Harry Whittington—once shot by former Vice President Dick Cheney in an infamous hunting accident—was a Texas attorney and Republican operative who contributed to turning Texas into a red state.
Whittington, who gained national notoriety due to a potentially fatal quail hunting excersion with Cheney, died last Saturday, February 1, at his home. He was 95. His wife, Mercedes Baker Whittington, confirmed his death. His lifelong friend, establishment Republican strategist Karl Rove, said Whittington suffered an illness after a fall earlier this year.
The shooting accident occurred in 2006 while Cheney and Whittington were quail hunting with others at the Armstrong Ranch in South Texas. Cheney described it to Fox News as “one of the worst days of my life.”
Cheney said Whittington was properly wearing orange and the upper half of his body was visible. He added, however, that Whittington was standing in front of the sun. He sprayed Whittington in the face while taking a shot at a quail.
Cheney received criticism for not initially reporting the incident. The public did not find out until the next day, when the property owner contacted the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.
Whittington later revealed that his injuries had been far worse than reported. He suffered a mild heart attack and a collapsed lung, and about 30 pieces of birdshot remained in his body, including one close to his heart.
The shooting provided plenty of ammunition for late-night television hosts and made Cheney the butt of jokes for the remainder of the George W. Bush administration.
The youths on Jeopardy don’t know about Dick Cheney shooting his friend in the face pic.twitter.com/dXqwsKEtD3
— Emily Guskin (@EmGusk) June 20, 2019
David Letterman told his audience on The Late Show: “We have finally located weapons of mass destruction: It’s Dick Cheney. … We can’t get Bin Laden, but we nailed a 78-year-old attorney.”
“I think Cheney is starting to lose it,” said Jay Leno, who then hosted The Tonight Show. “After he shot the guy he screamed, ‘Anyone else want to call domestic wiretapping illegal?”’
Late-night comedians were even more thrilled when Whittington—not Cheney—apologized for the incident after Whittington emerged from intensive care.
Whittington is credited with helping turn Texas from a dark blue state to a dark red state.
He managed John Tower’s successful 1961 campaign to become the first Republican senator from Texas since Reconstruction. He later worked on George H. W. Bush’s and George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns and helped Karl Rove set up his first direct-mail firm in the state.
His activism led five Texas governors to appoint him to state boards over 27 years, beginning in 1979, when Governor Bill Clements appointed him to the Texas Corrections Board—making him the only Republican of the nine members.
In addition to his wife—whom he married in 1950—Whittington is survived by three daughters, six grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
February 9, 2023 at 5:05 am
Now Dick Cheney needs to go w Prison !