Disorder in the House: Party Leaders Spar on Foley

ByABC News
October 8, 2006, 10:57 AM

Oct. 8, 2006 — -- Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Fla., chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, defended his party's response in the wake of the Mark Foley scandal.

Putnam, the fifth ranking Republican member of the House, argued in an exclusive appearance on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." that three separate entities -- the House, the FBI, and a Florida newspaper -- all knew about what he described as the "odd, overly friendly e-mail" between Foley and House pages, but that they did not see the sexually explicit e-mails uncovered in September by ABC News.

"The only people who acted were the House of Representatives," Putnam said.

"The important thing is that these revelations are coming out now," Putnam added. "We need to move ahead with that full, thorough investigation of members [and] staff."

Also appearing exclusively on "This Week," Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, rejected Putnam's contentions.

"What you guys want to do is take your dirty laundry and throw it over the fence and try to blame other people for the problem," Emanuel said.

Putnam replied, "The dirty laundry in our conference is gone. Mark Foley, the person who was preying on minors, is gone."

In another contentious exchange between the two party leaders, Emanuel charged the Republicans, who took charge of the House for the first time in 50 years in 1994, with changing too much.

"You said you were going to change Washington; Washington has changed you," he said.

Harkening back to the Republican's "Contract with America" from that historic election year, Emanuel said, "You promised to clean up this swamp. You're in breach of contract."