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Brit Hume Says Vice President On The Disclosure Of The Shooting-- Would Do It The Same Way All Over Again

Reported by Donna - February 15, 2006

Brit Hume mused poetically on Studio B with Shepard Smith about the interview he had just had with Vice President, Dick Cheney. The Vice President took total responsiblity for the shooting although Hume said that he and others still think that Mr. Whittington had some responsibility. On the handling of the press? Hume said the Vice President would do it the same way all over again.

The Vice President remains unapologetic about how the information was given to the press. Apparently, Mrs. Armstrong, the owner of the ranch decided to call her buddy at the local paper. When she couldn't get him, she left a voice mail.

The Vice President said it was, 'The worst day of my life up until then." Hume explained that the Vice President did not have a press person with him and that is why he thought it was best for Mrs. Armstrong to handle the press. He said he used Mrs. Armstrong because she was an experienced hunter, she owned the ranch.

Hume said the Vice President admitted to having one beer with lunch, they then went back to the home and came out again around 3:00 to hunt some more and the accident happened around 5 p.m. and nobody was drinking.

The Vice President said, "It's a moment I'll never forget. Ultimately, I'm the guy who pulled the trigger and shot my friend." So, Hume said, the Vice President was taking full responsibility. Hume said the Vice President was 'shaken' by this and remained so.

Hume went on with all the excuses, the first thing the Vice President was concerned about was Mr. Whittinton's health, getting him care, an ambulance, then he was taken to one hospital and a helicopter took him to another hospital. He said he wanted to contact Mr. Whittington's wife and he was worried if it went out in the press the Whittington's adult children would hear from the press instead of from them. He didn't want false reports going out so they had to wait until they could get a feel for what Mr.Whittington's condition was.

Hume said it was not a matter of the State, it was a private hunting accident and the Vice President remains totally unapologetic about the way it was reported. Hume did note that partisans and Bush haters would still be raising questions.

Hume also added that the Vice President more or less said (the Vice President didn't say, Hume did) that the White House Press Corps be damned, didn't and wouldn't apologize for how the accident was disclosed.

Hume once again reported that the Vice President was shaken, he was disturbed, worried about his friend, worried about what he did. Hume said he was "transfixed" listening to the Vice President.

They ended the segment with Fred Barnes saying it wouldn't make a difference to the public whether they found out Saturday or Sunday, but the press was still going to be pressuring them to find out why the information (or lack of) went out the way it did.

Comment: All in all a very softball interview done by a very partisan reporter. I like how Hume said the Vice President was "worried about what he did". Exactly, is that why didn't he report it right away? The excuses about waiting for a condition on the patient and contacting the wife and adult kids seemed to be just that, excuses. The Vice President could have contacted AP or had one of his people in Washington make the announcement. Once again the Bush Administration, this time the Vice President, is trying to make everything better with an exclusive interview with a very biased news source.

Hard hitting questions? Didn't hear any. And the Vice President saying he would do it the same way all over again? Sounds familiar, like something he and President Bush said about the war in Iraq. Some things never change.

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