Cheney Shooting Victim Shows Improvement

Harry Whittington, the Texas lawyer shot by Vice President Dick Cheney during a quail hunt Saturday, is showing improvement as he convalesces at a hospital in Corpus Christi.

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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

Vice President Dick Cheney is trying to close the book on a story that just won't go away, his weekend shooting of friend Harry Whittington on a quail hunt in Texas. Cheney went on Fox News last night to give his side of the story. And to see how the appearance is playing today, we turn to John Dickerson. He's Chief Political Correspondent for the online magazine, Slate. So John, Cheney took responsibility for the shooting last night, so will that be enough to make the story go away?

Mr. JOHN DICKERSON (Chief Political Correspondent, SLATE magazine): I think so. It looks like it's, it's going away. They're a few more little bumps in the road. There'll be coverage of Harry Whittington leaving the hospital, and the Sunday papers will probably have editorials, and there will be, the news magazines might still have a few people out there investigating it, but it looks like it's probably pretty much going to go away, unless there's something the vice president said last night in his interview that, that is at odds with the facts. But it looks like it's going away.

BRAND: Well both Cheney and the White House have been under fire, so to speak, for not telling the story of the shooting quickly enough, and, and is that going to have a lasting consequence for the White House?

DICKERSON: Well, I think that it's going to have, probably, some consequence in terms of press relations. The White House didn't have a very good relationship with the press in the first place, and this has only made those relations worse. I think, in the next instance, whether it's a very serious matter or even a trivial matter, there's going to be a lot of watching on the part of the press and the public, probably, to see how they handle it. And so, bad relations have probably gotten worse, and the White House will have to do something to improve those.

BRAND: Now some columnists are really upset over this. Bob Herbert of the New York Times is calling for Cheney to resign. Now, that seems extremely unlikely.

DICKERSON: That does seem quite unlikely. The President, we know from the winks and nods we've been getting from White House sources, was not very happy with the way Vice President Cheney handled this, not getting the news out quick enough, but that's a minor irritant. He still respects his view and his opinion, and this President is very loyal and is focused on bigger things than this story at the moment.

BRAND: Well, how do you think it will play politically for the Republicans in general?

DICKERSON: Well, I'm not sure it has a big, is a big problem for the Republicans. I would say that the lasting legacy of this is probably that it, that it confirms a stereotype. One of the things I hear from Republicans all across the country over the years has been a little anecdote about Ronald Reagan. He always wore his jacket in the Oval Office, and this anecdote was supposed to show the, the respect he had for the Oval Office. I think people will tell this anecdote as a kind of simple story to talk about Dick Cheney, and how he was very very secretive, even in this instance.

BRAND: Opinion and analysis from John Dickerson. He's Chief Political Correspondent for the online magazine Slate. Thanks a lot, John.

DICKERSON: Thank you.

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