we canceled the Sunday hunt. [W]e were scheduled to go out again on Sunday and I said I’m not going to go on Sunday, I want to focus on Harry. I’ll have to think about it.” How magnanimous of you.

As of this writing, Whittington survives, but remains in the intensive care unit of the hospital.

*Actual question posed by Fox News’ Brit Hume to Vice President Dick Cheney.

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