February 14, 2006


First glance (Elizabeth Wilner, Mark Murray, Huma Zaidi and Holly Phillips, 2/14/06, First Read: NBC)

[T]he big story at the White House continues to center on what exactly happened in Vice President Cheney’s hunting accident in South Texas -- and why the national press corps wasn’t informed about it until the next day. Indeed, the Administration is tangled up in yet another timeline and struggling to explain its response to another crisis. But even its response to Hurricane Katrina may never have consumed the first 18 pages of a 27-page White House briefing transcript, as Cheney’s hunting accident did yesterday. If the press corps' grilling of spokesman Scott McClellan seems a bit out of proportion to the seriousness of the incident (with Harry Whittington thankfully expected to recover), it's an accurate measure of its mounting frustration.... [...]

NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports that Cheney accidentally shot Austin attorney Harry Whittington at 6:50 pm ET on Saturday, and that chief of staff Andy Card first notified President Bush an accident had occurred at around 7:30 pm. Shortly before 8:00 pm, Karl Rove phoned the President and informed him Cheney had been the one who fired the weapon. Cheney then spoke with White House senior staff, but didn’t speak directly to Bush about the incident until he arrived back at the White House yesterday morning for their regularly scheduled briefing.

The adults gave it the correct priority.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 14, 2006 9:59 AM

As much as the media outlets may want this to be a serious issue, once it became clear Whittington's life wasn't in danger, the story is now the domain of the late night comics and others looking for easy souces of laughs.

If the Cheney people were smart, for his next big public appearance, they'd have a band play him on stage to the tune of "Shotgun" by Jr. Walker and the All Stars. It would infuriate the media because the VP wasn't taking the matter as seriously as they want, but since they favored option for Cheney appears to be a show trial followed by hari-kari, few would take their harumphing seriously, either.

Posted by: John at February 14, 2006 11:06 AM

The President was notified in 40 minutes, then the VP's involvement confirmed to him 60 minutes later. Pretty darn fast, I think. I would assume it was because of Secret Service communications but still, how much more should the White House had done? Silly, silly story.

Posted by: Bob at February 14, 2006 11:13 AM

Bob: The point is that the media thinks they should have been the first to know. They're children.

Posted by: b at February 14, 2006 11:38 AM

John: I think you got the timeline wrong - its the hangin', then the fair trial.

b: Agreed. They called the cops. That is all they are required to do. What, do they want the Administration to write the stories, too?

With much apologies to Aerosmith:

Cheney's got a gun
Cheney's got a gun
He's loaded up for fun
Now Donkey's on the run
What did Pay Leahy do
To cause Cheney to say F.U.

Cheney's got a gun
Cheney's got a gun

Posted by: Mikey at February 14, 2006 12:23 PM

John - the initial reports had Whittington hardly injured. But with the heart attack angle now it could get much more serious.

Posted by: AWW at February 14, 2006 8:35 PM