It seems bad intel is prevelant in the Bush administration. Scott McClellan, the White House Press Secretary, had the following exchange in his January 4th press conference while responding to questions about possible meetings between Jack Abramoff and President Bush:
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, I said it’s possible that they would have met at a holiday reception or some other widely attended gathering. The President does not know him, nor does the President recall ever meeting him.
Q But he has the special designation as a Pioneer, as Terry was alluding to, raising more than $100,000. And he attended, as you told us, three events, holiday receptions at the White House. How likely is it that the President would not have met him –
MR. McCLELLAN: That’s why I said it’s possible. But I just told you what I know at this point, and the President doesn’t recall meeting him and he certainly doesn’t know him.
Q Will you release — go ahead.
Q Since you often take photos in those instances at receptions, will you make that available?
MR. McCLELLAN: I haven’t thought about that. I’ll take it under consideration.
Did someone say photos? Time Magazine has something to say about photos:
The President’s memory may soon be unhappily refreshed. TIME has seen five photographs of Abramoff and the President that suggest a level of contact between them that Bush’s aides have downplayed. While TIME’s source refused to provide the pictures for publication, they are likely to see the light of day eventually because celebrity tabloids are on the prowl for them. And that has been a fear of the Bush team’s for the past several months: that a picture of the President with the admitted felon could become the iconic image of direct presidential involvement in a burgeoning corruption scandal like the shots of President Bill Clinton at White House coffees for campaign contributors in the mid-1990s.
Bummer… sounds like Bush will have some splainin’ to do, or make that McClellan will have to explain for him. As the guys over at Truthdig.com said, Democrats are sensing blood–the Republican equivalent of Clinton-Lewinsky hug videos.
The article goes on to give brief descriptions of the photos, but I have a feeling the following images will be on every Democratic election commercial in 2006:
Another photo shows Bush shaking hands with Abramoff in front of a window and a blue drape. The shot bears Bush’s signature, perhaps made by a machine. Three other photos are of Bush, Abramoff and, in each view, one of the lobbyist’s sons (three of his five children are boys).
McClellan needs to re-check his sources.
Update by Stephen VanDyke: Wizbang says this is probably no big deal. It appears these are innocent pictures taken with donors and supporters in the tens of thousands of times. The blood in the water seems more like Democrats shredding Abramoff for chum and seeing how many misstatements they can catch the White House in. Sure, there’s scandal and Republicans can be painted with a wide brush with this, but it’s gonna be a stretch to stick Abramoff to Bush.