Thursday, February 16, 2006

Call him Aaron Burr/From the way he's dropping Whittingtons

When I write the definitive book on effective public sector public relations, I will cite the second Bush Presidency as the height of message management and control.

We'll set aside for a moment the success the administration has seen when starting sentences with "The world changed on 9/11," and instead focus on the fallout from Dick Cheney shooting a man in the face.

Take a look at how Dick answered Brit Hume's question on Fox News (What, was Larry King not available?) about whether he had hung White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan out to dry by not telling the press about the story earlier.

Cheney: I had a bit of the feeling that the press corps was upset because, to some extent, it was about them - they didn't like the idea that we called the Corpus Christi Caller-Times instead of The New York Times. But it strikes me that the Corpus Christi Caller-Times is just as valid a news outlet as The New York Times is, especially for covering a major story in south Texas.

Hume: Well, perhaps so, but isn't there an institution here present at the White House that has long established itself as the vehicle through which White House news gets out, and that's the pool?

Cheney: I had no press person with me, no coverage with me, no White House reporters with me. I'm comfortable with the way we did it, obviously. You can disagree with that, and some of the White House press corps clearly do....
Cheney deflects criticism by blaming the selfish petulant Washington media, while giving a tacit compliment to the good people in the middle of the country. It's a master stroke. Truly a master stroke.

But don't say the Brit didn't ask the tough questions.

Hume: Was anybody drinking in this party?

Cheney: No. You don't hunt with people who drink. That's not a good idea. We had ...

Hume: So he wasn't, and you weren't?

Cheney: We'd taken a break at lunch - go down under an old - ancient oak tree there on the place, and have a barbecue. I had a beer at lunch.... We didn't go back into the field to hunt quail until about, oh, sometime after 3:00 p.m.
So you weren't drinking, once you had stopped drinking at lunch. Careful. People who say stuff like that get labeled flip-floppers.

And finally, I would be remiss if I didn't share this little gem from last night's sit-down.

Hume: Well, what - you must have recognized, though, with all your experience in Washington, that this was going to be a big story.

Cheney: Well, true, it was unprecedented. I've been in the business for a long time and never seen a situation quite like this. We've had experiences where the President has been shot; we've never had a situation where the Vice President shot somebody.

Hume: Not since Aaron Burr.

Cheney: Not since Aaron Burr....

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

ha! aaron burr!

February 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spot on analysis Dave--pity the gun didn't backfire though.

February 17, 2006  

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