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Signs of the Times for Sat, 18 Feb 2006

By Ted Rall
ICH
17 Feb 06
Talking to the media doesn't come naturally to a vice president who hasn't held a press conference for the last three and a half years, but what about the White House PR machine? Why did they wait so long to let the news out?

Attorney Alan Dershowitz speculates that Cheney may have stalled to cover up drunkenness. "One possibility is that it takes approximately that period of time for alcohol to dissipate in the body and no longer be subject to accurate testing," Dershowitz writes. "It is fairly common for people involved in alcohol-related accidents to delay reporting them until the alcohol has left the body." Cheney has a history of public intoxication, having been twice convicted of DUI.

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By Sidney Blumenthal
17 Feb 06
The White House's secretive response to Cheney's misfire cannot be understood apart from the society of Texas royalty.

In the original account authorized by Vice President Dick Cheney of his shooting of Harry Whittington, given by Katharine Armstrong, heiress and hunting companion, to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and later elaborated on to other news outlets, the 11 members of the hunting party set off on the morning of Feb. 11 in two trucks for the wilds of the 50,000-acre Armstrong Ranch in search of quails. After lunch, whose menu was described as antelope, jicama salad, bread and Dr Pepper, the hunters divided into two groups. Cheney went off with Armstrong; Pamela Pitzer Willeford, the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein; and Whittington.

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RJ Eskow
16 Feb 06
After trying to get me to say that Cheney and Pamela Willeford had an affair (which I wouldn't - I stick with what I know), Tucker Carlson confronted me on "The Situation" tonight* about the fact that Willeford's husband was apparently on the ranch at the time of the incident. It seems that he and others think that my comparison of the Whittington shooting and Chappaquiddick must be all about sex. That, and the fact that my opening paragraph reciting the facts (as we knew them yesterday morning) included the fact that Cheney and Whittington were with two women to whom they're not married.

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Andrew Gumbel, Rupert Cornwell, David Usborne
17 February 2006
When the Vice-President of America shot a hunting companion in the face and chest, it was at first just seen as an unfortunate accident. However, because of poor news management and some questionable recounting of events, the story has become a political scandal, a chance to bash the Republicans, and a wealthy source of humour for many comedians. Here's why...

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by Stephen Elliott
February 13th, 2006
And then Dick Cheney shot someone. It was Saturday, February 11. He didn't do it on purpose. He thought he was shooting at quail. But there wasn't any quail, there was just a 78-year-old lawyer in a bright orange vest. Dick Cheney shot him in the face.

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Peggy Noonan
February 16, 2006
The Dick Cheney shooting incident will, in a way, go away. And, in a way, not--ever. Some things stick. Gerry Ford had physically stumbled only once or twice in public when he became, officially, The Stumbler. Mr. Ford's stumbles seemed to underscore a certain lack of sure-footedness in his early policies and other decisions. The same with Jimmy Carter and the Killer Rabbit. At the time Mr. Carter told the story of a wild rabbit attacking his boat he had already come to be seen by half the country as weak and unlucky. Even bunnies took him on. Same with Dick Cheney. He's been painted as the dark force of the administration, and now there's a mental picture to go with the reputation. Pull! Sorry, Harry! Pull!

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