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The national media swarmed all over the story of “Dead-Eye Dick” Cheney bagging a Texas lawyer on a quail hunt. This would have been a one-day human interest story – except for Cheney’s insistence on always operating in skulking secrecy.
First, he withheld all news of the shooting for nearly 24 hours. Even then, he handed-off the task of facing the media to Katharine Armstrong, the lobbyist who was host of the Texas quail shoot. Dick himself had silently fled back to Washington.
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Second, Cheney’s spinners tried to hide the seriousness of the shooting. Armstrong gaily reported that the victim had been “peppered” with “a bunch of little-bitty pellets.” Excuse me, but you “pepper” eggs; a shotgun is loaded to kill. And one of those “little-bitty pellets” lodged in the lawyer’s heart, later triggering a heart attack.
Third, Cheney’s spinners rushed out to blame the victim! They scolded the lawyer for walking up behind Cheney without announcing his presence. Excuse me again, but the first rule of hunting safety is to look before you shoot. It wasn’t the lawyer who pulled the trigger – it was Dead-Eye Dick.
Fourth, it was four full days before Cheney was forced by mounting political pressure to come out of hiding and do what he should have done within hours of the shooting: Take personal responsibility and publicly apologize.
But there’s a fifth story that the media has missed: The cost to tax payers for Cheney’s little quail shoot. Flying to Texas on Air Force Two costs some $55,000 an hour. He also travels with a full secret service detail and a personal cardiologist – and an ambulance and EMS crew are with him at all times. Yes, Cheney needs to have some down time – but are there no birds for him to kill in nearby Washington?
This is Jim Hightower saying… While families are literally having to hold bake sales to buy armor for our troops in Iraq, Cheney is socking us for about $300,000 to go shoot quail!
“Cheney epitomizes the gang that can’t shoot straight,” USA Today, February 16, 2006.
“I’m the guy who pulled the trigger,” USA Today, February 16, 2006.
“Vice president arrives in area for hunting trip,” The Monitor, February 26, 2005.
“Cheap Shot: The left all atwitter over Vice President’s itchy trigger finger,” www.danielpwelch.com, February 14, 2005.
“Cheney’s office won’t disclose its travel costs,” The Washington Post, November 30, 2005.
“How Much is Bush’s SS Tour Costing You?” www.davidsirota.com, April 5, 2005.
“Bush’s foolhardy fund-raising,” www.sfgate.com, September 23, 2002.
“It’s time for Cheney to take responsibility,” Austin American-Statesman, February 14, 2006.
“…And White House Shoots Foot,” New York Times, February 14, 2006.
“Cheney Shoots Fellow Hunter In Mishap on a Texas Ranch,” New York Times, February 13, 2006.
“No End to Questions on Cheney Hunting Incident,” New York Times, February 14, 2006.
“What’s the bag limit on Republicans,” Austin American-Statesman, February 14, 2006.