[Update: As Mimir notes in the comments, Jonathan Weisman has a bit of a history (per Atrios) with editing quotes to accomodate the White House. I think some explanation might be in order.]
[Update II: Hastert obviously knew where enough bodies were buried to back down Boehner, and the WaPo obligingly complied, but now Reynolds has thrown Hastert under the bus. And the reporters are saying they stand by the original version. Editiorial decisions made by the WaPo in this article looking extremely suspect — once again.]
Dennis Hastert has a long history of covering up GOP ethics scandals. After all he was the one who put the boot to Republican Joel Hefley as Chairman of the House Ethics Committee when he refused to give Tom DeLay a pass on his cornucopia of violations, and also helpfully stacked the committee with those indebted to DeLay's PAC for their re-election funds.
So is it any surprise that he is in the crosshairs now for helping to keep the closet door locked on the sleazy online sexual solicitation of Congressional pages by Republican Congressman Mark Foley?
As Jamie noted in the comments, the Washington Post carried this paragraph yesterday:
The resignation rocked the Capitol, and especially Foley’s GOP colleagues, as lawmakers were rushing to adjourn for at least six weeks. House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) told The Washington Post last night that he had learned this spring of some “contact” between Foley and a 16-year-old page. Boehner said he told House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), and that Hastert assured him “we’re taking care of it.”
But today, the article reads:
The resignation rocked the Capitol, and especially Foley’s GOP colleagues, as lawmakers were rushing to adjourn for at least six weeks. House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told The Washington Post last night that he had learned this spring of inappropriate “contact” between Foley and a 16-year-old page. Boehner said he then told House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). Boehner later contacted The Post and said he could not remember whether he talked to Hastert.
Now articles get edited all the time for new information, but I think this really deserves a bit more explanation. Did the WaPo just make up the original quote by Boehner? It's in quotation marks, one would think not. So what happened to the quote? Boehner obviously called and tried to walk it back. I would think that the more appropriate edit would be something along the lines of "Boenher originally told the Post that Hastert assured him it would be taken care of, but later called and changed his story and said he couldn't remember if Hastert had said this or not." To completely scrub it obscures what appears to be some quite critical behind-the-scenes politicking that had a very dramatic effect about what appeared in the article. I do not pretend to know what the agendas of those involved in writing and editing the story are, but I would say that Charles Babington and Jonathan Weisman — whose names appear on the story — owe a bit more explanation that what we are given, which is nothing.
Meanwhile, as irony would have it, the Republican who is campaigning for Joel Hefley's seat, Doug Lamborn (whose Democratic opponent is one of our blue America Candidates, Jay Fawcett) has just announced his endorsement this morning by — wait for it — Dennis Hastert.
You can't make this shit up.