The president says the vice president handled his shooting incident "just fine"

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated February 17, 2006 08:00 AM
Advertisement

President Bush expressed his satisfaction with Vice President Dick Cheney’s account of his Texas hunting accident of last weekend, a White House spokesman said Thursday as Texas authorities said they had closed their investigation into the incident.

No charges will be filed.

In his own words, Bush told reporters: “I thought the vice president handled the issue just fine. And I thought his explanation was a powerful explanation. … It was a deeply traumatic moment for him, and, obviously, it was a tragic moment for (shooting victim) Harry Whittington.”

Asked if Cheney should have spoken up about the accident sooner, Bush repeated, “I’m satisfied with the explanation.”

The Kenedy County Sheriff’s Department released its report from Chief Deputy Gilberto San Miguel Jr., which said he interviewed Cheney the morning after Saturday’s accident. Cheney explained that he did not see hunting companion Whittington come up behind him and accidentally sprayed him with birdshot in the face and upper body while aiming at a quail, the report said, according to the Associated Press.

In his only public statement on the matter, Cheney told Fox News Wednesday that the shooting caused “one of the worst days of my life” and said, “I’m the guy who pulled the trigger and shot my friend.”

Whittington, 78, remained in stable condition Thursday at a Texas hospital, two days after doctors said one of the shotgun pellets traveled to his heart and he had what they called “a mild heart attack.”