Terry McAuliffe Reacts to Cheney's Interview

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," February 15, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Let's get a Democrat's reaction to the vice president's words. We're joined now by Terry McAuliffe, former chair of the DNC.

Terry, I take it you might have seen a little bit of this or not much of it or where do you stand on being informed on the interview?

TERRY MCAULIFFE, FORMER DNC CHAIR: Well, first of all, I am a hunter. I hunt all over the world. And I can tell you this: This was the vice president of the United States of America who shot someone in the face, and it took 22 hours for people to be alerted around the world that the vice president had shot somebody.

If this had been you and I out hunting, I can tell you, John, the police would have been on the scene immediately. They would have asked questions, was alcohol being consumed? There is a procedure that you go through.

And the vice president didn't follow any of those procedures. This is about personal responsibility. He hid. He didn't get the facts out. They tried to cover it up. And I think there's just a lot more questions that need to be answered.

GIBSON: Terry, you think they tried to cover it up? A cover-up is a loaded word, Terry.

MCAULIFFE: When the vice president of the United States shoots someone in the face — the vice president of the United States — and for 22 hours the American public isn't told. The vice president travels with the most sophisticated communication equipment.

GIBSON: Not in this case.

MCAULIFFE: They can get anybody — that's not true. The vice president has a phone that can reach anybody in the world at any second, except for Usama bin Laden. They can't find him, but for anyone else.

GIBSON: Terry, what did you want him to do? You heard the vice president's explanation, or did you? Did you hear it?

MCAULIFFE: I heard what Brit said.

GIBSON: I actually watched the thing Wednesday.

MCAULIFFE: Well let me tell you what a hunter's creed is, John. A hunter is responsible for his weapon.

GIBSON: And that's what he said.

MCAULIFFE: No, Brit just said, well, once you hear, you'll think partial blame. The hunter is responsible.

GIBSON: No, he took full responsibility for shooting the guy. I pulled the trigger. It's my responsibility. Nobody else's responsibility. That's what he said.

The point that you might want to attack him on, which you are, is that he decided that he was going to have Katharine Armstrong, who owns the place and saw the thing, call a reporter down there. And he said, "Look, the press corps is upset, by implication I guess Terry McAuliffe is upset, because The New York Times wasn't called and the Corpus Christi Caller-Times was called. What difference does it make, the story got out."

MCAULIFFE: John, this is not about The New York Times or the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. This man is the vice president of the United States of America, second in control, heartbeat away from the presidency. This is a man who shot someone in the face. We were not alerted. Nobody was alerted to it.

He should have done it and he shouldn't have waited 22 hours. And they shouldn't have waited until the next day to tell the police. If it had been your or I — he's not above the law.

GIBSON: No, the police were called. The police came out at 10:00 the next morning. They were going to come out at 10:00 the next morning. The vice president said no, make it 8:00. They came at 8:00 Sunday morning.

MCAULIFFE: And I wonder why? Why did they want the police delayed?

GIBSON: You call that a delay?

MCAULIFFE: John, he shot him at 5:30 in the afternoon. I'm sorry. The American public — if that has been Al Gore, Al Gore would be on his way to Leavenworth right now. Al Gore would be in shackles.

GIBSON: You should worry about Al Gore in Saudi Arabia. Try to reel him back in there.

MCAULIFFE: But as long as we've got the vice president in this moment of candor, John, let's go ahead — and I hope Brit Hume did his journalistic responsibility and I hope he asked the vice president why Scooter Libby testified at a grand jury that he ordered, Dick Cheney ordered the leak of classified information.

GIBSON: Well, as a matter of fact, I urge you to watch at 6:00 because I happen to know Brit did ask that question and there is an answer. And I'm sure you will want to come back and comment on it.

MCAULIFFE: John, I'd love to do it. Just remember George Bush Sr. said if someone leaks classified information, they should be tried as a traitor for treason. George Bush Jr. said ...

GIBSON: ... But also the vice president did notice there's an executive order that allows the vice president to unclassify information. Terry McAuliffe, thank you very much.

MCAULIFFE: But it was not unclassified when he released it, John. I know this is FOX ...


GIBSON: See you later, Terry.

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