Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

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Sometimes message is just really hard to formulate in real time. This AP story is running juxtaposed with news of Whittington's heart attack on many news sites ...

The White House has decided that the best way to deal with Vice President Dick Cheney's shooting accident is to joke about it.

President Bush's spokesman quipped Tuesday that the burnt orange school colors of the University of Texas championship football team that was visiting the White House shouldn't be confused for hunter's safety wear.

"The orange that they're wearing is not because they're concerned that the vice president may be there," joked White House press secretary Scott McClellan, following the lead of late-night television comedians. "That's why I'm wearing it."

The president's brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, took a similar jab after slapping an orange sticker on his chest from the Florida Farm Bureau that read, "No Farmers, No Food."

You can read the rest of the piece here.

I'm not sure there'd be anything wrong with this if it's true. But this snippet from the latest piece on Harry Whittington struck me as curious ...

White House physicians who attended to Whittington at the scene after Cheney accidentally shot him were involved in the treatment, the officials said.

In context, the 'treatment' referred to seems to be the cardiac catheterization performed after the heart attack. So there's still a team of White House physicians treating Whittington.

Late Update: Not long after I ran this post the text of the graf above was changed to: "Banko said cardiologists at the hospital were consulting with White House doctors because the doctors had first treated Whittington after Cheney accidentally shot him on a Texas ranch."

You've probably already heard this. But Harry Whittington, the guy Dick Cheney shot in the hunting accident on Saturday, has had what the hospital is referring to as a 'minor heart attack'. Apparently one of the pellets from the shotgun blast migrated into the area of his heart and caused the cardiac event.

The details remain sketchy. But it's hard to have much confidence at this point that any of the information we're gettng (or have gotten) is complete, timely or accurate.

Like the headline to Paul Begala's post over at TPMCafe says, Dick Cheney sure is lucky that most of the reporters covering this story aren't reporters.

Here's a passage from a piece out from ABCNews ...

After difficulty getting information from Cheney's staff, ABC News learned from sources mostly outside the White House that the vice president's Secret Service contingent had notified the local sheriff an hour after the vice president accidentally shot prominent Texas lawyer Harry Whittington with a pellet gun while hunting for quail.

A pellet gun? Like when bad guys whack people with a sawed-off pellet gun? Please. A shotgun is not a 'pellet gun'. It's a shotgun.

As long as we're on the subject, where's Vice President Cheney? Is he appearing in public any time soon?

Details, from AP ...

Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren said that about an hour after Cheney shot Whittington, the head of the Secret Service's local office called the Kenedy County sheriff to report the accident. "They made arrangements at the sheriff's request to have deputies come out and interview the vice president the following morning at 8 a.m. and that indeed did happen," Zahren said.

At least one deputy showed up at the ranch's front gate later in the evening and asked to speak to Cheney but was turned away by the Secret Service, Zahren said. There was some miscommunication that arrangements had already been made to interview the vice president, he said.

Gilbert San Miguel, chief deputy sheriff for Kenedy County, said the report had not been completed Monday and that it was being handled as a hunting accident, although he would not comment about what that meant they were investigating.

He said his department's investigation had found that alcohol was not a factor in the shooting, but he would not elaborate about how that had been determined. The Texas Parks and Wildlife hunting accident report also said neither Cheney nor Whittington appeared to be under the influence of intoxicants or drugs.

All sounds pretty transparent, information flowing freely.

Terrible how some miscommunication led to that sheriff's deputy come to interview Cheney being turned away.

Small world.

We noted earlier that little more than an hour after the Cheney shooting incident, Karl Rove was on the phone with Katharine Armstrong, the ranch owner who witnessed the incident and was designated as the person who would speak to the press. Turns out her dad helped Rove set up his first business.

This from a 2003 article in The New Yorker ...

Rove left the Bush pre-Presidential operation to work in the gubernatorial campaign of Bill Clements, an oilman who in 1978 became Texas’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction. Rove was appointed Clements’s chief of staff. In 1981, he left to set up a direct-mail business in Austin called Karl Rove + Company. This put him in a position to make more money than you can as a politician’s full-time employee, and allowed him to work for many Republican candidates at the same time. Rove had the imprimatur of Texas’s Republican aristocracy from the beginning, through his connection to the Bush family and to Clements. An early financier of Karl Rove + Company was Tobin Armstrong, the owner of a Texas ranch (it was on land leased from Armstrong Rove and Bill Frist were planning to go hunting) and the husband of Anne Armstrong, a former Republican Cabinet officer. Becoming chairman of the College Republicans provided Rove with an introduction to such people, which may be one reason that winning mattered so much to him; it also seems that Rove, the self-made man, gets pleasure as well as practical advantage from his association with the Texas upper crust, people who give off the glow of ease, charm, and connection which he detected in George W. Bush the first time they met.

I guess they go way back.

It just gets better and better. Karl Rove had a chat with Katharine Armstrong, the Bush pioneer and estate owner, who was on the hunt and is the only eyewitness who has been allowed to talk to the press. Apparently within 90 minutes of the shooting.

And it was her idea to go to the press, right?