House Republican Leaders Chastise Hastert, While Fox News All-Stars Wonder Whether Speaker Will Be Next "Sacrifice"
Will House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) be the next "sacrifice?"
That was the talk on Fox News Channel tonight, following a series of statements from House Republican leaders that were critical of how Hastert handled questions over the past few months surrounding disgraced fromer Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL).
Earlier today, the House majority whip, Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said he would have handled it differently if he'd known about it. He was the acting majority leader when the complaint was raised.
"I think I could have given some good advice here, which is you have to be curious, you have to ask all the questions you can think of," Blunt said. "You absolutely can't decide not to look into activities because one individual's parents don't want you to."
Meanwhile, Rep. Thomas Reynolds (R-NY), whose top aide resigned today (see below), and House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), each told reporters that they warned Hastert -- a possible sign that they fear they have to sacrifice Hastert to save Republican control of the House.
"I did what most people would do in a workplace," Reynolds, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told reporters in his home district. "I heard something, I took it to my supervisor. … I took it to the speaker of the House."
Echoing Reynolds' defense, Boehner told a Cincinnati radio station, "I believe I talked to the speaker and he told me it had been taken care of. And my position is it's in his corner, it's his responsibility."
The scandal surrounding Foley prompted the resignation of Kirk Fordham, Reynolds' top aide, and a former chief of staff for Foley. Fordham said he had warned senior Republican leaders about Foley’s behavior prior to 2005, earlier than those leaders said they knew about the problem.
The Fox News "All-Stars" -- Charles Krauthammer, NPR's Juan Williams and the Washington Post's Mike Birnbaum, told guest anchor Jim Angle that while Fordham's resignation was probably a "sacrifice" to appease social conservatives and other disgusted Republican voters, it might not be enough.
"This is a cancer," Krauthammer said. With Republicans hoping to retain control of the House in the upcoming November election, the "All-Stars" wondered aloud whether the best way to stop that cancer from spreading was to sacrifice Hastert.