Friday, February 10, 2006

Reuters Picks Up Think Progress Story Of Bush-Abramoff Relationship

I love when the blogs break a story that gets followed up by the traditional media:

Abramoff says Bush met, even joked, with him
Statement follows White House claim that president does not know lobbyist

WASHINGTON - Jack Abramoff said in correspondence made public Thursday that President Bush met him “almost a dozen” times, disputing White House claims Bush did not know the former lobbyist at the center of a corruption scandal.

“The guy saw me in almost a dozen settings, and joked with me about a bunch of things, including details of my kids. Perhaps he has forgotten everything, who knows,” Abramoff wrote in an e-mail to Kim Eisler, national editor for the Washingtonian magazine.

Abramoff added that Bush also once invited him to his Texas ranch.

The messages were made public by the American Progress Action Fund, a liberal activist group. Eisler confirmed their accuracy to Reuters but said he did not intend them to become public.

“They reflect the feeling of frustration he has not just with Bush but with all these guys claiming they didn’t know him,” said Eisler, who knew Abramoff through a book he wrote about the Pequot Indian tribe.

Abramoff pleaded guilty to fraud charges in early January and is cooperating with prosecutors in a corruption probe that could implicate lawmakers and officials across Washington.

Alleged photos show the two together
Bush has said he never had a discussion with Abramoff and does not remember having his picture taken with him.

The White House has said Abramoff attended three Hanukkah receptions at the White House.

Eisler said he had seen five photographs of Abramoff with Bush, none taken at Hanukkah parties.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Thursday that the revelations did not prove Bush knew him well.

“I think as the president also indicated, he’s taken at least five photos with many people in this room at the annual holiday reception. And so I think you need to put this in context,” McClellan said.

Abramoff spokesman Andrew Blum declined to comment.

Why doesn't the White House just come clean on this matter?

How do these rolling disclosures help them?

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