Cheney Joins Others Who've Put the Vice in Vice Presidency
Byline: Burt Constable
Having our vice president shoot an old man in the face seemed a lot funnier before people started bringing up politics, questioning the way the story broke, giving interviews to Fox News and having buckshot-related heart attacks.
In his first public comments since Saturday's shooting of buddy Harry Whittington while quail hunting in Texas, Dick Cheney on Wednesday avoided saying something stupid such as, "I did not have shotgun relations with that lawyer."
Our vice president accepted responsibility, even if he remained defiant in his handling of the story, which didn't become public until the ranch owner called the local Texas paper the next day. Having apparently learned something from the administration's faulty justification for going to war in Iraq, Cheney insisted that he didn't want to rush such a "complicated story" onto the American public until he was sure it was accurate.
He also managed to give an interview to Brit Hume without uttering, "I'm sorry." Being Dick Cheney means never having to say you are sorry.
What he did say was: "You can't blame anybody else. I'm the guy who pulled the trigger and shot my friend."
This may have been the first time the former secretary of defense had seen a man get shot. As a member of the Nixon Administration during the Vietnam War, Cheney had more deferments (five) than John Kerry had Purple Hearts (three).
Cheney appeared shaken by the shooting, which clearly looks accidental, and Hume appeared sympathetic. If Vice President Al Gore had gone hunting during the Clinton years, shot somebody and waited four days to comment on it, I'm sure Hume, Rush Limbaugh and Republican pundits would have cut Gore some slack.
But the incident bolsters Cheney's already legendary status among the largely forgotten fraternity of U.S. vice presidents. The Yale dropout, who piled up two drunken driving convictions as a young adult, is colorful.
Cheney used the F-word on the Senate floor. His gay daughter became an issue to some. He joked with then-candidate George Bush in Naperville about a reporter he deemed a "big time" (swear). …