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October 03, 2006

Republican-Finger-Point -O-Rama Continues…

Posted in: 2006 Election,Congress,GOP ethics,Legal,Media

…but acceptance of responsibility for failures?  Nada.  Zip.  Zero.  Zilch.

Republican Speaker of the House Denny Hastert continues his Sergeant Shultz defense — he apparently knows nothing.  Oh, excuse me, he's "been saying that he doesn't remember [Republican Rep. Tom Reynolds] telling him" anything.  (See the above YouTube.  H/T to Ctblogger.)

Rep. Tom Reynolds, the NRCC Chair for House Republicans, is pointing the finger directly at Denny Hastert, according to the NYTimes:

The case has led to varying accounts from two members of the leadership. Representative Thomas M. Reynolds of New York, who runs the House Republican campaign effort and is in a close race, has acknowledged learning generally about Mr. Foley’s initial e-mail messages this past spring. Mr. Reynolds has said he raised the matter with Mr. Hastert, who said he did not recall the exchange but did not dispute that it happened.

“I did what most of us would have done in the workplace,” Mr. Reynolds told reporters in Amherst, N.Y., on Monday night. “I heard something, I took it to my supervisor.”

Rep. John Boehner, Republican Majority Leader of the House, is also pointing a finger at Hastert, who is looking increasingly like the "scapegoat most likely to be hit by a bus."

From the ABCNews Political Radar blog:

"I believe I talked to the Speaker and he told me it had been taken care of," said Boehner. "And, and, and my position is it's in his corner, it's his responsibility. The Clerk of the House who runs the page program, the Page Board—all report to the Speaker. And I believe it had been dealt with."

Please note that by saying that he talked with the Speaker about Foley, Boehner is reversing course and going back to his original position.

On Friday, Boehner told the Washington Post that he "had learned in late spring of inappropriate e-mails Foley sent to the page, a boy from Louisiana, and that he promptly told Hastert, who appeared to know already of the concerns. Hours later, Boehner contacted The Post to say he could not be sure he had spoken with Hastert."

According to today's radio interview, Boehner has gone back to saying that he did talk to Hastert about Foley.

Looks like it is every Republican for him or herself.

Speaking of herselfs, a local West Virginian has been sucked into the mix on this, with Rep. Shelly Moore Capito being the other GOP representative on the page board. She's been telling anyone in the local media here who will listen that she was out of the loop on this (you know, just like she was out of the loop about Jack Abramoff, and Tom DeLay, and KStreet and…). But that does raise a pretty good question: why did GOP Rep. Shimkus go to the RNCC chair Reynolds, rather than talking to his fellow Page Board members? Ahhhh…hello rug, allow me to try and sweep under you.

The LATimes is asking some questions about Rep. Tom Reynolds' current chief of staff — Foley's former Chief of Staff — Kirk Fordham:

Another former staffer said it was an oft-repeated story around Capitol Hill that Foley's former chief of staff, Kirk Fordham, would sometimes accompany the congressman to keep him out of trouble.

Fordham represents a link between Foley and House GOP leaders. Shortly after leaving Foley's office last year, he became chief of staff to Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds (R-N.Y.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Reynolds has said he was told this spring about the e-mails that sparked the initial complaint about Foley.

Fordham has not responded to repeated requests for comment from The Times.

Word is that Fordham was loaned out to Foley by Reynolds when this scandal started to break. And that Fordham may have attempted to negotiate directly with ABC's Brian Ross to keep the contents of the perverted e-mails out of any story in exchange for Foley's cooperation with an interview.  Glenn has some great questions on this.

And I didn't think I would be saying this, but Jim VandeHei and Dan Balz have some great coverage on the Foley scandal and its tie-in to all of the Republican mess and scandals and election issues for November — and it is well worth a read this morning.

…Republicans are bracing for ads that link previous scandals with the Foley case and ask, "Had enough?" Several strategists said this could be devastating in tight races. The most optimistic scenario offered by GOP strategists is that no new information surfaces and the controversy ends in the next five weeks.

Republicans have designated state Rep. Joe Negron as the substitute candidate in Florida's 16th District, even as Boehner and others denigrate his prospects.

Republicans say they are in grave danger of losing the seat of former House majority leader Tom DeLay (Tex.), as well as those held by Rep. Robert W. Ney (Ohio) — who agreed to plead guilty to corruption charges in the investigation into the activities of convicted former lobbyist Jack Abramoff — and Rep. Don Sherwood (Pa.), who has been embroiled in a scandal over an affair.

In addition, Republicans have largely given up on holding the seat of retiring Rep. Jim Kolbe (Ariz.), and strategists are pessimistic about retaining open seats in Colorado and Iowa and the seat now held by Rep. John N. Hostettler (Ind.).

Some Republicans also said Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds (N.Y.), the NRCC's chairman and one of the GOP leaders who knew about a non-graphic communication between Foley and a former page, could face an even tougher challenge for his Buffalo area seat. Reynolds and Hastert sniped at each other over the weekend about who knew what and when.

Why, now that you ask, yes, I have had enough!


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