Sunday, January 22, 2006

Photo in-ops

Hey, it may be true that George Bush doesn't recall meeting Jack Abramoff. I'm sure there's lots of things that Bush doesn't recall, like perhaps his 30s. But just because Bush doesn't remember meeting Abramoff doesn't mean it didn't happen, because, like his 30s, it did.

Peppered for days with questions about Abramoff's visits to the White House, press secretary Scott McClellan said the now disgraced lobbyist had attended two huge holiday receptions and a few "staff-level meetings" that were not worth describing further. "The President does not know him, nor does the President recall ever meeting him," McClellan said.

The President's memory may soon be unhappily refreshed. TIME has seen five photographs of Abramoff and the President that suggest a level of contact between them that Bush's aides have downplayed.
I don't buy this the-president-does-not-recall crap. Either Bush or his handlers knew that such a meeting was likely enough that they avoided issuing an outright denial and went about searching for any photos that may exist of Bush's posing with a person he claims to have no recollection of meeting.

Saying Bush doesn't recall meeting Abramoff is attractive to the administration for another reason: If the administration is lying, it's impossible to prove it. Who's to say what, if anything, is going on in Bush's mind? On the other hand, saying that Bush never met Abramoff paints the administration into a corner, because one photo is all it takes to expose that lie.

And if those five photos didn't exist, you better believe an outright denial would've been Plan A.

If the two men did meet, does it really matter if Bush remembers it or not? Of course not. But saying Bush doesn't remember is the only way to try to inject in the public's mind a little more distance between the two men than actually exists, like when another indicted Bush associate evolved from "Kenny Boy" to "Mr. Lay."

You would think that being a Bush "Pioneer," that raising more than $100,000 for Bush's re-election campaign (the Bush campaign donated to charity a whopping $6,000 that came directly from Abramoff, his wife and an Indian tribe client) would buy a little more respectful treatment.

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