Sunday, January 22, 2006

A Picture is Worth a 1,000 Words

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan has said that Jack Abramoff might have attended large gatherings with George Bush but added, “The President does not know him, nor does the President recall ever meeting him.”


The President's memory may soon be unhappily refreshed. TIME magazine has seen five photographs of Abramoff and the President that suggest a level of contact between them that Bush's aides have downplayed. The fear of the Bush team is that a picture of the President with the admitted felon could become proof of direct presidential involvement in a burgeoning corruption scandal.

In one shot that TIME saw, Bush appears with Abramoff and Raul Garza Sr., a Texan Abramoff represented who was then chairman of the Kickapoo Indians, which owned a casino in southern Texas. Another photo shows Bush shaking hands with Abramoff in front of a window. The shot bears Bush's signature. Three other photos are of Bush, Abramoff and, in each view, one of the lobbyist's sons. A sixth picture shows several Abramoff children with Bush and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who is now pushing to tighten lobbying laws after declining to do so last year when the scandal was in its early stages.

Michael Scanlon, who is Abramoff's former partner and has pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe a Congressman, told the New Times that Abramoff had "a relationship" with the President. "He doesn't have a bat phone or anything, but if he wanted an appointment, he would have one," Scanlon said.

Smile,'re on Candid Camera!

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