Skip to comments.Cheney on TV: Takes Blame for Shooting But 'Unapologetic' About Aftermath
Posted on 02/15/2006 1:52:05 PM PST by West Coast Conservative
In an exclusive interview with Fox News' Brit Hume this afternoon, Vice President Dick Cheney took full responsibility for shooting his hunting companion, who has until now been pictured as the guilty party. The interview will not air in full until 6 p.m., but according to Hume, in summarizing the contents, the vice president remained "totally unapologetic" about the long lag in reporting the shooting to the public -- and also said that he had consumed one beer at lunch that day.
Speaking on camera and disclosing some of the unaired footage, Hume said Cheney was "utterly unapologetic" about the reporting lag but "a shaken man" in his interview. In comments on the cable channel just minutes after ending a 25-minute interview with Cheney, Hume described the encounter as revealing, but with little contrition on Cheney's part.
"He didnt blame anyone else, he blamed himself [for the shooting]," Hume told Fox's Shepard Smith during a brief conversation. "But he didn't take blame for the way it was handled the White House press corps be damned."
Hume indicated that Cheney called last Saturday's accidental shooting "one of the worst days of my life," but that the vice president was certain that he handled it correctly by waiting nearly a day to make it public. He also revealed that Cheney disclosed having a beer with lunch that day, but stressed that it was several hours before the shooting occurred.
Ranch owner Katharine Armstrong has said no one hunting that day had any beer. The Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday that it had been told that the hunters that day "broke for a lunch of antelope, jicama salad and camp bread, washed down with Dr. Pepper." Armstrong later modified her remarks, saying there may have been beer in coolers but she didn't think anyone who was hunting that day had any.
"Ultimately I'm the guy who pulled the trigger, that fired the round that hit Harry," Cheney said in his Hume interview. "I'm the guy who pulled the trigger and shot my friend, and that's something I'll never forget....
"The image of him falling is something I will never be able to get out my mind," Cheney said, somberly. "It was one of the worst days of my life."
After days of White House and other administraton offiicials, and Katharine Armstrong, faulting the victim, Cheney said, "It was not Harry's fault. You cannot blame anybody else."
Whittington was in stable condition on Wednesday, hospital officials said earlier on Wednesday. But the 78-year-old was moved back into the intensive care unit because of concerns for his privacy.
Cheney said he agreed that ranch owner Armstrong should make the story public, because she was an eyewitness, because she grew up on the ranch and because she is "an acknowledged expert in all of this" as a past head of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. He also agreed with her decision to choose the local newspaper as the way to get the news out.
"I thought that made good sense because you can get as accurate a story as possible from somebody who knew and understood hunting and then it would immediately go up to the wires and be posted on the Web site, which is the way it went out and I thought that was the right call," Cheney said.
"What do you think now?" Hume asked.
"I still do," Cheney responded. "The accuracy was enormously important. I had no press person with me."
NBC News called the vice presidents office for comment four times Tuesday and Wednesday, it disclosed today, and asked whether the vice president or anyone in the hunting party had consumed any alcohol on Saturday prior to the accident. In an e-mail statement Wednesday to NBC News, the vice presidents press secretary referred NBC News to the Kenedy County Sheriffs Department report on the incident, which said it did not believe alcohol use was a factor in the shooting.
At a news conference Wednesday outside Whittingtons hospital in Corpus Christi, reporters asked hospital officials whether Whittingtons blood-alcohol level had been tested. The officials responded with a "no comment."
What we would like to see:
Dear Senators Clinton, Schumer, Kerry and Kennedy,
You are cordially invited to my ranch in Wyoming next week for a large picnic and quail hunt. You will be my guests of honor and sit at the head table and be at the front of the line at the hunt. All necessary gear will be provided free of charge, courtesy of my good friend Jack A. (Sen. Kerry, you can bring your own hunting gun if you like.) All game shot will be on the menu and cooked to your liking.
RSVP by 2-18-2006
Dead Eye Dick
"D" is for "Demagog"
Good for Cheney. He took responsibility and stands by the way he handled the aftermath. I agree with all of that.
I saw on one of the channels (MSNBC I think) a guest question why Cheney was not available to law enforcement right after the incident and questioned the alcohol aspect.
This is the way a real man handles a situation like this. Very different from the way Teddy Kennedy handled his little problem with Mary Jo.
Hillary & Co. can come hunting with me any time. I can't vouch for their personal safety, but I will say that I shoot only what I intend to shoot.
It seems that the only medical records the media considers to be private are those of Bill Clinton and of AIDS patients.
yup... he did and you know the effect this will have... Average Folks might actually him as "Human" and if the press continues this BS... they will be seen for the morons we already know they are.
"It seems that the only medical records the media considers to be private are those of Bill Clinton and of AIDS patients."
and abortion providers.
I hadn't even considered if Whittington had been drinking. That said, the press is hateful.
Has anyone tested David Gregory's IQ yet? I'd sure be interested to see the results. I'm also still waiting for that testosterone test on Helen Thomas.
Agree totally. The sheriff was called within an hour of the accident. The local newspaper, a member of the Associate Press, was given the story, which they were free to feed to the wire. Pretty standard stuff.
I don't even agree it was a "long lag." This happened on Saturday evening, when most people pay no attention to the news. It came out on Sunday morning, about when everyone would have first heard about it even if Cheney had called David Gregory on his cell phone five minutes after the accident. It's not as if the networks would have interrupted regular programming to announce this.
Press slobs should be the ones saying their sorry!
I can still envision a blubbering, sopping wet Ted staggering away from the accident scene with whiskey on his breath, thinking only of himself--while Mary Jo sank into the cold water.
Armstrong is partially the reason this story has been so farked up. Cheney's decision to leave it to her was obviously flawed.
Thank God the Clintons are gone. They would have put on a production with a cast of extras larger than Ben Hur.
Cheney is a good man, a good friend, and a guy who knows that even though he is the second most powerful man in the solar system ... when he is a guest in someone's home, he is just a guest.
They wanted to, but had to abandon the project after many tries because there was no IQ testing room with a door wide enough for Gregory to get his friggin' head through the door!
If Democrats and the press ridicule Cheney enough, would it be good strategery of Mr. Bush to accept Dick Cheney's resignation and have the republican senate majority annoint Bush's chosen successor like Bill Frist or George Allen or Condi Rice successor. The new VP could run with the vice presidential privileges andvisibility, but with out the baggage of the Iraqi war and the neocons. Is Karl Rove thinking this? A Condi Rice VP would drive the Demos nuts!
Yep! And when he got to a phone he didn't call an ambulance, or the police, or a rescue team, or the press. He called lawyers and political spin doctors!
I am with you, they have behaved like zoo animals.
God Bless Mr. Whittington and the Vice President as they both need it.
Just a little side note: The articles being written about this don't show any care or concern for Whittington. He wasn't even mentioned by name until the 8th paragraph and I have seen reports where they don't use his name at all.
If this had been VP Al Gore, the press and family would be pleading for privacy and letting Gore have the space to deal with the incident.
Good show. He owes an apology to Whittington, and I'm sure he's already delivered a heart-felt one.
He owes nothing to the scribblers. He didn't shoot them.
That is so true.
Quick, while we have the MSM's attention...can we start breathalyzing/hair folicle testing members of Congress, and maybe the Old Media?
Just heard VP Cheney speaking on the FOX top-of-the-hour news. He sounded tired and remorseful, but still in control...And I love him all the more!
Time for e-mails to our Second in Command?
I'm glad Brit got the scoop. :)
And FWIW, the White House HAS been posting releases from the VP's office concerning this matter, since February 13th!
Of course, why a REPORTER, ANY reporter would think to look there escapes me. *Scratches Head*
Perhaps someone should be asking David Gregory if he's had his rabies shots lately.
Just excoriating the Vice President as is their usual way.
"even if Cheney had called David Gregory on his cell phone five minutes after the accident."
" a door wide enough for Gregory to get his friggin' head through the door!"
Or his diaper which had to have been full of crap.
Or Bill, Hillary and the rest of the White House staff in the aftermath of Vince Foster's so-called suicide.
She is loaded for bear.
Terry was horrible claiming they did not notify any law enforcement for 21 hours.
Looks like they have the rapid response running right now.
I don't agree.
The American people have a right to know when their elected leaders are involved in a shooting incident, not telling the press amounted to not telling the citizens.
I find this unexcusable; Cheney's people should have handled this whole thing better.
The VP has a staff that's handsomely paid to handle these kinds of situations...they blew it.
I've just finished reading "Rebel In Chief," a book about Bush by Fred Barnes. Bush does not like the press, or the DC social whirl and the DC mentality. He thinks it's phony, pretentious, and unreal. Clinton did not like the press either, even though they helped save his ass.