February 14, 2006 2:50 PM PST
Blogosphere declares open season on Cheney
Cheney's accidental shooting of an attorney friend during a quail hunting foray in Texas on Saturday prompted quips from late-night television hosts such as Jon Stewart, David Letterman and Craig Ferguson. The jokes offended or tickled audiences, depending on their political beliefs, and skittered around the Web on Tuesday.
Video: Gates' cheap shot at Cheney?
During his keynote at the 2006 RSA Conference, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates took a tongue-in-cheek shot at the vice president.
"You can understand why this lawyer fellow let his guard down," Ferguson said. "Because if you're out hunting with a politician, you think, 'If I'm going to get it, it's going to be in the back.'"
On the "Late Show," David Letterman tied the shooting to another one of the administration's past controversies to poke fun at Cheney.
"Good news, ladies and gentlemen, we have finally located weapons of mass destruction: It's Dick Cheney...but here is the sad part--before the trip Donald Rumsfeld had denied the guy's request for body armor."
Cheney accidentally fired bird shot that struck 78-year-old attorney Harry Whittington in the face, neck and chest as the pair hunted for quail, Texas law enforcement officials say.
Controversy grew out of the vice president's expired hunting license and his failure to speak with police until 18 hours after the incident. The tone of the blogs turned gloomier when word came that a piece of bird shot circulated to Whittington's heart, causing a minor heart attack.
There was also speculation about whether the vice president had been drinking, an accusation Cheney denied.
"How do we know there was no alcohol?" Lawrence O'Donnell, a television producer and Democratic commentator, asked on The Huffington Post. "Cheney refused to talk to local authorities until the next day. No point in giving him a breathalyzer then. Every lawyer I've talked to assumes Cheney was too drunk to talk to the cops after the shooting. The next question for the White House should be: Was Cheney drunk?"
The Washington Post reported that both the Kenedy County, Texas, sheriff's department and the state have determined that alcohol did not appear to be a factor.
Los Angeles Times columnist Patt Morrison, also on The Huffington Post, lamented that the "law and order administration" can justify hunting without proper licenses as well as eavesdropping on Americans without court orders.
"Anyone sense a pattern here?" Morrison wrote.
Some of the more notable bloggers on the right were quiet about the incident on Tuesday. There was nothing about the Cheney shooting on the Web sites of commentators Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter or Bill O'Reilly.
On Blogs for Bush, bloggers blamed the escalating controversy on the media.
"I can only wonder how different the reaction would be to this incident had it been a Democrat vice president," wrote Matt Margolis.
On the same site, Mark Noonan pointed out that Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank wore an orange hunting jacket on Keith Olberman's MSNBC show as proof of a liberal bias in the media.
"Imagine for a moment," Noonan wrote, "if a Republican commentator had worn a blue dress with a white stain back during Clinton's administration."
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