Cheney's Rough Week Winding Down

Feb. 17, 2006 — -- It's been a rough week for Vice President Dick Cheney.

On Saturday, while hunting, he accidentally shot his friend Harry Whittington, who then suffered a silent heart attack a few days later while in the hospital. All week he has been blasted for everything, from the shooting to how he handled the press. But after he took full responsibility on Fox News on Wednesday, at least his boss was satisfied.

"So I thought his explanation yesterday was a very strong and powerful explanation, and I'm satisfied with the explanation he gave," President Bush said Thursday.

This bodes well for Cheney's relationship with the White House, according to ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent George Stephanopoulos.

"But [there's] no question they were worried about this earlier in the week," Stephanopoulos said. "There was a lot of tension between the White House and vice president's office."

Luckily for Cheney, the story is starting to fade in the media.

"The story is just about over assuming Mr. Whittington gets out of the hospital healthy in the next couple of days," Stephanopoulos said.

The White House probably won't indulge members of the press who want to revisit the story, according to Stephanopoulos.

"If people bring it up, they're going to push back hard and say you and the press corps don't get it," he said.

As for how this will affect the vice president's reputation, he's never been all that popular anyway, Stephanopoulos said.

"His approval ratings have always been in the 30s and 40s, very low range, and this is going to stick with him for an awful long time," he said.

"He became a punch line this week, but [the] White House can live with that and he's still very popular in conservative parts of the country. I'm sure he'll get a rousing reception in Wyoming today," he added, referring to a previously scheduled speech that Cheney was planning to give to the Wyoming legislature.

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