Reuters ignored Abramoff's claim of ties to Bush, Rove, McCain

››› ››› SIMON MALOY

A Reuters article on former Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff's disclosure to Vanity Fair that he "worked closely with many top Republicans, despite their claims to the contrary" ignored Abramoff's claims, in the same magazine article, of close ties with President Bush, White House senior adviser Karl Rove, and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

A March 8 Reuters article on former Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff's disclosure to Vanity Fair magazine that he "worked closely with many top Republicans, despite their claims to the contrary" ignored Abramoff's claims, in the same magazine article, of close ties with President Bush, White House senior adviser Karl Rove, and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), all of whom have denied personal connections to Abramoff.

Excerpts of the Vanity Fair article, appearing in the magazine's forthcoming April issue, are available on the magazine's website. According to those excerpts:

An insider tells [contributing editor David] Margolick that Abramoff blames competing Republican lobbyists and Arizona Senator John McCain -- with whom Abramoff says he's had a contentious relationship -- for his downfall. Abramoff tells Margolick that McCain staffers deliberately humiliated him, doling out embarrassing e-mails to the press.

"Mr. Abramoff flatters himself," Mark Salter, McCain's administrative assistant, tells Margolick. "Senator McCain was unaware of his existence until he read initial press accounts of Abramoff's abuses, and had never laid eyes on him until he appeared before the committee."

Abramoff says, "As best I can remember, when I met with him, he didn't have his eyes shut. I'm surprised that Senator McCain has joined the chorus of amnesiacs."

[...]

[Abramoff discussed his relationship with] President Bush, who claims not to remember having his picture taken with Abramoff. According to Abramoff, at one time, the president joked with Abramoff about his weight-lifting past: "What are you benching, buff guy?"

Reuters reported that in the Vanity Fair article, Abramoff "complains that many of those who used to work closely with him now claim that they never knew him," but made no mention of Abramoff's claims of ties to Bush, Rove, and McCain. According to the Reuters article:

The magazine features photographs of Abramoff with former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former President Ronald Reagan, whom he met when he was president of the College Republicans.

Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman ate dinner at Abramoff's house and forced a Democratic appointee out of the State Department for him, Vanity Fair said.

[...]

Abramoff also said Montana Republican Sen. Conrad Burns was especially cooperative.

"Every appropriation we wanted we got," he said. "Our staffs were as close as they could be."

Spokesmen for Burns and DeLay were not immediately available for comment.

By contrast, a March 8 Associated Press article reported that Abramoff "says President Bush knew him well enough to joke with him about weightlifting." The AP article also noted that, according to Vanity Fair, "Rove's relationship with Abramoff was deeper" than the White House has previously acknowledged, and that "Rove dined several times at Abramoff's former restaurant in Washington, Signatures, and was Abramoff's guest in the owner's box of the NCAA basketball playoffs a few years ago, sitting for much of the game at Abramoff's side." A separate March 8 AP article was devoted entirely to Abramoff's claim that McCain "deliberately humiliated him."

Posted In
Government, Ethics, The Presidency & White House, The Senate
Network/Outlet
Reuters
Stories/Interests
Abramoff Scandal, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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