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Man Wounded by Cheney Leaves Hospital


The man wounded by Vice President Dick Cheney last Saturday was released from a Texas hospital Friday.

Harry Whittington, 78, had been hospitalized since he was accidentally shot by Mr. Cheney during a bird hunt on a private Texas ranch last Saturday.

He spoke publicly about the incident for the first time shortly after his release from a hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas.

"We all assume certain risks in whatever we do, whatever activities we pursue and regardless of how experienced, careful and dedicated we are, accidents do and will happen," he said.

Doctors say Whittington continues to recover from shotgun pellet wounds to his face, neck and chest. He suffered a mild heart attack earlier in the week after one of the shot pellets lodged in his heart.

Vice President Cheney took responsibility for the accident in a television interview on Wednesday.

Harry Whittington told reporters that he feels badly about the criticism leveled at Mr. Cheney this week for the delayed disclosure of the accident to a local Texas newspaper.

"My family and I are deeply sorry for all that Vice President Cheney and his family had to go through this week," he added. "We send our love and respect to them as they deal with situations that are much more serious than what we have had this week."

Vice President Cheney traveled to his home state of Wyoming Friday to address the state legislature in his first public appearance since the shooting incident.

"I want to thank you for that welcome home," said Mr. Cheney. "It is a wonderful experience to be greeted with such warmth by the leaders of our great state. That is especially true when you have had a very long week. Thankfully, Harry Whittington is on the mend and doing very well."

In his interview with the Fox News Channel, Mr. Cheney took responsibility for the shooting accident. But he disagreed with those who contend that he should have been the one to immediately inform the news media about the accident, adding that his first concern was the well being of Harry Whittington.

"It was not Harry's fault. You cannot blame anybody else. I am the guy who pulled the trigger and shot my friend and that is something I will never forget," he said.

Critics say the delay in disclosing the incident is the latest example of an overly secret administration.

But President Bush told reporters Thursday that he was satisfied with the way the vice president handled the hunting accident, which he described as strong and powerful.