Had you discussed this with colleagues in the White House, with the President, and so on?But if you read further you see that the President knows his credibility is shot:
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I did not. The White House was notified, but I did not discuss it directly, myself. I talked to Andy Card, I guess it was Sunday morning.
Q Not until Sunday morning? Was that the first conversation you'd had with anybody in the -- at the White House?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q And did you discuss this with Karl Rove at any time, as has been reported?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: No, Karl talks to -- I don't recall talking to Karl. Karl did talk with Katherine Armstrong, who is a good mutual friend to both of us. Karl hunts at the Armstrong, as well --
Q Say that again?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I said Karl has hunted at the Armstrong, as well, and we're both good friends of the Armstrongs and of Katherine Armstrong. And Katherine suggested, and I agreed, that she would go make the announcement, that is that she'd put the story out. And I thought that made good sense for several reasons. First of all, she was an eye-witness. She'd seen the whole thing. Secondly, she'd grown up on the ranch, she'd hunted there all of her life. Third, she was the immediate past head of the Texas Wildlife and Parks Department, the game control commission in the state of Texas, an acknowledged expert in all of this.
And she wanted to go to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, which is the local newspaper, covers that area, to reporters she knew. And I thought that made good sense because you can get as accurate a story as possible from somebody who knew and understood hunting. And then it would immediately go up to the wires and be posted on the website, which is the way it went out. And I thought that was the right call.
Q What do you think now?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I still do. I still think that the accuracy was enormously important. I had no press person with me, I didn't have any press people with me. I was there on a private weekend with friends on a private ranch. In terms of who I would contact to have somebody who would understand what we're even talking about, the first person that we talked with at one point, when Katherine first called the desk to get hold of a reporter didn't know the difference between a bullet and a shotgun -- a rifle bullet and a shotgun. And there are a lot of basic important parts of the story that required some degree of understanding. And so we were confident that Katherine was the right one, especially because she was an eye-witness and she could speak authoritatively on it. She probably knew better than I did what had happened since I'd only seen one piece of it.
Q Now, it strikes me that you must have known that this was going to be a national story --Well, how about yourself and another person? Nope. You have surrogates take over when it is politically advantageous. So, it remains to be seen. Was Katherine the right choice? You be the judge.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Oh, sure.
Q -- and it does raise the question of whether you couldn't have headed off this beltway firestorm if you had put out the word to the national media, as well as to the local newspaper so that it could post it on its website. I mean, in retrospect, wouldn't that have been the wise course --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, who is going to do that? Are they going to take my word for what happened? There is obviously -- -
Q Well, obviously, you could have put the statement out in the name of whoever you wanted. You could put it out in the name of Mrs. Armstrong, if you wanted to. Obviously, that's -- she's the one who made the statement.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Exactly. That's what we did. We went with Mrs. Armstrong. We had -- she's the one who put out the statement. And she was the most credible one to do it because she was a witness. It wasn't me in terms of saying, here's what happened, it was --
Q Right, understood. Now, the suspicion grows in some quarters that you -- that this was an attempt to minimize it, by having it first appear in a little paper and appear like a little hunting incident down in a remote corner of Texas.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: There wasn't any way this was going to be minimized, Brit; but it was important that it be accurate. I do think what I've experienced over the years here in Washington is as the media outlets have proliferated, speed has become sort of a driving force, lots of time at the expense of accuracy. And I wanted to make sure we got it as accurate as possible, and I think Katherine was an excellent choice. I don't know who you could get better as the basic source for the story than the witness who saw the whole thing.
One final point. Is it really all about the Veep or Harry?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: He was dressed in orange, he was dressed properly, but he was also -- there was a little bit of a gully there, so he was down a little ways before land level, although I could see the upper part of his body when -- I didn't see it at the time I shot, until after I'd fired. And the sun was directly behind him -- that affected the vision, too, I'm sure.Well, if perhaps the Big Dick Cheney thought he was having the worst day of his life, what about Harry?
But the image of him falling is something I'll never be able to get out of my mind. I fired, and there's Harry falling. And it was, I'd have to say, one of the worst days of my life, at that moment...
...Q Describe if you can your conversations with him, what you've said to him and the attitude he's shown toward you in the aftermath of this.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: He's been fantastic. He's a gentleman in every respect. He oftentimes expressed more concern about me than about himself. He's been in good spirits, unfailingly cheerful --
Q What did he say about that? You said, "expressed concern" about you -- what did he say?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, when I first saw him in the hospital, for example, he said, look, he said, I don't want this to create problems for you. He literally was more concerned about me and the impact on me than he was on the fact that he'd been shot. He's a -- I guess I'd describe him as a true Texas gentleman, a very successful attorney, successful businessman in Austin; a gentleman in every respect of the word. And he's been superb.
Q For you, personally, how would you -- you said this was one of the worst days of your life. How so?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: What happened to my friend as a result of my actions, it's part of this sudden, you know, in less than a second, less time than it takes to tell, going from what is a very happy, pleasant day with great friends in a beautiful part of the country, doing something I love -- to, my gosh, I've shot my friend. I've never experienced anything quite like that before.