In a town where money buys influence and access, it would have been highly unusual for one of the top fundraisers for the Bush White House to not have had meetings with the President.
McClellan, in a carefully-worded response to reporters Tuesday, said his personal investigation into the matter revealed that Abramoff may have had two private staff level meetings at the White House. This is the same Scott McClellan who claimed he investigated the Valerie Plame leak and told reporters that neither Vice President Dick Cheney nor anyone on his staff had any involvement in that scandal. Then Cheneys chief of staff, Scooter Libby, got slapped with an indictment for giving the info to the press.
McClellan, as skilled a liar as anyone who has stood before the press and misled reporters on behalf of a President, fails to mention Abramoffs frequent visits to the Presidents ranch in Crawford, Texas, the private meetings that the lobbyist arranged with the President on the 2004 campaign trail and at the Republican National Convention that year.
But Abramoff, who raised more than $100,000 for Bush in the last campaign, promised big time donors face time with the President and delivered on those promises during the convention. In addition, he traveled to Bushs ranch in Texas with his co-conspirator in crime, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
A former DeLay staffer who is cooperating with the investigation into both Abramoff and the disgraced GOP leaders activities, has told investigators that Abramoff and DeLay visited Bush at his ranch on at least four occasions in 2003 and 2004.
Abramoff kept a photo of he and Bush, shot at the Crawford ranch, in his office in Washington. The autograph from Bush said to my great friend Jack.
Dale Knally, a campaign worker in the 2004 Bush-Cheney re-election campaign, recalls a meeting between Bush and Abramoff during a campaign stop in Florida.
He put his arm around Abramoff and told us that this man is one of this administrations greatest friends, Knally recalls. Knally declined a job in the Bush administration and returned to school after the election and remembers some in the campaign privately calling Abramoff a sleazeball.
That campaign taught me that I never wanted anything to do with the Bush administration or politics again, Knally said. No matter how many showers I took, I couldnt wash away the stench.
Originally Published at and © Copyright 2006 by Capitol Hill Blue
Who the hell is this Thompson guy anyway?