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Third hunter revealed in Cheney hunting party

Ron Brynaert
Published: February 13, 2006

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The U.S. ambassador to Switzerland was the third member of a hunting party which went awry after Vice President Dick Cheney accidently shot 78-year-old Austin, Texas attorney Harry Whittington, according to a story written for the Cox news service, RAW STORY has learned.

Pamela Willeford, a former Texas education official, accompanied Cheney and Whittington as they hunted quail at the Armstrong ranch in Texas on Saturday.

Ranch owner Katharine Armstrong told the Associated Press that after Whittington separated from the others to gather his kills, he "came up from behind the vice president and the other hunter and didn't signal them or indicate to them or announce himself."

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Adding to the account, Willeford told Cox news service that "the sun was behind Whittington as well, possibly making him more difficult to see."

Before nominated by the President in July of 2003 to be ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Willeford spent eight years on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, a position she also gained thanks to Bush when he was Governor of Texas.

According to Open Secrets, "Willeford and her immediate family contributed a total of $23,200 to Republicans during the 2000, 2002 and 2004 election cycles, including $7,000 to the Bush campaigns and an additional $500 to the Bush-Cheney recount fund established after the 2000 election."

Brad Blog has more details on the incident, along with background on some of the prominent Texan Republicans that were at the scene.

Greg Mitchell of Editor and Publisher discusses the media coverage and the "more than 18-hour delay in news emerging that the Vice President of the United States had shot a man."

Excerpts from the story written by Robert Elder of the Austin American-Statesman, and Cox Washington bureau writer Ken Herman:

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Just before sunset Saturday, 78-year-old Harry Whittington pulled off "a double" -- bringing down two quails with two successive blasts from his shotgun.

One of Whittington's hunting companions, Vice President Dick Cheney, wasn't as accurate.

A few minutes later, Cheney accidently shot Whittington, an Austin lawyer, according to Pamela Willeford, the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland, who was hunting with the pair on the 50,000 acre Armstrong Ranch in South Texas.

....

"He is just doing great," said Willeford, who visited Whittington Sunday. "As my husband said, he has a twinkle in his eye...It was scary, but fortunately he is going to be just fine. He is anxious to get on home."

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At the time of this writing, RAW STORY was unable to find any newspapers that have picked up the Cox news story, as it appears that Ambassador Willeford's name has been left out of all of the media reports, so far.

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