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Cutting Through the Spin

So much for the whole "we just found out about it last Friday" story.  Turns out Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) saw explicit, sexual internet comunications between former GOP Rep. Foley and a Congressional page all the way back in 2000.  Trying to untangle this mess just got even more complicated…looks like the Ethics Committee is going to have to issue a new round of subpoenas. 

Yesterday on ABC's This Week, Cokie Roberts said pretty much what most moms in America have been thinking for the last two weeks:  what in the hell is wrong with the Republican leadership that they did not understand that protecting the kids who serve in the page program should have been their FIRST priority.  Watch the YouTube above — Cokie lays it flat out, and I agree with every word of it.

Crooks and Liars has the video of Rahm Emmanuel and Howdy Doody Adam Putnam (who showed up as Tom Reynolds' replacement, since the NRCC chair had a *cough* fever *cough* yesterday morning…mmmm hmmm…). 

Rahm delivers a smackdown: 

EMANUEL: George, here's what we know right now, and no, I don't agree. What we know now, as you just said, is as far back as 2002, 2003, there were warning signs, and there were multiple conversations.

EMANUEL: And what happened since that time? Mark Foley runs for Congress in 2004 even while they know there was problems.

2005, gets appointed to head the Missing and Abused Children Caucus for the Congress.

When he wants to retire, they ask him to run for reelection in 2006, even knowing, clearly, that there's something amiss and wrong here.

And the whole — the whole point here, let's just take one analogy. If a high school teacher was found doing this with a child, and the principal knew and not only said to the teacher, we're going to renew your contract, the community and parents would have that principal and teacher out….

STEPHANOPOULOS: All week long, there have been suggestions by – on talk radio and by Republicans and their allies that this was perhaps a Democratic dirty trick. And I just want to ask you plainly, did you or your staff know anything about these e-mails or instant messages before they came out?

EMANUEL: George, never saw them. And I'm going to say one thing, let's go through the facts right here…

PUTNAM: Were you aware of them? Didn't have to see them…

EMANUEL: Never saw them. Let me go right through the facts. One, Brian Ross, who broke the story on your network, said it came from a Republican source. Very unusual to do that.

Fact two, The Hill paper said it came from a Republican source. All the Republicans and staff people are coming forward are Republicans. Mark Foley, who wrote the e-mails originally, at the bottom of this whole problem, Republican. The leadership of the Congress, from Tom Reynolds to John Boehner to Speaker Hastert, who can't come on this show….

EMANUEL: Never saw them. The first time I ever saw these things, right here when Brian Ross broke this show and when the Post had the story.

What you guys want to do is take your dirty laundry and throw it over the fence and try to blame other people for the problems.

SM…ACK.  Great job detailing the facts on the sourcs of this story being RE-PUB-LI-CANS (I typed that slowly for the comprehension impaired) — isn't it about time the media talking heads stopped trying to push this story line to provide faux conflict, since, you know, the sources of the story were Republicans, the leadership who fumbled the protection of the pages were Republicans, and the Congressman at the center of the storm is a…Republican. 

The Democrats were cut out of the loop on this one, and no amount of dancing around, throwing sage bundles into the fire and hopping on one leg while rattling chicken bones and spitting toward the left changes the facts.  And, as reporters, you should be reporting facts…not rumors, innuendo and self-perpetuating ass-saving CYA fact-free spin.  (And, before anyone asks, apparently "Howdy Doody" is the nickname that Rep. Putnam has been given by a number of folks on the Hill.  Had to share that with you guys.)

The WaPo reports that the fingerpointing is still ongoing within the GOP leadership.  And that there are a LOT of holes and inconsistencies remaining in everyone's stories on this.  (Well…duh.) 

The NYTimes zeroes in on Rep. Shimkus (R-IL) and former Clerk of the House Trandahl — and their conversation with Foley — asking what was said and what was left uninvestigated.  According to one Republican source, the meeting was a short one, which doesn't exactly lend itself to an image of thoroughness, does it?

And the award for worst turn of phrase goes to Bob Novak (H/T to John Casper):

The spectacle of Hastert showing up at political events across the nation where he is not wanted is a by-product of his survival. Early last week after the Foley scandal broke, the buzz on Capitol Hill was that he would be gone within hours. By week's end, however, Republicans were acting more like Republicans. They had decided Hastert must stay, because it was both fair and politically prudent. House GOP leaders, who had started the week shooting at each other, now were on the same page.

Get it, "on the same page?" Ba dum bum….ding. 

(H/T to reader Momaloney for the YouTube link, and to Americablog for putting it up in the first place.)

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com