Senior White House Official: Bush “Obviously” Gave Support to Hastert

By Dan Beckmann

Oct 4, 2006 4:35pm

ABC’s Martha Raddatz reports: A Senior White House official said that the President did exactly what he should have done yesterday: articulate outrage and "obviously" give support to speaker Hastert. "We have seen no indication that Hastert is going to be tossed overboard." The official said that support for Hastert in the caucus runs deep and that facts in this matter would have to really change materially to have any impact on his support.

As far as Rep. Tom Reynolds is concerned, he said,"I have no idea what the strategy is about staffers," but also said,"he was already in a tight race and there will now be no breathing room."

As far as races around the country, the official said that they simply don’t know how this will play out but doubts that this will carry in the local press for 35 more news cycles — if it had been two weeks before the elections it would be one thing — but the official thinks this issue will lose momentum. "How do you tie a local candidate to Foley?" (Acknowledging that a throw-the-bums-out mentality could take over, with help from the Democrats.)

He said that local candidates will continue to sharpen their differences and the President will continue to frame the national debate.

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