The scuttlebutt is this: Cheney’s delay in reporting that he shot Whittington was not due to the fact that he, you know, shot Whittington . .. but because he was afraid word might get out that he was hunting with Pamela Willeford (pictured here), U.S. ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
Lynne Cheney is apparently not enamored of the close relationship between Cheney and Ambassador Willeford.
Willeford’s participation in the hunting group was not initially revealed. Her involvement was only discovered Monday. And for those keeping score, the hunting party was two men and two women. I’m just sayin’….
The other woman was Katherine Armstrong, a divorcee and the owner of the ranch where the group hunted. Willeford, on the other hand, is married to a gastroenterologist from Austin. She was on vacation from D.C., but was not with her husband — she was with Cheney. (Dr. Willeford was reportedly hunting with someone else, in a different field a mile away).
Willeford, by the way, was standing right next to Cheney when the ill-fated shot was fired. This might explain why Cheney was (and is) slow to talk to the public about what happened. He’s got bigger issues on his plate . . . i.e., Mrs. Cheney.
An interesting note about Willeford: In 2000, she was chair of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Now she holds one of the most coveted U.S. ambassadorship posts. Anyone care to speculate on her high rise?
UPDATE: Was there alcohol involved?
An MSNBC story quoted Armstrong as saying there "may have been" a "beer or two" at the hunting party’s picnic.
The odd thing is that the Armstrong quote was excised from the article within one hour after it first appeared on the MSNBC site, so the article now reads without the beer-related paragraph.
Fortunately, someone captured the screen of the original story.
UPDATE TO THE UPDATE:
Now, they’ve restored the paragraph, slightly reworked:
In a recorded, on-the-record phone call with NBC News, Armstrong said that beer may have been available at lunch that day. “If someone wants to help themselves to a beer,” she said, “they may, but I did not see anyone do that,” Armstrong says. She says she was not sure if there were beers in the coolers but wasn’t ready to rule it out: “There may be a beer or two in there, but remember not everyone in the party was shooting,” she told NBC News.
The story also now suggests that the White House misled MSNBC about whether Cheney had consumed alcohol. A new paragraph from the revised article:
NBC News called the vice president’s office for comment four times Tuesday and Wednesday and asked whether the vice president or anyone in the hunting party had consumed any alcohol on Saturday prior to the accident. In an e-mail statement Wednesday to NBC News, the vice president’s press secretary referred NBC News to the Kenedy County Sheriff’s Department report on the incident.
The sheriff’s report says “there was no alcohol…involved in the incident.” Cheney told Brit Hume that he drank beer prior to the accident. Hmmmmmm….. I guess the sheriff’s report is technically correct. There was no alcohol involved . . . in the incident. The dude was sprayed with shotgun pellets, not a shook-up beer.