The Note: The Mark of Truthiness

For the Wall Street Journal's front page, David Rogers and John Harwood report: there appears to be a "real chance" that Hastert will step down after next month's election "even if his party retains power"; in an interview late yesterday, Hastert said he would be willing to resign if he thought it would help the party (but the Coach isn't convinced this is the case. "If I thought it would help the party, I would consider it, but I think just the opposite," he said); and Rep Barney Frank, an openly gay Democrat, said the handling of the initial complaint "made this more sensitive politically" since people knew that Foley was gay. LINK

According to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, by 41% to 18%, Americans say that news they "have seen and heard over the past few weeks" has made them less favorable toward continued Republican control of Congress. By 34%-23% they called themselves more favorably inclined toward Democratic control. The survey, conducted last weekend, also shows a decline in Mr. Bush's job-approval rating to 39% from 42% earlier this month.

"Meanwhile, a new crop of conservatives could seize the moment to push the party to do more to cut government spending, for example. Among this group, Rep. John Shadegg (R., Ariz.) last night defended Mr. Hastert, saying he should not be 'railroaded out of office.' Another, Rep. Mike Pence (R., Ind.) has been quieter."

The Los Angeles Times' Hastert coverage concludes with a statement from the Arlington Group, a coalition of social conservative leaders, "asserted that House Republicans may have failed to sufficiently investigate Foley because they feared 'a backlash from the radical gay rights movement.'" LINK

In a front page story in the New York Times, Carl Hulse and Jeff Zeleny point out that one of the options the senior GOP is considering, which would delay a potentially upsetting leadership fight, is for Hastert to announce that he'll be on board through this year but will not seek re-election, if Republicans win House control.

Per the New York Times duo, "the first television ad directly referencing Foley scandal was broadcast Tuesday in Minnesota, where a Democratic Congressional candidate Patty Wetterling is running for an open seat against a Republican state senator, Michele Bachmann. 'Congressional leaders have admitted covering up the predatory behavior of a congressman who used the Internet to molest children,' the commercial declared." LINK

In an interview with the Washington Post, RNC Chair Ken Mehlman "rejected calls for Hastert to resign. 'I support the speaker. He's a good man. He's taken a very serious situation incredibly seriously and I think we need to figure out everything about this, including whether prosecution is warranted.'" LINK

The Washington Post also Notes the supportive letter to the Washington Times from Rep. Boehner as well as the supportive letters from Reps. Hyde and Shadegg.

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank has Hastert agreeing on Hannity's show that there appears to be a double standard for himself and for Democratic sex scandals: "Yes, it appears there's a double standard," Hastert said, agreeing with Hannity. LINK

In a must-read story putting the Foley issue in a larger context of leadership challenges that Hastert has faced recently, the Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman has unnamed former aides saying that the House leadership "simply lacked the bodies to forcefully take on the Foley issue."LINK

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