On Fox News' The Big Story Primetime, Ann Coulter claimed that reports that the House Republican leadership was previously aware of communications former Rep. Mark Foley allegedly had with underage congressional pages are "somewhat incredible," asking: "Why wait until right before the election to let it break?" and dismissing such reports as gossip, saying: "It's something you hear."
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On the September 30 edition of Fox News' The Big Story Primetime, right-wing pundit Ann Coulter claimed that reports that the GOP leadership was previously aware of communications former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) allegedly had with underage congressional pages are "somewhat incredible," asking: "Why wait until right before the election to let it break?" and dismissing such reports as gossip, saying: "It's something you hear." In fact, Rep. Tom Reynolds (NY), head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, issued a statement confirming that he told House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) about the Foley situation months ago. House Republican Leader John Boehner (OH) reportedly acknowledged telling Hastert about the Foley situation months ago. (Boehner has also reportedly claimed he did not remember telling Hastert this, and later changed his story once again, claiming that he had not told Hastert anything.)
Also, host John Gibson and Coulter claimed that Foley has withdrawn from the race. In fact, Foley's name will have to remain on the ballot, although any votes cast for him will go to whomever Republicans choose to run in his stead.
From the September 30 edition of The Big Story Primetime:
GIBSON: What about the idea here that Republican leadership knew about this for months?
COULTER: Well, we don't know the details of that, but I find that somewhat incredible for a number of reasons, including the one you were mentioning before. Why wait until right before the election to let it break? But also, I mean, an instant message, for example, you can't just, you know, find that in somebody's computer files. It has to be the page himself who saved it. I don't think they saw the actual instant messages. And to say I had heard about this, well, you know, I had heard Foley was gay. It's something you hear.
GIBSON: Steve Murphy, what do you make of all this?
MURPHY: Why wait, Ann, until just before the election? They didn't reveal that this was going on. ABC News revealed it, and they were trying to cover it up until after the election at least so they could hold on to the congressional seat. That's very obvious.
COULTER: Well, we don't know that. We don't know that. These are just bald assertions.
MURHPY: We have Dennis Hastert -- John Boehner is the Republican leader of the House, and he said he told Dennis Hastert about this.
COULTER: About what, though?
MURPHY: He's a constitutional officer in charge of the House of Representatives, and he ordered no investigation. He said, "we're taking care of it." He assumed responsibility. He said he was going to take care of it, and he did nothing. He left this man, Mark Foley, in charge of the House caucus for taking care of missing and exploited children. They'll probably hire him to answer the page hot line.
COULTER: He [Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)] ran again! They were both [Franks and former Rep. Gerry Studds (D-MA)] re-elected!
MURPHY: Hey, that's fine with me. Mark Foley should run again. His name --
COULTER: But a stern statement was made? That's your answer?
MURPHY: Mark Foley's name is on the ballot. You can -- people in Florida, your friends in Florida can vote for him.
COULTER: No, no, no. He has withdrawn. No, he has withdrawn because Republican voters wouldn't accept this.
GIBSON: Steve, are you saying that since there are a couple of Democrats who've admitted to more or less the same thing that Foley should've stayed on the ballot? Foley should've run?
MURPHY: Foley is on the ballot. It's up to Mark Foley whether he wants to run or not --
COULTER: He has withdrawn!
MURPHY: He has known all along that he was doing this.