Washington 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."