Crisis Communication

"I'm the guy who pulled the trigger and shot my friend."

Try for a moment to put yourself in Vice President Cheney's shoes.

In an interview today with Brit Hume — that airs tonight on "Special Report" at 6 p.m. ET — the Vice President of the United States spoke those words.

Some say he's gruff, a stonewaller and a man who simply doesn't believe that he owes the public an explanation of this or anything else he does. But it was impossible not to see that this man was still suffering from what he caused Saturday afternoon. He called it the "worst day" of his life and described turning to shoot a bird and then "seeing Harry fall." He then ran over to his friend with others in the party and asked if he was okay. His friend was bleeding and there was no response.

Word from Harry Whittington's doctor today is that he is sitting up and eating and doing some work from his hospital room. He doesn't understand what all the hullabaloo is about. He is, by all accounts, a gentleman and a Texan and he doesn't appear to want so much attention.

He may well get over the whole thing long before the vice president does. That's often the case when one person has the-life-scared-out-of-them by unintentionally harming another.

So I would suggest that we look at this incident in terms of human nature. Whatever you think of the vice president, perhaps he should be judged in political terms on his policy and how well he carries out his duties.

However — you knew this was coming — in terms of the handling of the situation, the vice president seems to have no regrets. That of course is his right. But, with all due respect, he might be missing an opportunity to learn something from the whole mess. As vice president, almost nothing that happens in your life goes unnoticed. There is almost no line between your private and your personal life and that just goes along with the territory. That's what you sign up for when you put your name on the ticket. So best to get it out there. And this reporter suggests — in agreement with Fred Barnes — that the AP is a bit more effective on that front than the Web site of the local Courier.

Hopefully, Harry and the V.P. can both get on with their lives now.

Looking ahead to tomorrow: Neil Entwistle is set to be arraigned at 2 p.m. ET. We'll see you then.

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