Archive for Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Hastert dismisses calls to give up speaker post

October 4, 2006


— House Speaker Dennis Hastert brushed aside resignation talk Tuesday, even as the Republicans' No. 2 House leader contradicted him in the page scandal. President Bush gave Hastert a vote of confidence as the party struggled to contain pre-election fallout.

Hastert, an Illinois Republican, said he wouldn't resign as speaker, the top official in Congress and second in the line of succession to the presidency, in the controversy over Rep. Mark Foley's salacious computer exchanges with former pages. Foley resigned Friday.

"I'm not going to do that," Hastert said when asked by conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh whether he would resign.

Hastert sought to blame Democrats for leaking sexually explicit computer instant messages between Foley and former pages from 2003.

"We have a story to tell, and the Democrats have - in my view have - put this thing forward to try to block us from telling the story. They're trying to put us on defense," he said.

"It's absolutely not true," said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at an event in Sunrise, Fla. Pelosi said it was too early to call for Hastert's resignation pending an Ethics Committee investigation.

Hastert told reporters on Monday that he was not aware of the complaint against Foley until Friday. He acknowledged his staff was made aware of it last fall, but he said there was "no reason to bump it up to me at that time."

However, both Majority Leader John Boehner and New York Rep. Tom Reynolds, who heads the House Republicans' re-election campaign, said they had spoken with Hastert about a complaint concerning a former page from Louisiana last spring after being told about it by Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La., who had sponsored the teen.

"I believe I talked to the speaker and he told me it had been taken care of," Boehner said in an interview Tuesday on radio station WLW in Cincinnati. "My position is it's in his corner, it's his responsibility."


Richard Heckler 11 years, 2 months ago

This is the most secretive government any of us have experienced. An early sign was the oh so famous secret energy meeting.

There is the desire to silence any dissent in this country by the Bush administration. Of course that begins with all forms of media to include paying journalists to write what the government wants out there to the public in spite of the truth aka facts. This administration and THIS republican party cannot be trusted. THESE republicans obey the Bush administration as if GW was their elected dictator. Tom Delay and the paige scandal are two examples. ANYTHING that may put THIS dictating party, administration and their PNAC agenda in jeopardy must be silenced no matter what the consequences. Which allowed Foley to carry on with HIS business as usual at least since 2001.

Controlling the votes through computerized voting is one more mechanism this administration and the party have chosen in order to further their PNAC agenda I am convinced.

The Bush administration should go to jail.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 2 months ago

AMY GOODMAN: There is a committee, however, that does oversee -- because these are kids -- oversee, and their parents send them to Washington, D.C., and they live in a dorm and get classes at that dorm and also do the page thing. This committee, who sits on this committee?

MADDY SAUER: Well, there are various employees of the House clerk's office, and some of them have gone on to be senior staffers for congressmen. And one of these, they have each -- the Democratic pages and the Republican pages each have separate supervisors that work in the clerk's office. And one of the former pages we spoke to, who was a Republican page, said his supervisor, when they all came in -- and this was the fall of 2001 -- said somewhat jokingly, but "Watch out for Congressman Foley. Don't get too involved with him. You know, he's really friendly, but he's a little strange." So it was clear even then that they knew something was up. Maybe they didn't know the exact details of it, but enough people knew that it was well known among every page that I spoke with. Every single page I've spoken with has said everyone knew this was going on.

AMY GOODMAN: We are talking to Maddy Sauer, who broke this story with Brian Ross at ABC News of the sexually explicit IMs, instant messaging, that was going on, that the congressman was sending to underage pages. Jonathan Kaplan is also with us, staff writer at The Hill newspaper in Washington D.C. This is exploding on the Hill right now, Jonathan. Can you talk about Hastert's response, the Washington Times calling for his resignation?

JONATHAN KAPLAN: Well, I think the House leadership is really scrambling to figure out what they knew, when they knew it and what they did about it. And, you know, they can't all seem to get on the same page. Tom Reynolds -- Congressman Alexander from Louisiana went to -- he said that he told Congressman Tom Reynolds, who's the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, which means that he's in charge of raising the money and putting together the strategy of getting the House Republican Conference reelected this November. Reynolds said he went to Hastert. Hastert said he couldn't remember, but he wasn't going to dispute Reynolds's assertion. And so, now we're at this standstill about how to go forward and what happened.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, Congressman Foley was co-chair of the Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children. What did he do there?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.