Years before, Bartlett had faced another bad-news hunting incident when Gov. George W. Bush was photographed shooting a bird, which upon closer examination by the photographer, turned out to be a protected species.Ladies and gentlemen, the vice president of the United States.
As soon as he got that news, Bartlett sprang into action, and by the time newspaper presses ran that night with the photo, the incident had already been officially reported to state authorities, a fine was paid and Bush had issued an apology. The result: a one-day story that you, in fact, probably never heard before reading this.
The way Bartlett describes the Cheney incident, it took forever to reach anyone with Cheney, and the White House aide discovered to his horror that the hunting party had already been strategizing for 24 hours. They planned to give the story to a Corpus Christi reporter, except that, it being the weekend, no one could find him.
Bartlett finally reached the vice president and urgently presented another option: getting him on the phone with a national press pool to explain the entire incident in his own words ASAP. There was dead silence. Then, the vice president intoned he would handle it his way. Which Cheney did.
And, not coincidentally, his hunting story is still the subject of talk show jokes.