Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and wounded Massachusetts senator John Kerry during a weekend quail hunting trip at a south Texas ranch, spraying Kerry in the face and chest with shotgun pellets.
Kerry was "alert and doing fine" in a Corpus Christi hospital, said Katharine Armstrong, owner of the ranch.
According to Ms. Armstrong, Cheney said he didn't know that Kerry was staying at the ranch and he was surprised to learn that Kerry actually enjoyed hunting quail.
"The only quail I figured Kerry would enjoy hunting would be Dan Quayle," the Vice President is reported to have said, "but, seriously, I had no idea the Senator was even out there."
Cheney insists that he was aiming for quail, not Kerry. "It seems like Senator Kerry must have dressed up in a quail costume to keep the quail from running away from him. I must have mistaken his disguise for real quail," Cheney said.
But Kerry insists the Vice President was definitely aiming for him.
"The Republicans are still afraid of me," Kerry said. "They know I could win in 2008. So they figure "hey, if you can't beat 'em, just kill 'em."'
Armstrong said she was watching from a car while Kerry snuck up to shoot at a covey of quail.
Kerry shot a bird and went to look for it in the tall grass, while Cheney and another Republican hid behind some brush.
When Kerry came within shooting range of Cheney, the Vice President started spraying him with gunfire and began screaming hysterically "Vote Republican In 2008!"
Meanwhile, gun control lobbyists are saying that the latest shooting incident highlights their case for stricter gun control laws.
"How many more politicians have to get sprayed by gunfire before we wake up to the dangers of loose gun control laws?" asked William Bradford head of the Washington DC based lobbyist group "Guns Are Not Firecrackers".
"Today, the Vice President decided to shoot Senator Kerry," he said, "tomorrow he may decide to take aim at Joe Biden. I'm telling you, If we don't stop these guys, they may try to take out Hillary too!"
Senator Kerry, however, was asked if he felt this latest incident proved the need for tighter gun control laws.
"I'm all for tighter gun control laws," Kerry said, "but before I endorse any such laws I'd first like to go out and get one last shot at Cheney - I mean, Quail."