DCDemocrat offers an interesting theory on why there might have been a delay in releasing information about Dick Cheney shooting a man and why the ranch owner served as the spokesman.
From DCDemocrat’s diary:
In the early hours after the accident, I am willing to bet that there was uncertainty about whether Cheney’s victim might perish. In that case, there would have been clear legal repercussions. Any public statement might have furnished evidence in a legal action.
When they concluded that Whittington’s life was not in imminent danger, I am willing to bet that Cheney asked Ms. Armstrong to break the story so he would maintain plausible deniability concerning any statement made as a representation of the facts of the case. Ms. Armstrong, after all, was not a legal representative of the Vice President nor even an official in the Vice President’s office.
My bet this morning is that the PR strategy Cheney concocted was upon the advice of counsel. It was less preoccupied with the political ramifications of the shooting than it was concerned about keeping Cheney out of legal jeopardy. Whatever else that would suggest, it probably indicates that Mr. Whittington’s medical situation was at the first far more ambiguous than we have been led to believe.
That also ties in with Cheney’s statement that when he approached Whittington. From WaPo:
Q What did you think when you saw the injuries? How serious did they appear to you to be?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I had no idea how serious it was going to be. I mean, it could have been extraordinarily serious. You just don’t know at that moment. You know he’s been struck, that there’s a lot of shot that had hit him.
UPDATE: Glenn Greenwald has similar thoughts:
I’m far from convinced that there was any great cover-up here, but clearly Cheney waited to notify the press and then waited much longer to talk about what happened because he did not know what the outcome would be and wanted time to construct his story and defense. The interview was replete with the sort of obfuscating and evasion that one routinely finds in an overly prepared and defensive deposition witness who is doing everything except testifying truthfully and clearly.