Skip to comments.Cheney Victim: 'It Was an Accident'
Posted on 02/17/2006 9:29:12 PM PST by Aussie Dasher
The hunter shot by Vice President Dick Cheney said it "was just an accident" and reassured investigators alcohol was not involved, according a county sheriff's report.
In Texas, Harry Whittington "explained foremost there was no alcohol during the hunt and everyone was wearing the proper hunting attire of blaze orange," reported Kenedy County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Gilberto San Miguel Jr.
The county sheriff's office closed its investigation without filing any charges. The department's report supported Cheney's account of the accident that injured the 78-year-old lawyer during a quail hunting trip on a private ranch in Texas.
Cheney told an investigator that he did not see his hunting partner while aiming for a bird. The report included the first public account from Whittington, interviewed from his hospital bed Monday.
Whittington was hit with shotgun pellets in the face, neck and chest. He remained in stable condition in a Corpus Christi hospital after suffering a mild heart attack caused by a shotgun pellet that traveled to his heart.
The sheriff's report said Whittington declined the deputies' request to record the interview because he said his voice was raspy. Before a nurse asked the officers to "hurry up so Mr. Whittington could rest," he repeatedly insisted the shooting "was just an accident" and expressed concern that all the media attention would give hunting in Texas a bad image, the report said.
In Washington, President Bush said critics are drawing "the wrong conclusion about a tragic accident" when they say the delayed disclosure of Cheney's hunting mishap is an indicator of an overly secretive White House.
Commenting about Saturday's accident for the first time, Bush said Thursday that Cheney handled the situation "just fine."
"I'm satisfied with the explanation he gave," Bush said, calling it "strong and powerful."
Bush described Cheney as extremely distraught since he shot Whittington.
"The vice president was involved in a terrible accident and it profoundly affected him," Bush said during a photo opportunity with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. "Yesterday when he was here in the Oval Office, I saw the deep concern he had about a person who he wounded."
Cheney planned to keep his previously scheduled speech to the Wyoming Legislature on Friday and expected to stay for the weekend at his home there.
The administration was eager to put to rest a public relations firestorm arising from Cheney's failure to disclose Saturday's accident until the next day. The episode had knocked the White House off stride and distracted attention from Bush's agenda.
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada was among those who used the situation to suggest the administration needs to be less secretive.
And Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a Republican and Vietnam war veteran, told The Omaha World-Herald, "If he'd been in the military, he would have learned gun safety."
Cheney told his story in an interview Wednesday with Fox News Channel; it was his only public statement on the accident. Cheney said it was "one of the worst days of my life," while accepting full blame for the accident and defending his decision to delay the public disclosure until the next day.
Although Cheney has a penchant for doing his work outside the public spotlight, the chance that he will have to testify in the CIA leak investigation will keep a focus on the vice president's office.
Cheney raised that possibility in his Fox interview while refusing to comment about whether he authorized his former chief of staff to pass along sensitive prewar data on Iraq to reporters.
His ex-aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, is under indictment on charges of perjury, obstruction and lying to the FBI about disclosing the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame. Libby told a grand jury that he was authorized to leak the information by his superiors, according to court documents.
I don't recall the MSM being so concerned about alcohol involvement in Ted Kennedy's case. I for one would be in favor of a full investigation of this negligent homicide.
But you forget: Lard Ass is a Dem!
The case against Scooter Libby is very very weak.
As far as Chuck Hagel's comments go, what a friggin A Hole, he sounds like just like that A Hole John Kerry.
I'll go hunting with Dick Cheney long before I would go with Hagel, Judgment is something Hagel doesn't possess
Please all you folks from Nebraska, swamp Hagel's office with calls telling him what a jerk he is. Then please get a good primary challenger and vote him out. Thank you.
Who are the unsung heroes? Yep, the good old medical profession- bless them. What care and skill they must have had. The gentleman is already back in circulation. Now the bad news.
Larry King is fawning over Woodward and Bernstein. Again and again, flaming Watergate and their part in saving America. Next some pontification by these two on recent events,the VP included. I thought Cindy Sheehan was the energizer bunny- but will these men never go away? LOL
For Sure! Hagel, I am convinced is genuinely stupid...how else would he think he has a snowball's chance in Hades at the Republican Presidency?!?
Rove probably wanted the MSM to go spaztic, because Americans mostly see them as jerks anyway.
Who will Bush choose to replace Cheney?
When the story about Cheney shooting an attorney came out, I just couldn`t sleep til I knew what Sen. Hagle thought
Didn't his victim give a press conference, saying that it was only an accident and there was no alcohol involved?
I don't recall the MSM being so concerned when Clinton blew Vince Foster's brains out.
It doesn't matter that it was an accident. In America, if you are a registered Republican you are guilty no matter what the circumstances are.
See...you can teach an old dog new tricks!
Yeah, Chuck. He might have also learned the art of "fragging", like you are trying to do verbally...
And how about when Hillary Clinton's van ran down a police officer? No mention to the media, no apology to the injured man, nothing.
I'd guess the Texan Anglo Aristocracy won't be asking that parvenue from Wyoming back for another hunt anytime soon.
I saw that last night. I wondered why on earth he had them on since they are such old news.