The Note: Wherever the Evidence Leads, Part XV

Be sure to Note the Wall Street Journal reports Hastert is scheduled to appear with President Bush "at a political event in Chicago next week."

ABC News' Karen Travers reports, "President Bush called Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert late Thursday to talk about the Foley matter. This is the first time that President Bush has spoken to Speaker Hastert since the Foley story broke last week."

"Bush thanked him for going out and making a public statement today that 'showed the American people that they [the House Leadership] take responsibility and hold themselves accountable,' a White House official said last night.

"The President told Hastert he appreciated that when the Speaker and the leadership got the information on Foley, they swiftly took action and made it clear that Foley needed to step down and that they promptly request a professional investigation by the Department of Justice."

"President Bush expressed his appreciation and support for Speaker Hastert."

Foley: ethics committee convenes:

The New York Post's Earle writes up what could become the politically pertinent timing of the ethics subcommittee's findings, "California Rep. Howard Berman, the lead Democrat on the panel, said it might take 'weeks, not months' -- raising the possibility that ethics investigators could issue a bombshell report days before the elections." LINK

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Foley investigation serves as a test of the ethics panel's ability to rise above partisan politics. LINK

USA Today reports that the two Republicans of the House ethics committee have Hastert ties and received campaign money associated with the Speaker. LINK

Foley: the polls:

Two new polls have Republicans (even more) worried about November, the New York Post reports. LINK

Time Magazine is out with a poll showing 80 percent of those polled are aware of the Foley matter and only 16 percent of them approve of the Republicans' handling of it. LINK

The biggest political gain for the Democrats in the Foley scandal may be that the White House/RNC plan to put national security and terrorism front and center for the duration of the campaign was completely thwarted this week.

Foley: political fallout:

An aide to a leading House conservative told The Note this morning: "Let's face it: R's only hope out of this right now is if Dems had this info and sat on it."

In the aforementioned VandeHei/Abramowitz must-read in the Washington Post there is also this: "White House aides are nervous that the controversy has clouded, at least for now, Bush's effort to try to shape the midterm elections around the issue of terrorism." LINK

Under a "Democrats Hold Intensity Edge as Foley Scandal Reverberates" header, the Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire reports that according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 51% of Democrats express the "highest possible level of interest in the elections, compared with 43% of Republicans. Democratic edge on that harbinger of motivation to vote is up slightly from 51%-46% edge in early September."

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