a history of vice presidential violence

Dick Cheney accidentally shot a 78-year-old man on Saturday, while hunting quail in Texas. The man, Harry Whittington, is in stable condition, after being sprayed in the face and neck with birdshot. However, while this was the first time a sitting vice president has shot someone with a shotgun, it is not the first time a sitting vice president has severely injured an associate. Below is a partial history of such incidents:

1794: During a heated argument about trade restrictions with France, John Adams throws a cup of tea in the face of the British ambassador, partially blinding him. The British continue to seize trade ships bound for France for the next decade.

1829: Daniel Webster is hospitalized after eating a stack of poisoned johnnycakes during a dinner with Vice President John C. Calhoun. Calhoun denies knowledge of the tainted cakes, and nullifies his personal chef the next day.

1869: Schuyler Colfax inadvertently drives a silver spike through the foot of a poor Irish laborer, at a promotional event for the Union Pacific Railroad. The Irishman is placated with double wages and a week’s supply of laudanum, while Colfax quietly purchases some below-market shares in the railroad’s holding company. An unidentified Chinaman fills in on the railroad crew.

1901: On a hunting trip to the Philippines, Teddy Roosevelt shoots chief civil administrator William Howard Taft in the leg, with a bow and arrow. Roosevelt reportedly mistook Taft for a Calamian Hog Deer.

1938: John Nance Garner discharges a blunderbuss next to Senator Burton K. Wheeler, temporarily deafening him, in an ill-advised demonstration about the perils of isolationism.

1979: Walter Mondale beats a personal aide to death with his bare hands during a highly-charged game of Monopoly.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Keane published on February 12, 2006 10:52 PM.

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