Shoot first, take questions later


No doubt you are as sick and tired as I am at having to listen to the whining of the White House press corps. Just because they are not informed in a timely fashion every time a vice president shoots someone.

Dick Cheney’s legacy


In politics, certain unplanned moments can suddenly _ and often unfairly _ crystallize a vague and unformed public impression into a lasting stereotype.

President Bush senior’s perplexity at a supermarket scanner that he was an out-of-touch elitist; Vice President Quayle’s misspelling of potato that he wasn’t too bright; President Ford’s stumble that he was a buffoon; President Carter’s encounter with a swamp rabbit that he was a wimp.

And now it has happened to Vice President Cheney.

Political animals


Jimmy Carter fought off a killer bunny. Ronald Reagan was almost flogged by a turkey. And Andrew Jackson’s potty-mouthed parrot was barred from his funeral.

Vice President Dick Cheney may be a national laughingstock after shooting a fellow hunter while aiming for a flock of quail. But he’s hardly the first politician who has suffered an embarrassing and potentially disastrous run-in with nature’s creatures.

History is filled with stories of animals that have caused political humiliation, scandal and even death. Think of Cleopatra’s suicide by serpent.

The Cheney factor


At the start of the Bush presidency, Dick Cheney was viewed as the grown-up, the seasoned hand to guide an inexperienced president. Now, he’s the center of controversy.

His accidental shooting of a hunting companion and the administration’s fumbles in getting out the word underscore the secrecy and near independence under which the vice president operates _ and it all sent the White House scrambling on Tuesday to find the right tone when the victim’s condition took a turn for the worse.

A lesson in old-fashioned politics


With a shove from party leaders, Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett abruptly quit a key Senate race in Ohio and further exposed a disconnect between the Democratic establishment and Internet-fueled challengers.

The political novice withdrew under intense pressure from party leaders in Washington, clearing the field for Rep. Sherrod Brown _ a 30-year veteran of Democratic politics with more than $2.5 million in the bank.

Questions about project Able Danger

Pre-Sept. 11 intelligence conducted by a secret military unit identified terrorist ringleader Mohamed Atta 13 different times, a congressman said Tuesday.

During a Capitol Hill news conference, Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., said the unit _ code-named “Able Danger” _ also identified “a problem” in Yemen two weeks before the attack on the USS Cole. It knew the problem was tied into the port of Aden and involved a U.S. platform, but the ship commander was not made aware of it, Weldon said.

The suicide bombing of the Cole killed 17 sailors on Oct. 12, 2000.

Abramoff claimed close ties to Bush’s political guru


Three former associates of Jack Abramoff say the now-convicted lobbyist frequently told them he had strong ties to the White House through presidential confidant Karl Rove.

The White House said Monday night that Rove remembers meeting Abramoff at a 1990s political meeting and considered the lobbyist a “casual acquaintance” since President Bush took office in 2001.

The blame game: Lots of hype, no results


As always, Congress is focusing on the sins of the past and not the present.

From that standpoint, the current investigations into the Katrina disaster are a familiar repeat of the blame game that can serve little useful purpose because the chances are good the errors will be repeated.

Campaign reform frenzy overlooks leadership PACs

McClatchy Newspapers

Alaska Rep. Don Young gained infamy last year as the chairman of the House Transportation Committee who secured more than $200 million for a “bridge to nowhere” in his home state.

Less noticed was his support for projects elsewhere in the country favored by contributors to Midnight Sun, a political action committee. Known as a leadership PAC, Midnight Sun is controlled by Young, and its treasurer is a registered lobbyist with a client list that includes transportation interests.

Texas authorities find Cheney at fault in shooting, cite him for failing to have valid hunting stamp

Vice President Dick Cheney violated Texas hunting law by not having a valid hunting stamp on his license and has been given a warning citation by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department following Cheney’s shooting of a fellow quail hunter Saturday on the private Armstrong Ranch in the south part of the state.

The department also found the accident was caused by a “hunter’s judgment factor” when Cheney sprayed another hunter while aiming at flying birds.