The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, February 14, 2006  


Ever since the news broke, or seeped out, that Vice President Dick Cheney shot a friend of his over the weekend, right wingers have been urging all of us not to have a heart attack over it.

As it turns out, Harry Whittington, Cheney's victim, intended or otherwise, did just that this morning.

This story just gets better and better, or worse and worse, depending upon your perspective. And from Whittington's, it's clearly worse; let's hope he pulls through.

Meanwhile, the account of this morning's White House briefing provided by Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, in "McClellan Takes Aim at Cheney," suggests an event that was nothing less than surreal, though sadly comical and infuriating in the lack of responsiveness might also be offered as descriptive phrases.

A few pull quotes:

Terry Hunt of the AP wanted to know if President Bush has spoken with the shooting victim (he hasn't) and how often Cheney goes hunting ("on a fairly frequent basis.") CBS's Bill Plante asked if Cheney's office would be providing a fuller account of what happened over the weekend. "I think we pretty much covered it all yesterday," [press secretary Scott] McClellan said.

Really? Is McClellan referring to the same briefing we all saw on the evening news and read about in today's papers, or was there another event we haven't heard about?

NBC's Kelly O'Donnell wondered if Cheney would be offering any statement himself, even one of regret for the shooting. "You've heard from the vice president's office," McClellan replied. […]

Here's one of the best parts:

The New York Times's Elisabeth Bumiller tried to sort out the shooting timeline. "Why didn't the vice president call the president?" she pressed. "I don't get it."
"Karl [Rove] spoke with the vice president."
"He's not the president."

Last we checked, anyway.

The New York Post's Deb Orin, no Cheney antagonist, tried to sum up what "we're all trying to get at" with the questioning. When Bush accidentally shot a protected bird called a Kildee, he took immediate and public responsibility. Orin wondered why "the vice president has failed in any way to stand up and say, 'I made a mistake.' "

"He has commented through his spokeswoman," McClellan offered, his orange tie failing him.

"But why haven't we heard from him?" interjected Plante.

"I don't think he had any public events scheduled," McClellan replied.

And then everybody, having had a few good laughs, just called it a day.

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