Scott McClellan just got ripped at the gaggle today over the delays and method of disclosure in the Cheney shooting. WaPo was kind enough to offer an edited four minute video sample
, but the whole thing was interesting if you like the McClellan press conference genre.
The main point of contention was the method and delay in informing the press to get the story mainstreamed AFTER the Sunday talk shows. There were a couple of really biting questions, my favorite was the one regarding the Vice President's communication capability with the situation room. The questioner obliquely implied that this communication setup is the same one that would be used in a time of national emergency, disaster, terror or nuclear attack, etc.
It also sounds like McClellan was intentionally kept out of the loop so that he could hold the press conference, not supply any answers, and be truthful, a consistent Bush administration media strategy.
This whole thing is starting to smell funny to me. I don't know exactly what they were covering up, but it's starting to sound like there's something more than we know.
I'd be curious to hear an answer to the question, "had the Vice President consumed any alcohol in the 24 hours prior to the shooting?"
That is one possible explanation for the delays in disclosure, and also a fair reason that the press notification was done by someone outside Cheney's party, to a local paper where she has influence. No proof, just a question.
I've only been hunting a few times on business and I took the job of keeping house, but down here in Texas, it is not uncommon for alcohol to find its way out into the hunt. There are variations, not every hunting group drinks by any means, but enough of it goes on for it to be worth a question, eh?UPDATE:
The storyline out of that gaggle seems to be Bush Knew but kept it quiet. (I like this MSNBC version because of the "White House Under Fire
" pun headline.)
Okay, maybe I'm onto something here. More questions... Why a delay before Cheney was allowed to talk to the local sheriffs?
CBS News White House correspondent Peter Maer reports Texas authorities are complaining that the Secret Service barred them from speaking to Cheney after the incident. Kenedy County Texas Sheriffs Lt. Juan Guzman said deputies first learned of the shooting when an ambulance was called.
Any other theories?UPDATE 3: Greyhair
points to Digby
who theorizes that the delay may have been to pin the accident on somebody else. I consider that a completely viable possibility as well. Just a little South Texas background that might support this story.
As you might guess, South Texas is swimming with illegal Mexican immigrants who take all sorts of crappy "day labor" jobs to make cash. One of the stories I've heard in many different versions from many different sources is that of illegals being used on hunts in all sorts of roles, as "sherpas" or even sometimes in the place of retrieval dogs, not to mention cooks, maids, day labor, and a whole array of ranch jobs.
Yes, I know, but my point is this. I doubt there's a ranch in South Texas that doesn't employ all sorts of people who would be more than willing to spill the beans for relatively little hard cash, so the "pin it on someone else theory" could have been entertained and thrown out on this basis. Those four people in the hunting party, especially in a luxury "ranch" like this one, were certainly not the only people there.
(Also, I got bumped on another blog for being paranoid. (No link if you insult me, by the way) I didn't say all this was true. I just said that the whole way this unfolded smelled funny to me, and if you watched the gaggle with McClellan, it obviously smelled funny to the press room as well. These are just possibilities I'm exploring in the absence of an totally forthcoming story. If somebody would ask and get an answer to the alcohol question, for instance, there would be no speculation.)