Aides to President George W. Bush are trying to identify all the photos that may exist of the President and lobbyist Jack Abramoff together, TIME’s White House Correspondents Mike Allen and Matt Cooper report in Monday editions, RAW STORY has learned. From TIME:
Bracing for the worst, Administration officials obtained from the Secret Service a list of all the times Abramoff entered the White House complex, and they scrambled to determine the reason for each visit, TIME reports. Abramoff attended Hanukkah and holiday events at the White House, according to an aide who has seen the list. Press secretary Scott McClellan said Abramoff might have attended large gatherings with Bush but added, “The President does not know him, nor does the President recall ever meeting him.”
President Bush and Tom DeLay: The President had scored 10 points higher than former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay in the Representative’s district in 2004, and that was only after Bush had recorded a telephone message to help rally local Republicans. “I can’t believe I had to do robocalls for him,” the President said bitingly to an Oval Office visitor.
To people who know Bush well, the remark said it all about the longtime chill between the two pols—a distance that is only sure to grow with former lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s guilty plea. Both camps describe the two conservative Texans’ relationship as professional—an alliance, not a friendship, TIME reports.
Karl Rove and Tom DeLay: DeLay is in the unique position of being the most prominent modern Republican politician in Texas to rise without the help of White House senior adviser Karl Rove. The two have never been close, reports TIME. “Karl thinks of him as someone a little bit too opinionated for his own good,” says an official close to both men. “And DeLay thinks of Karl as a former mail vendor, not some great guru.”
Even before DeLay’s announcement that he would abdicate his leadership post, top Bush advisers tell TIME, the President’s inner circle always treated DeLay as a necessary burden.
“They have always seen him as beneath them, more blue collar. He’s seen as a useful servant, not someone you would want to vacation with,” says a Republican close to the President’s inner circle.
Although DeLay’s forfeiture of his leadership post makes things easier for the White House, the Abramoff saga will continue to be a problem, according to TIME. Republican officials say they are so worried about the Abramoff problem that they are now inclined to stoke a fight with Democrats over the confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court in an effort to turn the page from the lobbying investigation. Outside groups plan to spend heavily, and the White House will engage in some tit for tat with Democrats as the hearings heat up, TIME reports.