First of all, she was an eyewitness. She'd seen the whole thing. - Dick Cheney
So, what was Mr. Whittington's condition in the immediate aftermath of the shooting?
He didn't respond. He was -- he was breathing, conscious at that point, but he didn't... - Dick Cheney
But he was fine. He was talking. - Katharine Armstrong
...She probably knew better than I did what had happened since I'd only seen one piece of it. - Dick Cheney
Yes, the "piece" where Whittington was shot. The one piece that Katharine Armstrong didn't see. What follows is a continuation of Shooting Holes in Cheney's Story Part III, with the focus on the Cheney, Hume interview.
From what Armstrong said she saw as she sat in the hunt vehicle about 100 yards from Cheney and the other hunters...
Armstrong said she saw Cheney's security detail running toward the scene. "The first thing that crossed my mind was he had a heart problem," she told The Associated Press.
Two things are clear...whatever Katherine Armstrong did see was from the inside of a closed car the length of a football field away, and her first indication of any problem was when she saw others running towards the scene. It's good to know that Cheney was "confident" that she was the "most credible" witness since "she'd seen the whole thing." And while Ms. Armstrong will certainly be referenced again, let's move on to the interview itself.
Now that Cheney has spoken, as far as the White House is concerned the matter is closed. Scott McClellan said:
Mr. McCLELLAN:...the Vice President participated in an interview yesterday and answered all the big questions relating to this issue, and explained his rational behind the decision that he made...The American people saw yesterday that the Vice President is very concerned about his friend Harry Whittington. They saw his concern and compassion for a friend of his who he shot in a hunting accident...
And that is the official position of the administration and its supporters; Cheney answered every hard-hitting question his pal, Brit, threw at him and shooting his friend in the face was "one of the worst days" of his life...let it go, people. But I have a problem with letting it go. He didn't answer the big questions, his rationale for how it was "handled," is laughable, and his concern and compassion for poor Harry was clear...while he was in an ambulance on his way to the hospital, Dick was sitting down to dinner before turning in for the night. And that's where I'll begin, with his friend, Harry.
It's interesting to note that as Cheney was led through his talking points, he described Harry as his friend seven times. But asked a simple question and what did he say?
Q: Would you describe him as a close friend, friendly acquaintance, what -
THE VICE PRESIDENT: No, an acquaintance.
Heck, Harry isn't even a friendly acquaintance. Picayune perhaps, but when you'll lie about the little things, it calls into question everything that is said. And claiming a false friendship under such circumstances says a lot about the character of Dick Cheney.
Another little thing is Jaime Powell of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, the reporter chosen to break the story. While elaborating on his rationale for having Katharine Armstrong speak for him about the accident, Cheney said:
And it was also important, I thought, to get the story out as accurately as possible, and this is a complicated story that, frankly, most reporters would never have dealt with before, so --
Okay, that's reasonable. After all, with a story of this magnitude, accuracy (as Cheney reiterated many times) was vital, so it made sense to talk to a reporter who had experience covering stories about hunting accidents and understood the "difference between a bullet and a shotgun," as Cheney put it. It's funny, but a google search of Powell's work turns up exactly zero stories written by her about hunting accidents, or hunting at all...she wrote about treasure hunting and bargain hunting, but nothing about the world's only sport where the other team doesn't know they're playing. But Cheney wanted a reporter who had, frankly, dealt with this before? Then Ms. Powell was an odd choice. Again, a little thing, but still another pointless lie which makes one question anything he says. But of course, it was up to Katharine Armstrong to decide who to contact and when to do it. After all, both Cheney and Armstrong have said so.
One of the "big questions" that Cheney addressed during the interview was the decision to delay alerting the press about the shooting. As I detailed in Part I, Katharine Armstrong gave three different explanations about how and when the decision was made. It might have been Saturday, it may have been a decision made with her family on Sunday, or perhaps made by herself that Sunday...as always, Armstrong is a model of consistency.
Presumably aware that Armstrong had said that she and Cheney had discussed going to the press on Saturday and on Sunday, Cheney never specified exactly when Armstrong was chosen as spokesperson. As noted earlier, Cheney emphasized that Harry and accuracy were his only concerns.
First of all, she was an eye-witness. She'd seen the whole thing. [...]
I don't know who you could get better as the basic source for the story than the witness who saw the whole thing. [...]
And so we were confident that Katherine was the right one, especially because she was an eye-witness and she could speak authoritatively on it. [...]
We went with Mrs. Armstrong. We had -- she's the one who put out the statement. And she was the most credible one to do it because she was a witness.
But why was Armstrong chosen, as opposed to the many other (alleged) witnesses?
And Katherine suggested, and I agreed, that she would go make the announcement, that is that she'd put the story out. [...]
It was recommended to me -- Katherine Armstrong wanted to do it, as she said...
Well, we already know how much credibility Armstrong has as a witness to the shooting she didn't see, but what has she said about being chosen as Cheney's media point-person?
"It just kind of ended up in my lap," Armstrong said.
"...she said, adding that Mr. Cheney never consulted with her over how to handle the incident.
One has to wonder if, while spinning Katharine Armstrong to America, Cheney recognized the irony of his saying:
Well, if it's accurate. If it's accurate.
But mindful of the site guidelines not to post "epic diaries," and constrained by the one diary a day rule, I will be posting Shooting Holes Part IV: Dick Speaks, at ePluribus Media, where I will address the shooting itself, its aftermath and...drum roll...the beer at lunch. I came across information that seems to directly contradict Cheney's version of that lunch. Stay tuned...
Update: Part IV is now up at ePluribus Media. Find out if Dick was lying about that beer. ;-)