Tuesday, October 10


Hastert is taking questions from the press. He's taking credit for the Republicans for a "good" economy. "The facts are the facts," he said, pointing to various economic issues the Republicans intend to tackle in the future.

On Kolbe: All I know is that Congressman Kolbe, I replaced him on the Page Board in 2002 or 2003. We have all these investigations going on. If anyone is found to have withheld or covered up information, they should be gone.

His Staff: I've understood what my staff told me, and from that response I think they've handled it as well as they should. From 20/20 oversight maybe they didn't do everything exactly correctly.

I asked Louis Freeh to investigate, Nancy Pelosi rejected him. We'll continue to try to find someone. What happened didn't happen while the pages were in Washington, it happened after they went home.

Statement from Kolbe in which he says he used to head up the Page Program. In 2000 a former page contacted his office, saying he'd received e-mail from Foley that made him "uncomfortable." Kolbe said he wasn't shown the content and wasn't told they were "sexually explicit." His office turned the issue over to Foley Chief of Staff Fordham and House Clerk Jeff Trandahl. He assumed it was taken care of since the former page never re-contacted his office.

Now Chris Matthews is saying that Speaker Hastert just demonstrated that he is not vouching for his staff. He "threw his staff out there to be judged separately from him," saying "Don't blame me for what they did or didn't do; judge me only on what they told me." Chris suggested that Denny's "20/20 hindsight" comment is giving notice that there might be more to come out. On three different levels, throwing his staff to the hounds, his use of passive voice -- "mistakes were made" -- and trying to provide the distraction of "taxes," traditionally a winning issue for Republicans -- that's Hastert's attempt at damage control.

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