The Note: Wherever the Evidence Leads, Part XV

Bloomberg's Jay Newton-Small and Michael Forsythe write that Hastert "will likely survive for now in part because there is no appetite among Republican lawmakers to call the full House back into session to elect a new speaker, as required by the Constitution, and because there's no obvious successor untainted by the Foley affair among the Republican House leadership." LINK

Hastert "may well have slowed down the waves of criticism," writes Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times. LINK

The New York Times' Jeff "Front-page Boy" Zeleny (who also has the Stokke resignation offer) takes a closer look at Speaker Hastert as "political survivor." LINK

Zeleny Notes Hastert's fluid political schedule. "Mr. Hastert, who had a busy October of campaign travel penciled into his calendar, is suddenly seen as a liability for the first time since being elected speaker. Republican candidates across the nation were canceling, postponing or reconsidering appearances with him, fund-raisers said, wary of campaigning with Mr. Hastert, even though pollsters say he carries no more than a 40 percent name recognition," writes Zeleny.

USA Today also takes a look at Hastert's career trajectory: LINK

Andrew Taylor of the AP reports that Speaker Hastert "seems to be weathering the political storm" caused by the Foley fallout. LINK

The New York Times has the partisan breakdown over the anticipated (but withheld) Louis Freeh announcement and gives prominent play to Rep. Joe Barton's (R-TX) circulated letter of support for Hastert that likens the current position of the Speaker to defenders of the Alamo. LINK

The Chicago Tribune reports that a Hastert advisor said that senior Republican officials urged Hastert before yesterday's news conference not to repeat the comments he made suggesting ABC News, liberal billionaire George Soros, and Bill Clinton had created the scandal. The Tribune reports the advisor said that the comments were considered a serious misstep in national Republican circles. LINK

The Washington Post's Al Kamen provides a little FYI by writing that "there is a provision that if the speaker doesn't show up for three days, the chair can be deemed vacant and a motion would be in order for the election of a new speaker.) Were the House around, presumably someone who voted for Hastert last time could call for a new vote." LINK

Unsurprisingly, the Los Angeles Times ed board calls for Hastert's head, but writes his failures go beyond the Foley scandal. LINK

Matt Stearns, Washington correspondent for the Kansas City Star, reports that the GOP's House Majority Whip Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) is "unscathed by the still unfolding scandal" and that Blunt is now seen by many to be angling to be the next Speaker, or minority leader, should the Republicans lose the house. LINK

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Deirdre Shesgreen writes an interesting story on the complex relationship between Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) and House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), two former high school teachers who now serve in Congress. LINK

Shesgreen writes that "a House GOP leadership aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that during a conference call with House Republicans earlier this week, Shimkus did not come under fire when he recounted what he knew about Foley's contact with pages and why he handled it the way he did. 'He did not get any pushback from the members. There's some sympathy for his situation,' the aide said."

Foley: President Bush phones Hastert:

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