Cheney story bungled

Judging from a White House press conference I just watched, Washington reporters are as puzzled as I am about the Cheney hunting accident and how the story was handled by officials.

The vice president of the United States shoots someone on Saturday (albeit accidentally) and the news doesn’t get out till Sunday? I find that peculiar. Even more peculiar is that the president himself did not learn until Sunday that the shooter was Cheney.

Reporters at a White House press conference this morning hammered Scott McClellan with questions about it, but for the most part he seemed evasive, often referring questions to Cheney’s staff.

Cheney’s staff, of course, had made the decision Saturday to have or let a private citizen report the incident. Which she did. The next day. True, she was at the scene when the accident happened, and she was the owner of the ranch where it happened. But still, a private citizen? Not someone on Cheney’s staff? Not someone in the White House?

McClellan’s only explanation was that a.) the woman was an eye witness and b.) Cheney staffers [all of them?] were busy seeing to the care of the unfortunate victim. Pressed for details, McClellan referred reporters back to Cheney’s office. Why all the runaround? What’s going on here? Why not just a routine, official press release Saturday to explain what happened?

Whether this is merely bungling on someone’s part, or an attempted coverup of some kind, it smacks of more ineptitude at the highest levels. And there has been more than enough of that in recent months.

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