The vice president is known for being a taciturn fellow, but his failure to admit what he had done immediately following the incident is puzzling nonetheless. Instead of releasing a statement Saturday evening, the vice president apparently chose to maintain public silence. It is not entirely clear who called White House Chief of Staff Andy Card to inform him a hunting accident had occurred in the vice president's party, but according to news reports, Card did not initially realize that Cheney was the shooter responsible. Upon learning of the accident, Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove called Katharine Armstrong, the owner of the ranch where the accident occurred, and discovered the vice president was involved. Rove called the president around 8 p.m., an hour and a half after the accident, telling him the details as he knew them. The first official word from the vice president's office came 20 hours after the shooting, when a Texas newspaper posted a story about the incident on its website, following a call from Ms. Armstrong informing them of the event.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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