The facts, insofar as we know them at all, are in quite cosiderable dispute
“President Bush knew Saturday evening that Vice President Dick Cheney had accidentally shot a hunting companion, but the information wasn’t made public until the next day by a private citizen, the White House acknowledged Monday.
In a contentious media briefing, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Cheney’s staff was focused on making sure that the shooting victim, Texas attorney Harry Whittington, was receiving adequate medical care after the shooting on the private Armstrong Ranch in south Texas. Whittington and Cheney were hunting quail together.
Cheney apparently did not see Whittington and the vice president accidentally hit him in the face, neck and chest with bird shot, according to accounts of the accident.”
But wait — there’s more!
“Ranch owner Katharine Armstrong said no one discussed notifying the public of the accident Saturday because they were so consumed with making sure Whittington was OK. She said the family realized in the morning that it would be a story and decided to call the local newspaper, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. She said she then discussed the news coverage with Cheney for the first time.
“I said, Mr. Vice President, this is going to be public, and I’m comfortable going to the hometown newspaper,” she told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “And he said ‘you go ahead and do whatever you are comfortable doing.’ ”
No wonder then this finds Jane quipping —
“Nobody but nobody in the White House press corps is buying the bs story served up by McClellan whereby the Big Badass Vice President of the United States hides behind the skirts of a Texas housewife in a transparent dodge to keep anyone from knowing about what had happened until everyone could get their stories straight and Dick got the Wild Turkey off his breath.”
And here’s the transcript, my favorite part being —
Q Scott, when you consider the chronology that you’ve tried to go to here and all of the various wrinkles of how long it took for the primary information that the vice president was the person who shot this fellow to get through to the president himself, is there any notion here of reviewing your own communications apparatus? I mean, this is sort of reminiscent of the levee story, frankly, you know.
MR. MCCLELLAN: I’m sorry, I’d reject that. I disagree with that fully, Peter. I don’t know what you’re referring to there, but I reject the insinuation there.
Q Well, when you look at how long it took for the information in that case to get through and the information in this case to get through, are you looking —
MR. MCCLELLAN: Peter, there are certain facts that you don’t know, necessarily, immediately. People are getting that information together in terms of exactly what happened. I mean, I don’t think you immediately know all the facts in situations that you bring up, and particularly in terms of a hurricane that was unprecedented in terms of the scope of the damage that occurred. So I don’t know how you can leap from here to that comparison.
Q Well, surely they immediately knew that the vice president of the United States shot someone.
MR. MCCLELLAN: And you know what the immediate response was? To make sure he was getting the medical care.
Q (Off mike.)
MR. MCCLELLAN: Well, no, no, you may know that, but people that are listening —
Q (Off mike.)
MR. MCCLELLAN: — but people that are listening need to hear that too. The vice president went over to him and was making sure that his team was getting to him and taking care of him. That’s what the first priority always ought to be. Now, I know that it’s important to inform the media, and I have told you I believe it’s important to get that information out as quickly as possible.
Q (Off mike.)
MR. MCCLELLAN: Well, I think he was informed — I think he was informed in a relatively reasonable amount of time.
Q Scott? Scott, in Texas is this kind of accident —
MR. MCCLELLAN: Well, we can always look back, Bill, and we can always look back and say, you know, here or there, but the important thing is the information was provided to the public; and most importantly, Mr. Whittington is being taken care of.
Q Scott, under Texas law, is this kind of accidental shooting a possible criminal offense?
MR. MCCLELLAN: I wouldn’t even speculate on that. But I think the sheriff’s office or the local law enforcement office has already commented on that and said it was a hunting accident, so.
Q Scott, would this be much more serious if the man had died? And would that change the equation about —
MR. MCCLELLAN: Of course it would, Connie. It would have been terrible. I — personally I don’t know him very well, but I know Mr. Whittington and I have great respect for him from knowing who he is and what he’s done. And it would be horrible news.
Q Who made the decision — if the deputy chief of staff told him sometime after the 8:00 hour, told the president that it was Cheney that had pulled the trigger, who made the decision not to inform us, and specifically, not to inform you until the 6:00 hour the next morning?
MR. MCCLELLAN: I don’t think that’s the way I would look at it. I think there was additional details that were coming in, and we were trying to learn —
Q Who made the decision — (off mike) —
MR. MCCLELLAN: We were trying to learn what the details were. I think it’s important to have the facts together to be able to provide that information to the public.
Now I also believe — I also believe in a situation like this, it’s important to provide as much information as public as quickly as — to the public as quickly as possible.
MR. MCCLELLAN: Ivan, go ahead. Is this on this subject?
Q No, what I was going to ask —
MR. MCCLELLAN: Well, let me stay on — let me stay on this subject.
Q Yeah, but please don’t leave before he gets out of the subject —
MR. MCCLELLAN: Okay. Okay. Let’s wrap it up on this subject here.
Q Will the vice president and the president, for that matter, continue to go hunting, and is there some thought about — maybe this is too dangerous an activity for such an important person to —
MR. MCCLELLAN: I haven’t had any discussion with either of them about that. I don’t know of any change.
All right, let’s go to a new subject.
MR. MCCLELLAN: Go ahead.
Q Was there any consideration, to your knowledge, that the information should be delayed in order to avoid it becoming red meat on the Sunday talk shows?
MR. MCCLELLAN: Not that I know of. In fact, she reached out to the local paper that morning. I don’t know what time, but I was told she reached out that morning.
Q On the subject, have you —
MR. MCCLELLAN: All right, let’s go to a new subject.
[Questions about Iran, Brazil, etc]
Q Briefly back on the topic du jour, if I may. How long did it take until everyone involved was sure that Mr. Whittington was in the proper medical care that he needed? Did it take 12 to 14 hours?
MR. MCCLELLAN: I don’t know all the specific facts. Mrs. Armstrong and/or the vice president’s office may be able to provide you additional information. And no, I — he was taken to the hospital that evening in Texas.
Q So any concern about making sure he had the medical attention he needed was quickly dissipated. That was not a reason for not divulging what happened, was it?
MR. MCCLELLAN: Well, again and then the secondary issue is what I said; you’re working to make sure you have all the facts, and then you get that information out.
Q Were there conflicting reports?
MR. MCCLELLAN: Go ahead.
Q (Off mike) — timeline because there’s two different time figures. At what point Saturday evening —
MR. MCCLELLAN: You-all, not me.
Q Well, you seem to have some — anyway, what time did the president find out that it was the vice president who had accidentally —
MR. MCCLELLAN: It was later that evening. I don’t have the specific time, but it was later that evening.
Q Later that evening. I mean —
MR. MCCLELLAN: When he talked to the deputy chief of staff.
Q Right, that was about 5:30 that the event happened, he talked to Karl —
MR. MCCLELLAN: Well, he talked to Andy, like I said, probably somewhere in the 7:00 range plus or minus — (inaudible).
Q Right. And so it’s after that, you think sometime later that night, that he founds out it was the vice president.
MR. MCCLELLAN: Yeah. I think the deputy chief of staff had talked to Mrs. Armstrong.
Q Isn’t the Corpus Christi paper a member of the AP? Scott, isn’t the Corpus Christi paper that reported this —
MR. MCCLELLAN: You want to answer that?
Q Aren’t a member of the AP?
MR. MCCLELLAN: I’m sure they are, having come from Texas.
Q Why didn’t the AP pick it up?
MR. MCCLELLAN: Martha, go ahead.
You can tell how much he misses Gucky, can’t you folks?
Meanwhile the incident itself brings a very particular cinematic masterpiece to mind
“Bugs Bunny : Would you like to shoot me now or wait ’til you get home?
Bugs Bunny: Shoot him now! Shoot him now!
Bugs Bunny :You keep outta this! He doesn’t have to shoot you now!
Daffy Duck: He does SO have to shoot me now!
Daffy Duck: I demand that you shoot me now!
[Elmer raises his gun. As Daffy sticks his tongue out at Bugs, he is shot]
Daffy Duck: Let’th run through that again.
Bugs Bunny “Okay.
Bugs Bunny: Wouldja like to shoot me now or wait till ya get home.
Daffy Duck: [neutral toned] Shoot him now, shoot him now.
Bugs Bunny: [neutral toned] You keep outta dis, he doesn’t hafta shoot you now.
Daffy Duck: [with expression] HA! THAT’TH IT! HOLD IT RIGHT THERE!
Daffy Duck: Pronoun trouble.
Daffy Duck: It’th not “He doethn’t have to shoot
[pointing to Bugs]
Daffy Duck: *you* now.” It’th “He doethn’t have to shoot
[pointing to himself]
Daffy Duck: *me* now.”
Daffy Duck: Well, *I* thay he *does* have to shoot me now!
Daffy Duck: THO SHOOT ME NOW!
[Elmer shoots him]
Bugs Bunny: [Daffy stops short at Bugs] Yais?
Daffy Duck: [Daffy puts himself back into position] Ohhhhhhh, no you don’t. Not agian. Thorry. Thith time we’ll try it from the other end.
Daffy Duck: Look, you’re a hunter, right?
Elmer Fudd: Wight.
Daffy Duck: And thith ith Rabbit Theathon, right?
Elmer Fudd: Wight.
Bugs Bunny: And if he was a rabbit, what would you do?
Daffy Duck: Yeah, if you’re tho thmart, if I wath a rabbit, what *would* you do?
Elmer Fudd: Well, I’d…
Daffy Duck: [Elmer points his rifle at Daffy] Not again!
[BANG! Bill falls down and Daffy puts it on his mouth again. To Bugs]
Daffy Duck: Ha ha. Very funny. Ha ha ha ha.
Daffy Duck: Now’s your chance, “Hawkeye!” Shoot him! SHOOT HIM!
Bugs Bunny: He’s got me dead to rights, doc. Would you like to shoot him now or wait ’till you get home?
Daffy Duck: Oh no you don’t. Not THIS time!
Daffy Duck: Wait until you get home!
[Hiding in Bugs’ burrow]
Bugs Bunny: Go and take a peak up an’ see if he’s still around
Daffy Duck: Right-O!
[Daffy looks out the hole, gunshot heard; Daffy comes back down]
Bugs Bunny: Is he still there?
Daffy Duck: [dazed] Still lurking about!
Bugs Bunny: I know! You go up an’ act as a decoy an’ lure ‘im away.
Daffy Duck: No more for me, thanks! I’m drivin’!
Bugs Bunny: Ah, well; like they say, never send a duck to do a rabbit’s job.
Daffy Duck: [to Bugs in drag] Out of sheer honesty, I demand that you tell him who you are! Well? Haven’t you anything to say? Out of sheer honesty? Huh?
Bugs Bunny: [to Elmer, in a women’s voice] Yes. I would just love a duck dinner.
[Kisses Elmer, who then shoots Daffy in an amorous daze]
Daffy Duck: Awfully unsporting of me, I know, but what the hey, I gotta have some fun.
Daffy Duck: And besides, it’s really duck season.”
And it really is Scottie Season.