Cheney finds friendly audience in Wyoming |

Cheney finds friendly audience in Wyoming

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Vice President Dick Cheney’s first public appearance since shooting a man in a hunting accident had two things going for it: a friendly venue and – 1,000 miles away – his victim in a gracious opening act.Cheney enjoyed a standing ovation from the Legislature in his home state of Wyoming, less than 20 minutes after Harry Whittington spoke to reporters at the Corpus Christi, Texas, hospital where he was released Friday.Whittington, his voice raspy but strong, had only kind words for the vice president. “My family and I are deeply sorry for everything Vice President Cheney and his family have had to deal with,” he said.The Austin attorney bore the scars of his ordeal but scarcely looked like a man who’s been through a shooting and a heart attack within a week. The nicks on his face, caused by birdshot, looked like shaving scrapes, although a line of cuts on his upper right eyelid and purple scrapes on his neck suggested something more serious.Whittington didn’t answer questions – a doctor said he still wasn’t “100 percent” – but he was well enough to joke about how dogged the media have been in reporting that he is 78 years old.Cheney, who took all the blame for the shooting in an appearance Wednesday on Fox News, made only fleeting reference to it in Friday’s speech, which was filled mostly with reminisces of Wyoming politics.”It’s a wonderful experience to be greeted by such warmth by the leaders of our great state. It’s especially true when you’ve had a very long week,” Cheney said. “Thankfully, Harry Whittington is on the mend and doing very well.”Whittington was hit in the face, neck and chest with birdshot during the Feb. 11 hunting trip. After a shotgun pellet traveled to his heart, he had suffered a mild heart attack Tuesday while being treated at Christus Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-Memorial.”We all assume certain risks in what we do, in what activities we pursue,” said Whittington, who was back at his Austin home by late Friday afternoon. “Accidents do and will happen.”He said the past weekend involved “a cloud of misfortune and sadness that is not easy to explain, especially with those who are not familiar with the great sport of quail hunting.”

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