Abramoff Releases Photos
Disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff has authorized the release of three photographs which allegedly show that he did indeed have more of a relationship with President Bush than has been previously reported.
As late as yesterday afternoon, Bush was downplaying the significance of any photographs, saying at a press briefing that "there's thousands of people that come through and get their pictures taken. I'm also mindful that we live in a world in which those pictures will be used for pure political purposes, and they're not relevant to the investigation." He went on to speculate that Abramoff might well be one of the 'picture hogs' that run rampant at White House sponsored events.
The photographs were taken in three different locations. One shows the two men behind a large grill piled high with baby back ribs. Abramoff is wearing a chef's hat and the president is pictured wearing a bib. A second photograph does not include Bush, but is taken on the White House lawn, and shows Abramoff sitting beneath a cherry tree playing with Barney the dog. The third picture was taken at last year's annual White House Correspondents Dinner (pictured above), where Abramoff was the featured master of ceremonies, introducing the president to the crowd.
"I just felt like the invisible guy in the poem by William Hughes Mearns," said Abramoff. "You know, 'Yesterday upon the stair / I met a man who wasn't there / He wasn't there again today / Oh how I wish he'd go away'. Well, the fact of the matter is that I will be going away for a long, long time. Even with a plea deal, I'm probably looking at eight to ten. So give me a little respect, man, I'm taking a bullet for the party. Don't deny that you know me. Come on. It reminds me of Jesus and the apostle Peter, and when the water gets hot Peter is out there like 'Hey, I don't know this dude, this is just guilt by association'. That's brutal."
Scott McClellan responded for the White House. "The president eats ribs with a lot of different people. It's part of his job. As is the Correspondents Dinner. Do you have any idea how many master of ceremonies the president has seen at these dinners? At least five. And as for Barney, well, he's a private citizen and free to associate with anyone he wants to."